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# Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that p

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Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that p  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 28 Sep 2019, 04:10
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 136, Date : 09-APR-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details

Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that prevail by virtue of good reasoning and do not depend on coercion or convention. A contrasting notion, institutional authority, refers to the power of social institutions to enforce acceptance of arguments that may or may not possess intellectual authority. The authority wielded by legal systems is especially interesting because such systems are institutions that nonetheless aspire to a purely intellectual authority. One judge goes so far as to claim that courts are merely passive vehicles for applying the intellectual authority of the law and possess no coercive powers of their own.

In contrast, some critics maintain that whatever authority judicial pronouncements have is exclusively institutional. Some of these critics go further, claiming that intellectual authority does not really exist—i.e., it reduces to institutional authority. But it can be countered that these claims break down when a sufficiently broad historical perspective is taken: Not all arguments accepted by institutions withstand the test of time, and some well-reasoned arguments never receive institutional imprimatur. The reasonable argument that goes unrecognized in its own time because it challenges institutional beliefs is common in intellectual history; intellectual authority and institutional consensus are not the same thing.

But the critics might respond, intellectual authority is only recognized as such because of institutional consensus. For example, if a musicologist were to claim that an alleged musical genius who, after several decades, had not gained respect and recognition for his or her compositions is probably not a genius, the critics might say that basing a judgment on a unit of time—“several decades”—is an institutional rather than an intellectual construct. What, the critics might ask, makes a particular number of decades reasonable evidence by which to judge genius? The answer, of course, is nothing, except for the fact that such institutional procedures have proved useful to musicologists in making such distinctions in the past.

The analogous legal concept is the doctrine of precedent, i.e., a judge’s merely deciding a case a certain way becoming a basis for deciding later cases the same way—a pure example of institutional authority. But eh critics miss the crucial distinction that when a judicial decision is badly reasoned, or simply no longer applies in the face of evolving social standards or practices, the notion of intellectual authority is introduced: judges reconsider, revise, or in some cases throw out in the reconsideration of decisions, leading one to draw the conclusion that legal systems contain a significant degree of intellectual authority even if the thrust of their power is predominantly institutional.
1. Which one of the following most accurately states the main idea of the passage?

(A) Although some argue that the authority of legal systems is purely intellectual, these systems possess a degree of institutional authority due to their ability to enforce acceptance of badly reasoned or socially inappropriate judicial decisions.
(B) Although some argue that the authority of legal systems is purely institutional, theses systems are more correctly seen as vehicles for applying the intellectual authority of the law while possessing no coercive power of their own.
(C) Although some argue that the authority of legal systems is purely intellectual, these systems in fact wield institutional authority by virtue of the fact that intellectual authority reduces to institutional authority.
(D) Although some argue that the authority of legal systems is purely institutional, these systems possesses a degree of intellectual authority due to their ability to reconsider badly reasoned or socially inappropriate judicial decisions.
(E) Although some argue that the authority of legal systems is purely intellectual, these systems in fact wield exclusively institutional authority in that they possess the power to enforce acceptance of badly reasoned or socially inappropriate judicial decisions.

2. That some arguments “never receive institutional imprimatur” (Highlighted) most likely means that these arguments

(A) fail to gain institutional consensus
(B) fail to challenge institutional beliefs
(C) fail to conform to the example of precedent
(D) fail to convince by virtue of good reasoning
(E) fail to gain acceptance except by coercion

3. Which one of the following, if true, most challenges the author’s contention that legal systems contain a significant degree of intellectual authority?

(A) Judges often act under time constraints and occasionally render a badly reasoned or socially inappropriate decision.
(B) In some legal systems, the percentage of judicial decisions that contain faulty reasoning is far higher than it is in other legal systems.
(C) Many socially inappropriate legal decisions are thrown out by judges only after citizens begin to voice opposition to them.
(D) In some legal systems, the percentage of judicial decisions that are reconsidered and revised is far higher than it is in other legal systems.
(E) Judges are rarely willing to rectify the examples of faulty reasoning they discover when reviewing previous legal decisions.

4. Given the information in the passage, the author is LEAST likely to believe which one of the following?

(A) Institutional authority may depend on coercion; intellectual authority never does.
(B) Intellectual authority may accept well-reasoned arguments; institutional authority never does.
(C) Institutional authority may depend on convention; intellectual authority never does.
(D) Intellectual authority sometimes challenges institutional beliefs; institutional authority never does.
(E) Intellectual authority sometimes conflicts with precedent; institutional authority never does.

5. The author discusses the example from musicology primarily in order to

(A) distinguish the nothing of institutional authority from that of intellectual authority
(B) given an example of an argument possessing intellectual authority that did not prevail in its own time
(C) identify an example in which the ascription of musical genius did not withstand the test of time
(D) illustrate the claim that assessing intellectual authority requires an appeal to institutional authority
(E) demonstrate that the authority wielded by the arbiters of musical genius is entirely institutional

6. Based on the passage, the author would be most likely to hold which one of the following views about the doctrine of precedent?

