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I understand these words have different meanings and that the answer for question 4 is A.

However, how do I explain the difference between the other options? Why can we not say debate, reason and discussion? My best answer so far is that "argument just sounds good with this gap".

Thanks in advance for the help.

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  • I find your format to be painful on the eyes. Also, the question is very open ended.
    – Lambie
    Feb 12, 2018 at 22:19

2 Answers 2

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I'm not crazy about this test, since the word choices frequently have overlapping meaning which can be best understood when the words appear in context, and often difficult to ingest simply by reading a dictionary.

To answer your question: A "discussion" is when two people talk about some topic. A "debate" (when used as a noun) is a discussion, often formalized, which includes an argument for and against the main topic. Since there is only one person (Aristotle), writing for a particular point of view, there is neither discussion nor debate.

(Note that you can debate something with yourself, but only if you are not sure which side of the debate you agree with.)

In a similar way we can say a "reason" is a logical series of principles that explain a certain point of view. An "argument" is the same thing, with the assumption that the point of view is in doubt, and needs someone to promote one side.

In this context, "argument" fits best. Aristotle argues that we must do certain things "for their own sake". The other side of the argument is that we always do things "for the sake of something else". I don't know what, exactly, Aristotle means by this but I can tell it is indeed an argument.

Now, if Aristotle were to stand up in the Ancient Greek agora and argue this philosophy with someone else, that would be called a "debate".

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"Discussion" and "debate" are out of the question because the sentence is about one person, and while it is possible to have a discussion with oneself, this belongs more in the realm of mental health issues and life crises than into a description of someone's philosophical legacy.

"Reason" can't be used, because in this context it should have been either "reasoning" (as an explanation that he puts together to defend his view), or the gap should have been followed by "for believing so" (if we are not talking about reason as about the mental factulty of people being able of higher thinking but "reason" as something that forms the basis for something). "Reason" as the mental faculty is also out of place.

Only "argument" remains.

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    Well, you don't have to be crazy to have an internal debate whether or not to eat the last slice of a pie. There just have to be two clear sides. :)
    – Andrew
    Feb 12, 2018 at 21:31
  • @Andrew I classify this as a life crisis :) Body image issues belong in the realm of mental health issues as well, you know :) And if there are no body image issues, there is no need for this kind of debate :) If we are talking about the stage where it's already about atherosclerosis, thrombosis and heart problems, that's an honest-to-God life crisis.
    – user68912
    Feb 12, 2018 at 22:52
  • Oh, well I was assuming the ethics of whether it is better to be self-serving and eat it oneself, or generous and allow it to be eaten by another. I mean, of course it will be eaten. In my household the entire idea of a "slice of uneaten pie" is a hypothetical construct. :)
    – Andrew
    Feb 13, 2018 at 0:53

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