Analysis of an Argument: ответ на задание
Во втором задании первого раздела - Analysis of an Argument - необходимо критически проанализировать аргументы, приведенные в отрывке текста. Нужно указать на слабые стороны рассуждения и предложить свой, более удачный вариант аргументации. Приводим пример стандартного вопроса из этого раздела.
The following appeared in a recent report by the Fern County planning commission:
In light of the increasing percentage of our nation's population turning to the Internet as a source of reference material, Fern County should close the ancillary branch of its public library, and convert that facility into a computer training center for use by county residents. The converted facility would fill what is certain to be a growing need among Fern residents for computer training. At the same time, since the county library's main branch already contains more volumes per resident than any other county library in the state, it will adequately serve the needs of Fem County residents. Moreover, Fern residents are sure to support this plan; after all, in nearby Mesa County only a few residents have objected to that county's plan to close all but one of its public libraries in the near future.
Discuss how logically convincing you find this argument. In your discussion, you should analyze the argument's line of reasoning and use of evidence. It may be appropriate in your critique to call into question certain assumptions underlying the argument and/or to indicate what evidence might weaken or strengthen the argument. It may also be appropriate to discuss how you would alter the argument to make it more convincing and/or discuss what additional evidence, if any, would aid in evaluating the argument.
In this argument the Fem County planning commission recommends converting a library into a computer-training facility. However, the committee's recommendation rests on numerous unproven, and dubious, assumptions - about the impact of Internet access on libraries, about Fern County residents, about the adequacy of the main library, and about Mesa County and its residents. As a result, the committee's argument is unconvincing at best, as discussed below.
To begin with, the committee's argument rests on two unsubstantiated assumptions involving the cited national trend in Internet usage. One such assumption is that increasing use of the Internet as a reference source will necessarily result in decreased use, or demand, for public libraries. While this might be the case, the commission must provide firm evidence to substantiate this assumption; otherwise, it is equally plausible that the cited trend will actually enhance the popularity of libraries by stimulating intellectual and cultural interest. A second such assumption is that Fem residents reflect the national trend. The committee provides no substantiating evidence for this crucial assumption; lacking such evidence, it is entirely possible that Fern residents have little interest - for whatever reason - in using the Internet for this purpose, and therefore that the proposed plan is not in their best interests.
Another problem with the argument involves the report's assertion that that there is certain to be a growing need in Fem County for computer training. In context, this claim appears to be based on the national trend in Internet usage. Yet even assuming Fem residents reflect this trend, it is entirely possible that Fem residents as a group are already highly proficient in using computers and the Internet. If so, Fern residents might very well prefer the status quo, and would not support the proposed plan.
Yet another problem with the argument involves the fact that Fern County's main library boasts a large number of books per resident. This fact alone is scant evidence that the main branch is adequate to service county residents. The committee overlooks the possibility of a future influx of county residents. The committee also ignores that the library's value lies not just in the quantity of its books but also in the quality of its books. Thus without reliable demographic projections and detailed information about the main library's inventory vis-a-vis the needs of Fern's residents, the committee cannot convince me that the main branch alone would serve the needs of county residents.
A final problem involves Mesa's plan to close all but one library. We are not informed whether Mesa residents are yet aware of the County's plan. Even if the plan has been made public, the fact that it has met little opposition does not necessarily mean that residents as a whole support the plan. Perhaps Mesa residents as a group are not inclined to voice their opinions. Or perhaps as a Group they are far less concerned about library access - for whatever reason - than Fern residents are.
In sum, the argument is unconvincing as it stands. To strengthen it, rather than relying on a dubious analogy between Fern and Mesa counties, the commission should provide better evidence - perhaps byway of a countywide survey - that Fern residents will increasingly use the Internet as a substitute for the ancillary library branch, and that they would benefit from a new computer-training center.
По материалам careerguide.com.ua