October 16, 2009

Homework #16 Answer

Harry became very frustrated with what a disorganized mess his baseball card collection had become. Sensing Harry's frustration, Harry's brother Archie suggested that Harry organize the cards in a display album, containing special pages to showcase his most valuable cards. Harry went to the store and then looked online for an album he could use. However, none of the albums he found had special showcase pages that were big enough to hold all of his cards. So he told Archie, "That was a stupid suggestion."

Which of the following assumptions has Harry made in dismissing Archie's recommendation?

A. Larger showcase display albums produced in the past were big enough to hold all of Harry's cards.

(A) is incorrect because it is irrelevant. Harry dismissed Archie's suggestion that a display album would help organize Harry's baseball card collection. Harry called it a "stupid suggestion," because he thought it wouldn't work. But (A) is not the assumption upon which that conclusion is based. Harry's frustration stemmed from the fact that the collection was messy and disorganized, not that it was too large to fit into a single display album. Therefore it doesn't matter whether larger albums produced in the past were big enough, so this is not the flaw in Harry's reasoning.

B. Albums without showcase pages are never as effective for organizing baseball cards as are albums that do have showcase pages.

(B) is incorrect because Harry would still be upset with Archie, albeit wrongly, even if this wasn't true. Whether the albums in question have showcase pages or not is not the issue. Harry thinks the albums can't neatly organize his collection because the showcase pages in a single album won't hold all of them; faulty reasoning, but not because of this.

C. Any album large enough to hold all of Harry's cards would contain enough special showcase pages to display all of his most valuable cards.

(C) is incorrect because it also does not represent the flaw in Harry's reasoning. Clearly he's upset because the albums' showcase pages are each too small to hold all of his cards, but whether a hypothetical large-enough album would contain adequate special showcase pages for his most valuable cards is not the point. Harry thinks the albums are no good because the pages are too small and thus won't hold all of the cards, but the issue is why he dismisses Archie's suggestion as "stupid." He has no reason to do so if the size of the collection and album were not the focus or purpose of the suggestion. Archie was suggesting a way to organize the cards, not hold them all.

D. Harry's baseball card collection would not be well-organized if it were displayed in more than one showcase album.

(D) is correct. Harry's problem is that the cards are messy and disorganized; Archie's suggestion is that he organize them in an album. Harry dismisses the suggestion because he can't find an album large enough to hold all of his cards, but the obvious possibility that he's ignoring is that he can use more than one album to organize them. This is the flaw in his reasoning; he assumes, wrongly, that he has to fit all of the cards into one album in order for them to be organized. If this is not the case, then there's no reason for him to denigrate and dismiss Archie's suggestion.

E. Harry's baseball card collection is a mess because he has more cards now than he did last year.

(E) is incorrect because, once again, the size of Harry's collection is not the issue.