Realistic vs Possible

28 09 2011

A number of people have made this mistake with the question,

“Is the elimination of global poverty a realistic aim?”

The error was that arguments considered the possibility of eliminating global poverty, rather than assessing whether it is realistic.

A classic sign of this error was the use of “if” in the topic sentence. For example, “Poverty can be eliminated if the poor are willing to accept education programmes.” This merely proves that it’s possible. In order to show that it’s a realistic aim, one would have to show that current education programmes ARE being accepted by the poor.


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2 responses

29 09 2011
mattmyint

Can you use the possibility of eliminating poverty as a way to argue about it being realistic? And what ways can we assess how realistic an aim it is?

i couldn’t think of any other way besides making the error you mentioned.

29 09 2011
Adrienne de Souza

First question: Is it easier to argue that something is possible, or is it easier to argue that something is realistic?

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