(A) it is the only tool judges should use if they wish to achieve a purely intellectual authority.
(B) It is a useful tool in theory but in practice it invariably conflicts with the demands of intellectual authority.
(C) It is a useful tool but lacks intellectual authority unless it is combined with the reconsidering of decisions.
(D) It is often an unreliable tool because it prevents judges from reconsidering the intellectual authority of past decisions.
(E) It is an unreliable tool that should be abandoned because it lacks intellectual authority.

• Source: LSAT Official PrepTest 38 (October 2002)
• Difficulty Level: 650

Originally posted by rs2010 on 02 Apr 2009, 17:40.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 28 Sep 2019, 04:10, edited 5 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (724).
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Re: Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that p  [#permalink]

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04 Apr 2009, 18:05
ritula wrote:
Though Im late but here r my answers:

D A E B C C

Hemant what is the source? I found it really tough.

LSAT

Since I started doing RCs I always feel like doing this. I have hardly visited Quanta forums in last one week or so.

Waiting for Nitya to join but he seems busy these days.

Good luck Ritula and do sleep well before exam
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Re: Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that p  [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2013, 05:52
A Reasonable hard Rc to read,
Took 10 Mins
all Correct but the 13. It also includes a bit of guess work.
Its actually quite difficult to nail these types especially aftr frying ur brain in Quant.
Nonetheless, very good of the sorts to Practice.
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Re: Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that p  [#permalink]

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04 Feb 2019, 14:19
Hey guys,

Can someone explain Que 13 for me please.

13. The author discusses the example from musicology primarily in order to
(A) distinguish the nothing of institutional authority from that of intellectual authority
(B) given an example of an argument possessing intellectual authority that did not prevail in its own time
(C) identify an example in which the ascription of musical genius did not withstand the test of time
(D) illustrate the claim that assessing intellectual authority requires an appeal to institutional authority
(E) demonstrate that the authority wielded by the arbiters of musical genius is entirely institutional

Thanks!
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Re: Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that p  [#permalink]

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12 Feb 2019, 00:44
HI

Can someone please explain q13 (5)
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Re: Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that p  [#permalink]

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23 Feb 2019, 13:21
1
surbhi1991 wrote:
HI

Can someone please explain q13 (5)

A lot of people struggling with Q13. I'll try to explain.

musicologist: "noun. An expert in or student of music as an academic subject, as opposed to someone trained in performance or composition."

- So a musicologist would be someone who has Intellectual authority.

In the example, an intellectual authority says that a "musical genius" is not actually a genius because respect/recognition has not been gained after several decades.

Critics say that the logic of gaining respect/recognition after "several decades" is purely an institutional construct.

(D) illustrate the claim that assessing intellectual authority requires an appeal to institutional authority

Hope this helps.

PS - Took me 15:55. I got 5 of 7 correct. Yikes!
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22 Mar 2019, 02:57
I marked D considering musicologist example
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Re: Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that p  [#permalink]

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09 Apr 2019, 13:10
2
Raj30 wrote:
I marked D considering musicologist example

Question #12 (or #4, as it now appears) asks which answer choice the author is LEAST likely to believe. So to eliminate an answer choice, we need to show that the author WOULD likely believe the given statement.

Let's take a look at (D):
Quote:
(D) Intellectual authority sometimes challenges institutional beliefs; institutional authority never does.

In the second paragraph of the passage, the author states that "the reasonable argument that goes unrecognized in its own time because it challenges institutional beliefs is common in intellectual history." From this, we know that the author would clearly agree with the first part of the statement, that "intellectual authority sometimes challenges institutional beliefs."

Now, for the second piece of the statement: " institutional authority never does." This can be rewritten as "institutional authority never challenges institutional authority." So, would the author believe this statement?

The key to answering this question is in the last paragraph. Here, the author says that using precedent to decide a legal case is "a pure example of institutional authority." S/he goes on to say that "when a judicial decision is badly reasoned, or simply no longer applies in the face of evolving social standards or practices, the notion of intellectual authority is introduced: judges reconsider, revise, or in some cases throw out in the reconsideration of decisions, leading one to draw the conclusion that legal systems contain a significant degree of intellectual authority."

So, when institutional authority is challenged, that challenge is categorized as intellectual authority. Therefore, institutional authority never challenges institutional authority. The author would likely believe statement (D), so it can be eliminated.

If you haven't gone cross-eyed yet, let's go on to answer choice (B):
Quote:
(B) Intellectual authority may accept well-reasoned arguments; institutional authority never does.

Again, let's consider each piece of this answer choice separately:

In the first sentence of the passage, the author states that "Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that prevail by virtue of good reasoning." From this, we can conclude that the author would believe the first part of answer choice (B), that "Intellectual authority may accept well-reasoned arguments."

Now, on to the second part: "institutional authority never does [accept well-reasoned arguments]."

