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All art is up to something. Art cannot just be; it always does—and what it does is hostile to stability. Of all the forces that influence our lives, whether the abstract or utilitarian, popular or arcane, positive or cynical, art is the most revolutionary, always in motion, always dissatisfied with what has been proved to satisfaction. Because it is concerned with humanistic ideals, it is universal. But because it is made by human individuals, it is elite, chaotic, and eternally in renewal, disproving what has been proved: subversive. Art teaches, art denies, art builds and destroys, justifying men’s ways to God. It is a doing thing, forged for strife and change.

Which one of the following statements would most undermine the author’s argument?

A. Artistic works affirm humanity’s traditional ideas about the world. Correct Answer
B. Artistic works attempt to strengthen humanity’s ethical codes of behavior.

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I understand why A is most correct but I'm having a hard time ruling out B for sure. When I actually did this question I crossed out A without reading it properly and now that I look back it sounds correct, but isn't B implying the same thing? My rationale was that by strengthening the ethical codes of behaviour, it would not be challenging the beliefs that exist, as the passage claims it does. Any ideas how to rule this out?
 

theonlytycrane

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Affirm is much stronger than strengthen. The snippet says that art changes stuff/ideas and affirming is the opposite of this. B is okay, but A is better- don't sweat it. It's one of those 50:50 calls that you select and move on from.
 
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Affirm is much stronger than strengthen. The snippet says that art changes stuff/ideas and affirming is the opposite of this. B is okay, but A is better- don't sweat it. It's one of those 50:50 calls that you select and move on from.
True, I haven't come across too many questions like this, at least from what I remember. Most appealing answer choices have had some small detail that makes them incorrect but this one seems more of a 50/50 like you said.
 

aldol16

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Where in the passage does it mention "beliefs" at all? With A, you don't have to make any leaps in logic. A directly addresses the sentence in the passage that says, "art is the most revolutionary..." and "disproving what has been proved."
 
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663697

Where in the passage does it mention "beliefs" at all? With A, you don't have to make any leaps in logic. A directly addresses the sentence in the passage that says, "art is the most revolutionary..." and "disproving what has been proved."
The answer explanation says that the author argues that art does not affirm beliefs, rather, it challenges them.
 

aldol16

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The answer explanation says that the author argues that art does not affirm beliefs, rather, it challenges them.
Then it's the leap from "beliefs" to "ethical codes of behavior" that is too broad. An ethical code of behavior might be based on beliefs but does not have to represent beliefs themselves. For instance, the ethical rule might say "Don't steal from others." That rule might be based on the belief that "stealing is wrong" but is not the belief itself.
 
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663697

Then it's the leap from "beliefs" to "ethical codes of behavior" that is too broad. An ethical code of behavior might be based on beliefs but does not have to represent beliefs themselves. For instance, the ethical rule might say "Don't steal from others." That rule might be based on the belief that "stealing is wrong" but is not the belief itself.
That makes sense. Don't think I could personally think that deep during the test though, haha. I guess the moral of the story is to not cross out answers immediately.
 

aldol16

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There's also the "most undermine" part. Even if you make that leap from "ethical codes" to "beliefs," I still think that A is more comprehensive and thus would "most undermine" the argument. Even if B is a part of what A implies, A is the broader, stronger one.
 
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rabbott1971

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To me, A is diametrically opposite of the passage. "Hostile to stability" and "revolutionary" are terms which mean the opposite of affirming tradition.
B proposes that art strengthens ethics. Ethics is amenable to teaching, doing, forging change, and the dynamism described in the last part of the passage. Tradition is a static entity which the passage plainly says art tends to oppose.
 
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