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# James: People's intentions cannot be, on the whole

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Senior Manager
Joined: 07 Dec 2017
Posts: 278
James: People's intentions cannot be, on the whole  [#permalink]

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08 Jul 2018, 20:30
4
00:00

Difficulty:

95% (hard)

Question Stats:

11% (02:02) correct 89% (03:36) wrong based on 57 sessions

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James: People's intentions cannot be, on the whole, more bad than good. Were we to believe otherwise, we would inevitably cease to trust each other, and no society can survive without mutual trust among its members.

The argument is most vulnerable to which one of the following criticisms?

(A) It fails to rule out the possibility that a true belief can have deleterious consequences.
(B) It mistakenly assumes that if two claims cannot at the same time both be true, then they cannot at the same time both be false.
(C) It challenges the truth of a claim merely by calling into question the motives of those who profess that they believe it to be true.
(D) It assumes without warrant that in any situation with two possible outcomes, the most negative one will inevitably occur.
(E) It provides no reason to believe that a statement that is true of a given group of individuals is also true of any other group of individuals.

Source : LSAT
Senior Manager
Joined: 16 Nov 2016
Posts: 287
James: People's intentions cannot be, on the whole  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 09 Jul 2018, 01:06
difficult one...I thought I understood the argument but, I in fact eliminated answer choice
basic play I thought was between...people's intentions are good because if they weren't we wouldn't trust each other...
so the basis on which the argument based is kind of this format...author concludes he believes X because it is not Y...

anyway...found this more elaborate explanation from Manhattan prep lsat blog:

"
Let's break down this argument:

If we were to believe that people's intentions are more bad than good, then we'd stop trusting each other, and society would fall apart without trust. Therefore, it must be true that people's intentions are not more bad than good.

Do you see any gaps here? The first red flag should be that the premise is talking about what would happen if people believed something, while the conclusion is talking about whether that belief is true. It's kind of like if I said, "If children believed they were inevitably going to die, they would be completely depressed all turn into criminals. Therefore, death must not be inevitable."

Do you see my point? There's a big assumption here, namely that if believing something would have negative consequences, then that belief itself must be false.

(A) is correct because it identifies this assumption, but in a wacky way. The argument assumes that if a belief has negative consequences, it must be false. In logical terms it would look like this:

Negative consequences ---> False

And the contrapositive would be

True ---> not negative consequences

In other words, the argument assumes that if a belief is true, it doesn't have negative consequences. So it ignores the possibility that a belief could be true and have negative consequences.

This is also a good example of how working from wrong to right can help us with difficult LR problems:

(B) is out of scope. Where does the argument talk about two claims that cannot both be true?

(C) is out of scope. The argument never mentions people who believe the claim, let alone questions their motives!

(D) is out of scope. Two possible outcomes?

(E) is -- drum roll -- out of scope. The argument doesn't talk about any particular groups of individuals; it talks about people in general the whole time.

So, how'd I do? Better than LSAC, or are you still stumped? If you are, let me know, and I'll have another crack at it."

here's the link: https://www.manhattanprep.com/lsat/foru ... t1400.html
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ENEM

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Originally posted by ENEM on 08 Jul 2018, 23:51.
Last edited by ENEM on 09 Jul 2018, 01:06, edited 1 time in total.
Senior Manager
Joined: 07 Dec 2017
Posts: 278
James: People's intentions cannot be, on the whole  [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2018, 00:10
1
The official explanation is as follows :

Overview: Louis' conclusion is that people's intentions cannot be, on the whole, more bad than good. He bases this conclusion on an argument that considers the consequences of believing that people's intentions are more bad than good. He basically argues that because there would be very negative consequences if this were widely believed, it cannot be true.

A. Louis claims that if we held the belief that people's intentions were more bad than good, certain negative consequences would result-society would lack the mutual trust that is necessary for its survival. From this he concludes that this belief is false. Louis' argument makes little sense, however, unless you understand that he is assuming that believing in something that is true will not bring about negative consequences. But Louis does nothing to back up this assumption, and this assumption certainly requires some sort of justification. So Louis' argument is vulnerable to the objection that nothing he says shows that holding a true belief cannot have deleterious consequences.

B. Louis' argument focuses on the consequences of a certain view being believed. It does not make any logical moves from the impossibility of two claims both being true to the impossibility of their both being false. So (B) simply does not describe what
goes on in Louis' argument, so it is not a criticism that the argument is vulnerable to.

C. Louis' argument does challenge the truth of a potential claim-that people's intentions can, on the whole, be more bad than good. But he does not suggest that anyone actually holds this belief. So the issue of "the motives of those who profess that they believe it to be true" does not arise. Louis' argument, therefore, is not vulnerable to the criticism in (C).

D. At certain points in the argument, Louis implicitly deals with situations with two possible outcomes: for example, society surviving and society not surviving. But he never assumes that the most negative will inevitably occur. His argument actually takes it for granted that positive outcomes (such as society surviving) can occur. So the argument is not vulnerable to the criticism in D.

E. Louis' argument is very general: it is about people, their beliefs, and the effects of those beliefs on society. Louis does not focus on particular groups of individuals. In particular, he does not make any inferences from what is true about one group of
individuals to what is true about some other group of individuals. So his argument is not vulnerable to the criticism in (E).
James: People's intentions cannot be, on the whole &nbs [#permalink] 09 Jul 2018, 00:10
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