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Re: Many legal theorists have argued that the only morally legitimate goal [#permalink]
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Passage Map and Summary

The Topic is criminal penalties for behavior, and the Scope is best defined by the question implicitly posed in paragraph 1: “When is it legitimate to punish people for what they do?” Before paragraph 1 ends it’s clear that the author holds a wider view than that held by legal theorists who believe that the only answer is, “when it would clearly prevent harm to others.” The author takes issue with the adverb “clearly.” His Purpose, implied in lines 7–11, is to explain how punishment can be justified even when the prevention of harm isn’t quite so clear cut.

The first case, explained at length in paragraph 2, is a bit muddy until the “For example” Keywords that blessedly come along in line 16. The gist of the paragraph is that sometimes it’s necessary to enforce a rule inducing everyone to behave in the same way, because failing to set such a rule would cause harm. And when you think about it, you see what the author means. Although the behaviors of burglary and assault clearly cause harm to others, the mere behavior of driving on the “wrong” side of the road doesn’t necessarily do so. But if there were no rule at all—if there were no agreed-upon “right side”—what chaos would result! So here’s one case in which punishment would be justified even though “preventing harm” isn’t as clear cut. We might think of it as “the harm of uncoordination.”

The second case, in paragraph 3, goes beyond the mere “harm of uncoordination” (lines 33–35), and again we get a concrete example for clarification. On the surface, an athlete’s taking steroids surely doesn’t harm anyone directly. But as the author points out, that behavior puts other competitors in the loselose situation of “either endangering their health or losing their fair opportunity to win” (lines 44–46), a double whammy of harm that’s reason enough to use punishment as a way of coercing athletes not to dope up. We might think of this as a case of “complex, indirect harm,” and our marginal Roadmap ends up looking like so:

Para 1: Why punish: prevent harm (1–7); a broader view (7–11)

Para 2: The harm of uncoordination/driving ex.

Para 3: Complex indirect harm/steroids ex.


DwightScruthe wrote:
can you please just explain the para briefly so I can check on my own understanding? Thank you!
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Re: Many legal theorists have argued that the only morally legitimate goal [#permalink]
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Can anyone please explain the fifth and sixth questions.
Thanks
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Re: Many legal theorists have argued that the only morally legitimate goal [#permalink]
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Explanation


5. Which one of the following is a rule that primarily addresses a problem of coordination most similar to that discussed in the second paragraph?

Difficulty Level: 700+

Explanation

Most people just see the reference to paragraph 2, but those sensitive to question stem Hot Words will have noticed the phrase “problem of coordination,” a phrase that appears only in lines 27–28. This is our signal to pore over the context that’s right there, namely lines 26–32, and the gist is that potential harm comes not from a particular act but from “the lack of a coordinating rule.” To extend it to the driving example, there’s no inherent harm in one person’s driving anywhere on the road he chooses; the potential harm would come from there being no coordinated decision as to the “correct” side (images of cars smashing into or narrowly avoiding each other come to mind).

If we go looking for an example of an act which is not harmful in itself but which could lead to chaos in the absence of coordination, we must be drawn to (E). The pilot’s choosing any altitude is analogous to the driver’s choosing any part of the road, and the rule requiring different altitudes is of course analogous to the rule specifying which road side is “correct.” Other choices offer coordination examples, but not in the context of paragraph 2:

(A) Certainly digging for artifacts is an act not harmful in itself. But to be correct, (A) would have to present a situation whereby absolutely uncontrolled digging would cause harm to others, and you really have to strain and entertain lots of assumptions and “what if’s” to make that case here.

(B) offers two opposing determiners of behavior, the prescribing physicians vs. the needy customers; the pharmacist is simply the middleman, unlike the motorist who’s literally “in the driver’s seat” in paragraph 2. (B) would be closer if it contrasted a single pharmacist’s filling any Rx he desired with the chaos of every pharmacist’s doing likewise.

