Appreciate it guys.
I've got one more that's been driving me crazy. I'm not sure what test it's from because I'm taking it from the LR Bible...
Speaker: Contemporary business firms need to recognize that avoiding social responsibility leads to the gradual erosion of power. This is Davis and Blomstrom's Iron Law of Responsibility: "In the long run, those who do not use power in a manner which society considers responsible will tend to lose it." The law's application to human institutions certainly stands confirmed by history. Though the "long run" may require decades or even centuries in some instances, society ultimately acts to reduce power when society thinks it is not being used responsibly. Therefore, a business that wishes to retain its power as long as it can must act responsibly.
Which one of the following statements, if true, most weakens the speaker's argument?
A. Govt institutions are as subject to the Iron Law of Responsibility as business institutions.
B. Public relations programs can cause society to consider an institution socially responsible even when it is not.
C. The power of some institutions erodes more slowly than the power of others, whether they are socially responsible or not.
D. Since no institution is eternal, every business will eventually fail.
E. Some businesses that have used power in socially responsible ways have lost it.
Now, in my Powerscore class they told us that the word 'argument' is synonymous with 'conclusion' when it's in the question stem. So, the first thing I did was look for the conclusion, which is in the last sentence, "Therefore, a business that wishes to retain its power as long as it can must act responsibly." Now, it looks like the main point of the conclusion is the length of time a business can retain its power... so I look to the answer choices to attack that reasoning. After a cursory look, I thought you could eliminate answers A and B because they don't relate directly to the concluding argument (time of retaining power.) C was ultimately my final choice, because it weakens the argument that for a business to retain power as long as it can, it must act responsibly. This answer choice suggests that power dwindles at random, with no accordance to social responsibility. B ends up being the right answer, and I can't understand for the life of me why it's a better selection than C.
Am I attacking the question wrong? Am I supposed to go after the conclusion like I did (we were taught to do this in Powerscore)?
You are supposed to attack the conclusion, but you need to show that when the sufficient condition occurs the necessary condition doesn't automatically occur in order to weaken it.
In this case, you diagram the conclusion like so:
WRP = Wishes to retain power
AR = Act Responsibly
WRP ---> AR
B directly contradicts the conclusion since a company that wants to retain power can simply hire a PR firm in lieu of acting responsibly and be socially irresponsible. It allows for the sufficient condition to occur without the necessary condition.
C doesn't have a real effect upon the conclusion. The stimulus makes mention that some organizations lose power in different time frames(centuries vs. decades) and C supports that.
Later edit - I just realized I pretty much restated what the PowerScore book said - I did it from memory from doing that problem about a million times