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Before the printing press, books could be purchased only

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Before the printing press, books could be purchased only [#permalink]

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New post 17 Sep 2017, 02:19
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Difficulty:

  5% (low)

Question Stats:

86% (01:27) correct 14% (01:55) wrong based on 212 sessions

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Before the printing press, books could be purchased only in expensive manuscript copies. The printing press produced books that were significantly less expensive than the manuscript editions. The public's demand for printed books in the first years after the invention of the printing press was many times greater than demand had been for manuscript copies. This increase demonstrates that there was a dramatic jump in the number of people who learned how to read in the years after publishers first started producing books on the printing press.

Which one of the following statements, if true, casts doubt on the argument?

(A) During the first years after the invention of the printing press, letter writing by people who wrote without the assistance of scribes or clerks exhibited a dramatic increase.

(B) Books produced on the printing press are often found with written comments in the margins in the handwriting of the people who owned the books.

(C) In the first years after the printing press was invented, printed books were purchased primarily by people who had always bought and read expensive manuscripts but could afford a greater number of printed books for the same money.

(D) Books that were printed on the printing press in the first years after its invention often circulated among friends in informal reading clubs or libraries.

(E) The first printed books published after the invention of the printing press would have been useless to illiterate people, since the books had virtually no illustrations.

Source: LSAT
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Kudos [?]: 1009 [0], given: 60

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Re: Before the printing press, books could be purchased only [#permalink]

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New post 17 Sep 2017, 09:43
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This is a weaken question.
We have to weaken the conclusion that there was an increase in the number of people who could read in intial years of printing.

(A) During the first years after the invention of the printing press, letter writing by people who wrote without the assistance of scribes or clerks exhibited a dramatic increase.
This strengthens the conclusion by saying that letter writing without assistance of scribes/clerks increased.

(B) Books produced on the printing press are often found with written comments in the margins in the handwriting of the people who owned the books.
Irrelevant. Does not affect the conclusion in any way.

(C) In the first years after the printing press was invented, printed books were purchased primarily by people who had always bought and read expensive manuscripts but could afford a greater number of printed books for the same money.
It provides another reason to the dramatic increase in the demand. If the people who could read started buying more books then it explains the increased demand is not due to the increase in the number of people who could read. Hence WEAKENS the conclusion.

(D) Books that were printed on the printing press in the first years after its invention often circulated among friends in informal reading clubs or libraries.
If books were circulated in reading clubs or libraries, it might strengthen the argument that the no of readers has increased.

(E) The first printed books published after the invention of the printing press would have been useless to illiterate people, since the books had virtually no illustrations.
Irrelevant.

Hence C.

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Re: Before the printing press, books could be purchased only [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2017, 11:22
+C.
Conclusion is that the increase in the no. of books purchased is because of the increase in the number of people who learned to read.

Anything that weaken this causal relationship that is some other factor is responsible for the increase will be the valid contender for the answer.

C states that increase is due to the purchasing power of the people.
Hence undermines the conclusion.
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When nothing seem to help, I would go and look at a Stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred time without as much as a crack showing in it.
Yet at the hundred and first blow it would split in two.
And I knew it was not that blow that did it, But all that had gone Before
.

Kudos [?]: 24 [0], given: 185

Re: Before the printing press, books could be purchased only   [#permalink] 11 Nov 2017, 11:22
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