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Philosopher: Both the consequences and the motives of human actions ha

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Philosopher: Both the consequences and the motives of human actions ha  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2019, 20:50
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Philosopher: Both the consequences and the motives of human actions have bearing on the moral worth of those actions. Nonetheless, to be a moral agent one must have free will, because one cannot be a moral agent without desiring to conform to a principle.

The philosopher's argument requires the assumption that


(A) one cannot be a moral agent if one lacks a concern for the consequences of actions

(B) desiring to conform to a principle requires free will

(C) nobody who acts without taking the consequences of the action into consideration is free

(D) it is impossible to have desires without also being a moral agent

(E) it is impossible to perform morally worthy actions without at some time conforming to a principle

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Re: Philosopher: Both the consequences and the motives of human actions ha  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Mar 2019, 06:20
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deveshj21 wrote:
Dear Expert,
Although i had chosen the correct answer, i struggled with the structure,specifically what role does the first part of the sentnce plays and therefore was not able to come up with a proper assumption. All i could think was that there is some relationship between "free will" and "desire to confirm to a principle".

The wording of this passage is slippery! Let's break down the second sentence of the passage, in which you will find both the philosopher's conclusion and his/her support for that conclusion:

The philosopher concludes that "to be a moral agent one must have free will."

This conclusion is supported by the assertion that "one cannot be a moral agent without desiring to conform to a principle." Logically, this means that to be a moral agent one MUST have the desire to conform to a principle.

In your analysis you've correctly identified a gap between the philosopher's conclusion and his/her support for that conclusion: how does one's "desire to conform to a principle" somehow mean they "must have free will?"

Here is the question stem:
Quote:
The philosopher's argument requires the assumption that

So, we know that we are looking for a statement that MUST be true in order for the conclusion to be logically sound.

Take a look at answer choice (B):
Quote:
desiring to conform to a principle requires free will

How would this statement fit into the structure of the argument? Let's rearrange the passage to make it clear:

  • SUPPORT: To be a moral agent requires the desire to conform to a principle
  • ANSWER CHOICE (B): desiring to conform to a principle requires free will
  • CONCLUSION: Therefore, "to be a moral agent one must have free will."

This answer choice perfectly fills in the logical gap between the conclusion and the support for that conclusion. More than that, it MUST be true in order for the argument to be logically sound. So, (B) is the assumption required by the argument.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Philosopher: Both the consequences and the motives of human actions ha  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Mar 2019, 00:19
patto wrote:
Philosopher: Both the consequences and the motives of human actions have bearing on the moral worth of those actions. Nonetheless, to be a moral agent one must have free will, because one cannot be a moral agent without desiring to conform to a principle.

The philosopher's argument requires the assumption that


(A) one cannot be a moral agent if one lacks a concern for the consequences of actions

(B) desiring to conform to a principle requires free will

(C) nobody who acts without taking the consequences of the action into consideration is free

(D) it is impossible to have desires without also being a moral agent

(E) it is impossible to perform morally worthy actions without at some time conforming to a principle



Conclusion: To be a moral agent one must have free will.
Premise: one cannot be a moral agent without desiring to conform to a principle

These are both necessary conditions.

"Desiring to conform to a principle" is necessary to be a "moral agent"
Therefore, "Free will" is necessary to be a moral agent.

Why would one say that? Only if he thinks that "free will" is necessary for "desiring to conform to a principle".

Alternatively, think in terms of variables.

Say, you know that A is needed for B. So you conclude that C is needed for B. Why? Perhaps because you know that C is needed for A.

This is given in option (B) (Free will is required for desiring to conform to a principle)
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Re: Philosopher: Both the consequences and the motives of human actions ha  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Feb 2019, 02:30
Dear Expert,
Although i had chosen the correct answer, i struggled with the structure,specifically what role does the first part of the sentnce plays and therefore was not able to come up with a proper assumption. All i could think was that there is some relationship between "free will" and "desire to confirm to a principle".
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Re: Philosopher: Both the consequences and the motives of human actions ha   [#permalink] 23 Feb 2019, 02:30
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