A student recently wrote us: "Answer D, "The 'Big Man' description of tribal social structures was itself first constructed by Theodore Schwartz" was labelled incorrect. The explanation for why D is incorrect is :"The author concedes that Schwartz was a respectable academic, so it’s entirely possible that Schwartz did work in many different areas of anthropology beyond the cargo cults." In this explanation, it is referenced that Schwartz did work in "'many different areas of anthropology beyond the cargo cults.'" Do you imply that research on the "'Big Man'" is in a different area of anthropology beyond the cargo cult? This is a fallacious argument: in fact, the Big Man philosophy is, according to the passage, intrinsic to the behaviors which substantiated the cargo cult myth. If Schwartz was aware of the Big Man philosophy, it would indicate that he understood the rationality behind Melanesian behavior and detract from the paternalistic tone of the myth."
This seems to be a misinterpretation of the explanation given by the exam. The explanation for why answer choice D is incorrect is stating that saying that challenging the primary argument of the paragraph by stating that Schwartz came up with the "Big Man" in Melanesian tribal social structures is weak because the author does concede that Schwartz is not an academic lightweight and does have respectable work. This concession protects the author's argument from a sudden discovery that Schwartz was in fact aware of the "Big Man" social structure. However, it doesn't fully challenge the author's assertion that the Western misinterpretation of Melanesian culture led to the "cargo cult myth". Furthermore, the author mentions another anthropologist, Lawrence, and the release of Mondo Cane that fueled the "cargo cult myth". The correct answer, "The Western discourse on Melanesians was respectful of their social systems and sought to understand cargo cult behavior in light of the tribes' own history and values." more strongly challenges the primary argument. Ultimately, it's important in challenge/strengthen/weaken questions to pick the answer choice that most directly and strongly challenges the primary argument in CARS passages.
Thanks for your question. I hope this helps!
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