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Re: By the time Bentham turned his interest to the subject, late in the [#permalink]
Please share the official explanation for questions 1,2,5, and 6!
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Re: By the time Bentham turned his interest to the subject, late in the [#permalink]
Expert Reply
Explanation


1. Which one of the following is the main idea of the passage?

Difficulty Level: 650

Explanation

The right idea here must pick up on the topic and scope, and must reflect the author’s view that Bentham had more or less the right idea, with reservations. That can only be (B).

Bentham did do what (A) is saying, but this encompasses only the first 26 lines, not the nature of Bentham’s reforms nor the author’s critique of same.

The author is content with Bentham’s influence on the law today (lines 55-59) and so makes no call for the reexamination that (C) suggests.

(D) hearkens back to the first sentence of paragraph 4 but otherwise fails to so much as mention Bentham, whose proposal to improve the rules of evidence is at the heart of the passage.

(E) suffers from the same lack of focus on Bentham, who is the passage’s principal character, and fails to recognize that thanks to Bentham the rules did change, resistant or not.

Answer: B
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Re: By the time Bentham turned his interest to the subject, late in the [#permalink]
Can someone please explain question 4.

Paragraph 1 mentions: "By the time Bentham turned his interest to the
subject, late in the eighteenth century, most
components of modern evidence law had been
assembled. Among common-law doctrines regarding
(5) evidence there were, however, principles that today are
regarded as bizarre; thus, a well-established (but now
abandoned) rule forbade the parties to a case from
testifying. Well into the nineteenth century, even
defendants in criminal cases were denied the right to
(10) testify to facts that would prove their innocence."

4. Which one of the following statements concerning the history of the law of evidence is supported by information in the passage?

(A) Common-law rules of evidence have been replaced by modern principles.
(B) Modern evidence law is less rigid than was eighteenth-century evidence law. -What is "modern evidence law" and "18th century evidence law"? I couldn't relate this answer with the paragraph above. How is this option correct?
(C) Some current laws regarding evidence do not derive from common-law doctrines.
(D) The late eighteenth century marked the beginning of evidence law.
(E) Prior to the eighteenth century, rules of evidence were not based on common law.
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Re: By the time Bentham turned his interest to the subject, late in the [#permalink]
Expert Reply
2. The author’s attitude toward eighteenth-century lawyers can best be described as

Difficulty Level: 700

Explanation

18th century law is discussed at length in lines 1-26, but 18th century lawyers only come up once, in lines 24-26. The reform of the policy that the author has previously called “extreme in its irrationality” was “frustrated” by lawyers’ self-interest and excessive reverence for the past. That’s all critical (B), but the words chosen aren’t nasty enough to justify (D)’s “scornful.”

One wonders how the passage could possibly be written in order to make “sympathetic” (A) right and “respectful” (C) wrong or vice versa—two choices that are functionally identical must always be incorrect—but nevertheless, each is too positive in tone.

“Ambivalent” (E) might be tempting if you misread the question as dealing with 18th-century legal practice in general because the author does concede some sanity, or at least modernity, in it. But the question is squarely pointed at lines 24-26, which couldn’t be less ambivalent.

Answer: B
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Re: By the time Bentham turned his interest to the subject, late in the [#permalink]
Expert Reply
5. The passage is primarily concerned with which one of the following?

Difficulty Level: 700

Explanation

Correct choice (A) has its priorities straight; this passage exists because the author wants to show the usefulness as well as the limitations of Bentham’s principle of nonexclusion of relevant evidence.

Choices (B) and (C) believe that the passage’s purpose is to indict “an outmoded legal system” (B) or to paper over “inadequacies.” Both choices are far too negative and lose sight of the focus on Bentham and his reforms, many of which remain in place, with the author’s approval, today.

(D) refers only to portions of lines 30-50, and not even all of those 21 lines at that. No contemporary proposal has either been made or dismissed (E); Bentham’s reforms date back to the late 1800s, less we forget.

Answer: A
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By the time Bentham turned his interest to the subject, late in the [#permalink]
Expert Reply
6. According to the fourth paragraph of the passage, what specifically does Bentham characterize as preference of ignorance to knowledge?

Difficulty Level: 650

Explanation

Bentham saw the “prefer[ence of] ignorance to knowledge” (line 39) as the alternative to nonexclusion, that is, the policy of letting in all relevant evidence, personal or hearsay or whatever. Since nonexclusion is the policy he favored, exclusion—or (D)—sums up what is meant by line 39’s phrase.

Choice (A) is a state of affairs Bentham and our author would surely oppose, but it is not explicitly connected to the phrase in question. (B)’s “failure to weigh” is O.K., but we expect to read “failure to weigh all relevant evidence.”

(B) dribbles off into the inane and irrelevant “advantages of legal reform,” so it qualifies as a 1/2 right-1/2 wrong choice. Bentham granted the exclusion of sacramental confessions (C), so he would not indict those confessions as a preference of ignorance. And the phrase certainly doesn’t apply to objections to Bentham’s exceptions to his new principle (E); this idea runs far afield of the specific context of lines 37-39.

Answer: D
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Re: By the time Bentham turned his interest to the subject, late in the [#permalink]
Expert Reply
Official Explanation


4. Which one of the following statements concerning the history of the law of evidence is supported by information in the passage?

Difficulty Level: 700+

Explanation

The question stem is so broad as to cover the entire text of the passage, so there’s no telling where the right answer will emerge. Best to go through them in some order and look for that which must be true. The passage’s first sentence makes it clear that contrary to (A), many long-established common-law rules remain.

(B) emerges as the right answer in that it picks up on the thrust of the passage: Thanks in part to Bentham, modern law has been moved to accept more relevant evidence—hence appear “less rigid”—than did law in the 1700s.

(C) is tricky. There are some aspects of common-law rules that are not in place today, notably the bizarre rule described in lines 6-8. But we cannot infer that any of the current rules in place do not date back to the common law. Remember, nonexclusion of evidence had been “demoted from a rule to a presumption” (lines 58-59).

In other respects, as far as we can tell from the text, “most components of modern evidence law had been assembled” (lines 2-4) by the late 1800s—a fact that serves to knock out (D) and (E) as well, each of which misunderstands what was going on in that era. The 1800s are important in the passage because they saw the work of Bentham, nothing more.

Answer: B
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Re: By the time Bentham turned his interest to the subject, late in the [#permalink]
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