required != important

    • May 24, 2016 at 8:34 pm #1912

      Hey again,

      I’m really struggling with this whole required != important…

      for example, the coffee bit…

      I still don’t get why the required and important answer [she does not get her excess of caffeine through other means] is a better answer than [coffee is the only substance she consumes that contains caffeine]

      Wouldn’t the second answer, if negated, do far more to destroy the argument than the first?  For these questions, should we just avoid anything that fills the gap?

    • May 25, 2016 at 8:52 pm #1915
      Mike Kim

      Again, I encourage you to slow down and use the book more carefully —

      In terms of the specific coffee example — I think it might be helpful to you to try and write out in words exactly why the answer you are attracted to is something required. And then we can see from there what your issues are.

      In terms of avoiding anything that fills the gap — what gave you that impression?


    • May 26, 2016 at 8:42 am #1916

      It wasn’t a specific question with an A-E or match answer, but an example with some categorized possible assumptions on page 271.

      My husband says I consume too much caffeine, but that is false.  I only drink one cup of coffee a day, and one cup of coffee is not too much caffeine for a person to consume daily…

      I am getting confused, as, in my mind, the ‘Required and Important’ assumption is the same as the ‘Fills the gap but is not required’ say the same thing.  One is just stronger.  In this case, I’m not sure why the statement is not both required and sufficient.

      ‘Required and important’  She does not get her excess of caffeine through other means.

      Fills the gap but not required’  Coffee is the only substance she consumes that contains caffeine.

      Essentially, it seems that both are saying that she does not get caffeine from other sources, and their negations would both say the same thing as well.  The only differences I see are that one states excess where the other does not and one refers to substance and consumption.  I suppose it’s primarily the two examples on 271.  I understand the difference between necessary and sufficient statements, but the fills the gap options for the coffee example [and the one next to it on house locks] seem to fulfill the role of both.

    • May 26, 2016 at 2:23 pm #1918
      Mike Kim

      Got it — well, just to focus on those two examples —

      For the house one, in order for the answer you brought up to be required, we’d have to assume that these other ways of getting into and out of the house are ones that one could “break in” through — we don’t have the information to make that assumption.

      For the coffee one, the excess is important — to understand why, imagine this analogous argument:

      “My wife says I overeat, but that’s not true. I eat about 1000 calories for dinner, and this is not an excessive amount to eat for dinner.”

      In order for this argument to be valid, it doesn’t have to be true that I don’t eat at any other part of the day. And that’s the equivalent of not having any other substances that contain caffeine.

      The point to take away isn’t to avoid answers that fill that gap, but rather to do your best to focus singularly on evaluating as best you can whether an answer is truly required for the argument or not, without biasing yourself with considerations of degree/significance —

      HTH — MK

    • January 9, 2017 at 6:46 am #2940

      I know this is an old post, but I wanted to say that this explanation helps a lot. I also thought the “coffee is the only substance she consumes that contains caffeine” would be necessary especially if you negate it. But it did not dawn on me that the subject is the topic of excess and this statement negated doesn’t address that so it cannot be necessary.

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