Some theorists and critics insist that no aesthetic evaluation of a work of art is sound if it is based even in part on data about the cultural background of the artist. This opinion is clearly false. The only sound aesthetic evaluations of artists’ works are those that take into account factors such as the era and the place of the artists’ births, their upbringing and education, and the values of their societies—in sum, those factors that are part of their cultural background.
The above argument is most vulnerable to which of the following objections?
(This question is from Official Guide. Therefore, because of copyrights, the complete question cannot be copied here. The question can be accessed at GMAT Club)
Some theorists and critics insist that no aesthetic evaluation of a work of art is sound if it is based even in part on data about the cultural background of the artist.
The author presents an opinion of some theorists and critics. These people insist an aesthetic evaluation of a work of art cannot be sound if the evaluation is based, even in part, on information about the cultural background of the artist. (So, according to these people, an aesthetic evaluation of a work of art can be sound only if it is not at all based on data about the cultural background of the artist)
This opinion is clearly false.
The author directly goes against the opinion mentioned above.
The only sound aesthetic evaluations of artists’ works are those that take into account factors such as the era and the place of the artists’ births, their upbringing and education, and the values of their societies—in sum, those factors that are part of their cultural background.
This statement supports the second statement above. However, this statement also presents a claim of the author, not any evidence. The author goes in the polar opposite direction of the theorists and critics and says that the ‘only’ sound aesthetic evaluations of artists’ work are those that take into account cultural background of the artists.
Gist: The author first presents an opinion of some theorists and critics, says that the opinion is false, and then presents his opinion that is the polar opposite of the opinion of the theorists and critics.
The given argument is funny in a way the below argument is:
Shyam says that no TV program is funny if it talks about death. He is completely wrong. Only those TV programs are funny that talk about death.
The only reason the author presents to say that Shyam is wrong is his own opinion that is completely opposite to Shyam’s opinion. No evidence or reasoning is given to suggest that Shyam is wrong.
We have to find an objection that the argument is most vulnerable to. One objection could be that the only reason given to say that theorists and critics are wrong is just the opposite statement.
(A) Correct. The conclusion of the argument is the second statement – “this opinion is clearly false”. Since the third statement of the passage given to support this conclusion is just a claim that is, in a way, a reiteration of the conclusion (saying the first statement is false is almost equivalent in meaning to the third statement), we can say that the author presupposes or assumes the conclusion. The third statement is presented as if it’s evidence to support the conclusion; however, the third statement just happens to be a reiteration of the second statement.
(purports: appear to be or do something, especially falsely. source)
(B) Incorrect. First of all, the argument doesn’t provide any evidence. Secondly, the third statement supports the conclusion (by reiterating it) and not undermines it.
(C) Incorrect. ‘Equivocal’ means ambiguous. There are no ambiguous terms here whose interpretation can vary. Even if there were, that is not the way the argument draws its conclusion.
(D) Incorrect. The argument neither talks about the intention of anything nor talks about any effect. The argument is only concerned about whether aesthetic evaluation of a work of art is sound.
(E) Incorrect. Given that the argument disputes an opinion purely by stating the opposite opinion and not by citing some evidence, how can we say that the argument assumes what is stated in this option?
One thing that makes this question difficult is some difficult words (such as ‘purports’ and ‘equivocal’ used in the answer choices. Even if you did not know the meaning of these words, do not discount your understanding of the remainder of the sentences.
Let’s say we did not know the meaning of ‘equivocal’.
Option C can be understood as: The argument draws its conclusion by means of some interpretation of key terms.
We still understand that there is no interpretation (of any form) in the passage, and that is not how the conclusion is drawn.