(C) By simply referring to a requirement for substantiation in contrast with uncontrolled free speech, (C) lacks the central element of the given situation, namely the behavior of a single actor (“actor” in the sense of someone committing an act) vs. the uncontrolled behavior of all actors.

(D) certainly compares a single actor’s behavior to the controlled behavior of all. But what “harm to others” is presented by all employees’ “wearing whatever clothes they choose”? None. (D)’s is not a rule that the author could support, in contrast with (E)’s, which the author would certainly support in order to avoid the disastrous effects of a lack of coordination.

Answer: E
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Re: Many legal theorists have argued that the only morally legitimate goal [#permalink]
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Explanation


6. In line 54, the author uses the expression “somewhat complex” primarily to describe reasoning that

Difficulty Level: 700

Explanation

In context, line 54 is part of a long sentence whose purpose is to sum up the idea that paragraph 3’s steroids example is a case of a rule that’s imposed to prevent harm to others (i.e., the opponents of a doping athlete), but is a less clear-cut instance of same. As (C) has it, prohibiting the use of steroids is only indirectly related to—hence “is more complex than”—preventing the harm that doping would cause to others.

(A) No explicit contrast between public and private sectors is part of the author’s argument.

(B) “Understanding motivation” is a concept raised in the previous sentence (lines 48–50) and relates to the consent of athletic competitors to a governing rule. Such consent is, in the author’s view, common to both simple and “somewhat complex” cases of preventing harm.

(D) both presents an irrelevant comparison—there’s never any question of anyone’s having to persuade athletes to value health over success—and focuses on the specific case of the steroids instead of the summary of which line 54 is a part.

(E) A 180: the steroid prohibition does involve coordination (lines 36–38), so the exception (E) raises doesn’t exist.

Answer: C
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Re: Many legal theorists have argued that the only morally legitimate goal [#permalink]
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Sajjad1994
took me a while to comprehend this passage.
was wondering if this passage is really 600-700 level. I found it much harder than other passages at the same level and even than a few passages at 700 level.
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Re: Many legal theorists have argued that the only morally legitimate goal [#permalink]
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TomKSH wrote:
Sajjad1994
took me a while to comprehend this passage.
was wondering if this passage is really 600-700 level. I found it much harder than other passages at the same level and even than a few passages at 700 level.


Updated.

Thank you!
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Re: Many legal theorists have argued that the only morally legitimate goal [#permalink]
In ques 4 I was confused between A and E, though I was inclined to saying A but somehow went for E. Because there rules apply but not in direct prevention of Harm. Can someone elaborate.
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Re: Many legal theorists have argued that the only morally legitimate goal [#permalink]
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Ayushi0002 wrote:
In ques 4 I was confused between A and E, though I was inclined to saying A but somehow went for E. Because there rules apply but not in direct prevention of Harm. Can someone elaborate.

­A vs E

The question is asking for the distinction between paragraph 2 and 3, and the transitional sentence in lines 33–35 both sums it up and appears almost verbatim in correct choice (A). Both the driving example and the steroids situation are examples of preventing harm, and the big difference between them is that the latter, as the author says, “goes beyond the simple lack of coordination itself.”


As far as (E) is concerned the author uses burglary and assault solely to demonstrate that driving on the “wrong” side of the road is inherently less harmful to others than those clear cut examples of criminal behavior. The question implicitly seeks a distinction between the concerns of paragraph 2 and 3, and “burglary and assault” play no role therein.
 
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Re: Many legal theorists have argued that the only morally legitimate goal [#permalink]
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P1 - ­
S1 - Many legal theorists have argued that the only
morally legitimate goal in imposing criminal penalties
against certain behaviors is to prevent people from
harming others.
What - The author shares the views of "legal theorists." As to what they support. 
Who - Author
Why - It sets the stage for an alternate view or disagreement. 

