Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: A questionable question in Preptest 22 (June 1997)  (Read 1416 times)

Candide

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 333
    • View Profile
A questionable question in Preptest 22 (June 1997)
« on: June 06, 2004, 04:24:41 PM »
Section 4, Problem 18.

Coach:  Our team has often been criticized for our enthusiasm in response to both our successes and our opponents' failures.  But this behavior is hardly unprofessional, as our critics have claimed.  On the contrary, if one looks at the professionals in this sport, one will find that they are even more effusive.  Our critics should leave the team alone and let the players enjoy the game.

The coach's argument is most vulnerable to the charge that it

(A)  misleadingly equates enthusiasm with unethical play
(B)  misinterprets the critics' claim that the team is unprofessional
(C)  too quickly generalizes from the sport at one level to the sport at a different level
(D)  shifts the blame for the team's behavior to professional players
(E)  takes everyone on the team to have performed the actions of a few

OK, before I even looked at the answers I knew the vulnerability was that the coach misinterpreted the critics' claim that the team was too enthusiastic

I saw B and was confused because it too misinterprets the critics' claim.  It should read "misinterprets the critics' claim" or "misinterprets the critics' claim; interpreting that the team is unprofessional."

I (incorrectly) chose D, using POE.  Is my reasoning due to a grammatical idiosyncrasy or did anyone else find a problem with answer B?

Skittles

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 529
    • View Profile
Re: A questionable question in Preptest 22 (June 1997)
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2004, 05:42:47 PM »
I don't know... I would have picked C, so that shows you how much I know.

JiggityJig

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 122
    • View Profile
Re: A questionable question in Preptest 22 (June 1997)
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2004, 06:14:48 PM »
B is the correct answer, right?  I think that the key is the second sentence: "But this behavior is hardly unprofessional, as our critics have claimed."  The critics are claiming both that the team is too enthusiastic *and* that this enthusiasm is unprofessional.  The coach takes "unprofessional" to mean "not as is done at the professional level of our sport," when what the critics meant by "unprofessional" was basically "ungentlemanly" or "unladylike." 

Candide

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 333
    • View Profile
Re: A questionable question in Preptest 22 (June 1997)
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2004, 06:19:38 PM »
B is the correct answer, right?  I think that the key is the second sentence: "But this behavior is hardly unprofessional, as our critics have claimed."  The critics are claiming both that the team is too enthusiastic *and* that this enthusiasm is unprofessional.  The coach takes "unprofessional" to mean "not as is done at the professional level of our sport," when what the critics meant by "unprofessional" was basically "ungentlemanly" or "unladylike." 

Thank you.  You're right, and B is correct. 

JiggityJig

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 122
    • View Profile
Re: A questionable question in Preptest 22 (June 1997)
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2004, 06:29:52 PM »
That sort of question is usually my nemesis.  I always *want* to go for "confused two meanings of the word X" answers, and they are almost never, ever right.  Except here, apparently.

jacy85

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6859
    • View Profile
Re: A questionable question in Preptest 22 (June 1997)
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2004, 07:23:40 PM »
Yeah, in general, those answer choices are never right.  This, i think, is the only example that I've seen that uses it.  I remember that I got this question right, but only after much deliberation.

Skittles

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 529
    • View Profile
Re: A questionable question in Preptest 22 (June 1997)
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2004, 07:35:24 PM »
B is the correct answer, right?  I think that the key is the second sentence: "But this behavior is hardly unprofessional, as our critics have claimed."  The critics are claiming both that the team is too enthusiastic *and* that this enthusiasm is unprofessional.  The coach takes "unprofessional" to mean "not as is done at the professional level of our sport," when what the critics meant by "unprofessional" was basically "ungentlemanly" or "unladylike." 

But how do you know the critics meant "ungentlemanly?"  Isn't it possible that the critics DID mean "unlike what professionals do."

Candide

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 333
    • View Profile
Re: A questionable question in Preptest 22 (June 1997)
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2004, 08:11:15 PM »
B is the correct answer, right?  I think that the key is the second sentence: "But this behavior is hardly unprofessional, as our critics have claimed."  The critics are claiming both that the team is too enthusiastic *and* that this enthusiasm is unprofessional.  The coach takes "unprofessional" to mean "not as is done at the professional level of our sport," when what the critics meant by "unprofessional" was basically "ungentlemanly" or "unladylike." 

But how do you know the critics meant "ungentlemanly?"  Isn't it possible that the critics DID mean "unlike what professionals do."

You're right.  It is possible.  However the first two sentences of the coach's argument would suggest that the latter meaning that you speak of is probably not the one that was meant.  Instead the critics are using another definition of professional: characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (Merriam-Webster's).

The way I see it, the only possible way to defend B is to say that the coach has committed what logicians would call "the fallacy of equivocation."  This is the most difficult LR question that I've ever encountered.

JiggityJig

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 122
    • View Profile
Re: A questionable question in Preptest 22 (June 1997)
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2004, 08:14:44 PM »
Granted, I think you know it mostly by POE.  But if the critics meant "unprofessional" in the strict "not as professionals do" sense, the coach's argument would work, and we're assuming for the question that it's in some way vulnerable.  The fact that the critics' charge includes the fact that players are displaying enthusiasm not only at their sucesses but at the failures of others also hints that the critics are referring to the maturity and dignity of the players, not just comparing them to the pros.

ETA: Which is all to say, yes, a very ill-conceived question.

Skittles

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 529
    • View Profile
Re: A questionable question in Preptest 22 (June 1997)
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2004, 08:41:30 PM »
But I still think C is a valid point.