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His argument is most vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that it purports to refute a view by showing that one possible reason for that view is insufficient.

I thought purport means "claim something that is wrong" but when I replace the word with "claim", I do not exactly get what the full sentence means. Can someone explain this sentence focusing on the word purport and the overall structure?

  • -1 What dictionaries did you look in to check your understanding? What definitions did you find there that didn't make sense? This site requires a modicum of research. Answers that are entirely answerable by using a dictionary, such as this one, are off-topic. – green_ideas Nov 28 '17 at 1:35
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    @Clare - I disagree in this case. The OP has said: I thought purport means "claim something that is wrong" – and that aligns with dictionary definitions. (The dictionary on my Mac defines purport as "appear or claim to be or do something, especially falsely".) I'm not saying the research couldn't have been presented a little more thoroughly, but I do think "a modicum of research" has been shown in this case. – J.R. Nov 28 '17 at 10:48
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According Oxford Dictionaries, the verb "purport" means:

Appear to be or do something, especially falsely.

The sentence says:

  • His argument only appears to refute a view.
  • That refutation is not valid because it only shows that one possible reason for the view is insufficient.
  • This is how his argument is most vulnerable to criticism.
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