Hmm. In the second sentence of the passage, the author states that "institutional authority refers to the power of social institutions to enforce acceptance of arguments that may or may not possess intellectual authority." So, institutional authority may or may not accept arguments that prevail by virtue of good reasoning.

From this, it is clear that the author would not believe that institutional authority never accepts well-reasoned arguments. For this reason, (B) is the correct answer.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that p  [#permalink]

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02 Jun 2019, 10:49
1
I took approx. 15 min and 30 sec. I got 5 out 7, but I felt that many of them were just reasonable guesses.

1. Which one of the following most accurately states the main idea of the passage?
(A) Although some argue that the authority of legal systems is purely intellectual, these systems possess a degree of institutional authority due to their ability to enforce acceptance of badly reasoned or socially inappropriate judicial decisions. the author says that int. aut. can rectify inst. aut.
(B) Although some argue that the authority of legal systems is purely institutional, theses systems are more correctly seen as vehicles for applying the intellectual authority of the law while possessing no coercive power of their own. the last sentences says that "<...> legal systems contain a significant degree of intellectual authority even if the thrust of their power is predominantly institutional."
(C) Although some argue that the authority of legal systems is purely intellectual, these systems in fact wield institutional authority by virtue of the fact that intellectual authority reduces to institutional authority. seems to address only the critic's view
(D) Although some argue that the authority of legal systems is purely institutional, these systems possesses a degree of intellectual authority due to their ability to reconsider badly reasoned or socially inappropriate judicial decisions.
(E) Although some argue that the authority of legal systems is purely intellectual, these systems in fact wield exclusively institutional authority in that they possess the power to enforce acceptance of badly reasoned or socially inappropriate judicial decisions. simply not true

2. That some arguments “never receive institutional imprimatur” (Highlighted) most likely means that these arguments <...> Not all arguments accepted by institutions withstand the test of time, and some well-reasoned arguments never receive institutional imprimatur <...> My interpretation of the portion was that well-reasoned arguments are never overridden by accepted social constructs or that well-reasoned arguments may be true even though they are not accepted by social institutions. Thus only A seems to go along the interpretation
(A) fail to gain institutional consensus
(B) fail to challenge institutional beliefs goes against the passage (first paragraph)
(C) fail to conform to the example of precedent if anything, the discussion about precedent does not start until last paragraph
(D) fail to convince by virtue of good reasoning that's the heart of int. aut.
(E) fail to gain acceptance except by coercion it gains acceptance by virtue of good reasoning with or without social acceptance

3. Which one of the following, if true, most challenges the author’s contention that legal systems contain a significant degree of intellectual authority? relevant text: <...> judges reconsider, revise, or in some cases throw out in the reconsideration of decisions, leading one to draw the conclusion that legal systems contain a significant degree of intellectual authority <...> So the claim says that because decisions are reconsidered, intellectual authority exists. But what if those decision are rectified because of the institutional authority, e.g. a newly accepted norm in society imposes courts to change the way they thought about some matter
(A) Judges often act under time constraints and occasionally render a badly reasoned or socially inappropriate decision. merely says that judges make mistakes/b]
(B) In some legal systems, the percentage of judicial decisions that contain faulty reasoning is far higher than it is in other legal systems. [b]does not really address the argument

(C) Many socially inappropriate legal decisions are thrown out by judges only after citizens begin to voice opposition to them. tempting (my mistake), but it doesn't say whether legal decision are thrown out because of the pressure of the citizens or because of the pressure plus intellectual authority
(D) In some legal systems, the percentage of judicial decisions that are reconsidered and revised is far higher than it is in other legal systems. does not add anything meaningful to the argument
(E) Judges are rarely willing to rectify the examples of faulty reasoning they discover when reviewing previous legal decisions. so if intellectual authority prevailed, judges would be keen to assume intellectual authority (good reasoning), but as this choice says, they don't - they allow a faulty reasoning prevail, which is not a virtue of intellectual authority

4. Given the information in the passage, the author is LEAST likely to believe which one of the following? is explained above by GmatNinja

5. The author discusses the example from musicology primarily in order to - discussed above, but the key to the answer can be found here: But the critics might respond, intellectual authority is only recognized as such because of institutional consensus. For example, <...>

6. Based on the passage, the author would be most likely to hold which one of the following views about the doctrine of precedent?
(A) it is the only tool judges should use if they wish to achieve a purely intellectual authority. the discussion does not hinge on achieving purely int. aut.
(B) It is a useful tool in theory but in practice it invariably conflicts with the demands of intellectual authority. not always, this claim is a stretch
(C) It is a useful tool but lacks intellectual authority unless it is combined with the reconsidering of decisions.
(D) It is often an unreliable tool because it prevents judges from reconsidering the intellectual authority of past decisions.
(E) It is an unreliable tool that should be abandoned because it lacks intellectual authority.
Re: Intellectual authority is defined as the authority of arguments that p   [#permalink] 02 Jun 2019, 10:49
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