S2 - Clearly, such theorists would oppose
(5) laws that force people to act purely for their own
good or to refrain from certain harmless acts purely
to ensure conformity to some social norm.
What - The author shares what the "legal theorists" do not support. It again highlights the concept of "preventing harm to others."
Who - author.
Why - It sets the stage for a more nuanced application of "criminal penalties" to situations where "preventing harm to others" is not so obvious or immediately apparent. 

S3 - But the goal of preventing harm to others would also justify
legal sanctions against some forms of nonconforming
(10) behavior to which this goal might at first seem not to
apply.
What - Contrast with "but." It builds upon S2 and shares that legal sanctions can also be applied to some non-conforming behaviors in the same spirit of preventing harm to others, but that connection is not so obvious. 
Who - Author
Why - Main conclusion of the author. 


P2 - 
S4 - In many situations it is in the interest of each
member of a group to agree to behave in a certain
way on the condition that the others similarly agree.

S5- (15) In the simplest cases, a mere coordination of
activities is itself the good that results.

S6 - For example,
it is in no one’s interest to lack a convention about
which side of the road to drive on, and each person
can agree to drive on one side assuming the others do
(20) too.

S7 - Any fair rule, then, would be better than no rule
at all.

S8 - On the assumption that all people would
voluntarily agree to be subject to a coordination rule
backed by criminal sanctions, if people could be
assured that others would also agree, it is argued to
(25) be legitimate for a legislature to impose such a rule.

S9 - This is because prevention of harm underlies the
rationale for the rule, though it applies to the problem
of coordination less directly than to other problems,
for the act that is forbidden (driving on the other side
(30) of the road) is not inherently harm-producing, as are
burglary and assault; instead, it is the lack of a
coordinating rule that would be harmful.

What - The author explains that while the connection between the behaviors that require coordination and the application of "criminal penalties" or "legal sanctions" is not as direct as it's between criminal penalties and burglary or assault inherently, if there is no law in cases that require coordination, it'll be very harmful or detrimental for the people so in that sense these laws help prevent the harm, which justifies the application of "criminal penalties" or "legal sanctions" to the cases requiring coordination. 
Who - Author. 
Why - Explain the nuanced connection between "criminal penalties" or "legal sanctions" and cases that require coordination - for the benefit of people, and why the application of the "criminal penalties" or "legal sanctions" in such cases is applicable in a more indirect way. 


P3 - 
S10- In some other situations involving a need for
legally enforced coordination, the harm to be averted
(35) goes beyond the simple lack of coordination itself.
What - The author shares examples similar to those described in P2. Still, the magnitude or complexity of the harm prevented is much larger in terms of overall competition spirit, societal norms, and so on.  
Who - Author 
Why - Give another example to show the applicability of "criminal penalties" or "legal sanctions" in cases that require coordination, but the harm being prevented is much more nuanced. 

S11 - This can be illustrated by an example of a
coordination rule—instituted by a private athletic
organization—which has analogies in criminal law.

S12 - At issue is whether the use of anabolic steroids, which
(40) build muscular strength but have serious negative side
effects, should be prohibited.

S13 - Each athlete has at stake
both an interest in having a fair opportunity to win
and an interest in good health.

S14 - If some competitors
use steroids, others have the option of either
(45) endangering their health or losing their fair
opportunity to win.

S15 - Thus they would be harmed either
way. A compulsory rule could prevent that harm and
thus would be in the interest of all competitors.

S16 - If
they understand its function and trust the techniques
(50) for its enforcement, they will gladly consent to it.

S17 - So, while it might appear that such a rule merely forces
people to act for their own good, the deeper rationale
for coercion here—as in the above example—is a
somewhat complex appeal to the legitimacy of
(55) enforcing a rule with the goal of preventing harm.

What - the author shares that at first, the "criminal penalties" or "legal sanctions" in such cases may look like more of a benefit, but in essence, they prevent harm in terms of fairness and integrity of the competition as a whole. 
Who - Author
Why - Just like P2, another way to substantiate S3, the main conclusion. 

 
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Re: Many legal theorists have argued that the only morally legitimate goal [#permalink]
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