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Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by Kumar Abhishek - Monday, 19 April 2010, 06:54 PM
  critical reasoning basicsSometimes it is necessary to ask ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG)’ questions to put your goalposts and milestones in perspective. For example, a CAT 2010 aspirants should regularly question himself “Am I a 100 percentiler yet?” This question has lot more to it than it seems. First, half of you would not even dare to ask this question as you do not possess the belief that you can be a 100 percentiler. That means you would not be even 99 percentiler and the race for CAT is already over for you. For those who DO believe that they can be a 100 percentiler, the question would really make you ask yourself if you are doing enough to become one. You would realize the slackness that you have fallen into or the weak areas that you need to look into. In short, it would bring back the steel that you need so badly. The catch is that if you are not stupid enough to dream to be supreme, the biggest, and the best, do not dare to dream at all. Once you decide to be the best, biggest, or the most famous at what you want, everything else will fall into place.

Today’s chapter is a continuation of the critical reasoning series that Kumar Sir has agreed to write. I am loving his simple and lucid way of explanation. I sincerely hope you would too. Please do attempt the subjective questions at the end of the lesson. Good Luck!- Total Gadha

 

As we begin a new chapter, let us reminisce what we had learnt earlier. We had, in the previous lesson, come to understand that an argument has broadly two parts, a conclusion and a premise. Starting with small arguments, we had dealt with some bigger arguments having multiple premises at times.

Before we jump to handling CR questions, let us understand a couple of things more, since they are going to play a crucial role in our broader comprehension of logic per se in the coming weeks.

Now that you have understood what premises and conclusions stand for, it would be handy to keep some special things in mind:

  1. Premises CANNOT be negated.
  2. An argument with only one premise is typically a weak argument.
  3. A premise which is an opinion in itself leads to weak argumentation.
  4. All the rules of ‘syllogism’ stand their ground in CR as well.

 

A. Premises CANNOT be negated.

In arguments, premises are considered sacrosanct and cannot be negated. Many a time, when asked to weaken an argument, people start negating the premises. While this may work in real-life situations (where fools are often found arguing!), it does not in CR questions. If an option directly negates what has been mentioned in the argument’s premise, then it is NOT the answer.

Consider the following argument:

X : Ravi is a good boy because he helps others.

If asked to weaken this argument, one CANNOT argue by saying “No! He does not help others, and hence is not a good boy.” This is what I fondly call BHASAD. smile

A classic way of weakening this argument could be to point at the fact that merely ‘helping’ others does not sufficiently lead to the conclusion that Ravi is a good boy. OR, by saying “Agreed that he helps others, but he does not pay his taxes, beats up his father, routinely kicks his neighbour’s dog” etc…OR, by explaining that the so called “others” here, refers to a bunch of (in)famous/wanted dacoits!!!

All these would help undermine the conclusion and unfortunately, in the light of fresh evidence, Ravi would no longer be as eligible a bachelor.

Let us look at this one for instance:

X : It will rain tomorrow.
Y : No, it will not!
X : Yes, it will!! I see black clouds in the sky.
Y : Well, I don’t!!

And there you go…..BHASAD at its best!!!!

 

B. An argument with only one premise is typically a weak argument.

We DID observe this in the previous examples, didn’t we? It is easy to refute or weaken an argument with only one leg (read premise). Classically, we refute such arguments by agreeing with the premise but citing the insufficiency of the conclusion drawn on the basis of only one instance.

For example:

X : It will rain tomorrow.
Y : No, it will not!
X : Yes, it will!! I see black clouds in the sky.
Y : There had been black clouds yesterday too, but it hadn’t rained.

Another way of refuting such arguments is to cite other instances which take away the credentials of the conclusion drawn (as we did with the Ravi/good boy argument).

C. A premise which is an opinion in itself leads to weak argumentation.

Consider the value of the following arguments.

- He is not a good man because I do not like him.
- Seher is not a good film because many people disliked it.
- The accident must have been caused by her because women cannot drive well.

Hope you get the point.

Also, words like good, bad, weak, strong etc. are opinionated/relative and provide little logical or absolute value in arguments. Ideally, they should not have a place in premises. Premises are taken as true facts in the context of the argument, and hence, cannot be negated either (as stated somewhere above). Usage of opinionated words in the premises takes away the sacrosanct value attached to the premises, and therefore should be avoided.

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Exercise

This is a subjective exercise and you are free to use your argumentative skills. Find as many logical holes in the arguments as you can. And do remember that the world is watching. So do not be miffed if someone picks holes in YOUR logic. These days, as I learnt sometime back, even 8-9 years old ones are keeping a close watch! ;)

Find the flaw/s in the following arguments:-

1. Mr. Gupta: I don’t believe Sharma Ji will win the election for governor. Few voters are willing to elect a businessman with no political experience to such a responsible public office.

2. A law requiring companies to offer employees unpaid time off to care for their children will harm the economic competitiveness of our nation’s businesses. Companies must be free to set their own employment policies without mandated parental-leave regulations.

3. Are you still reading the other newspaper in town? Did you know that the Daily Bagula is owned by an out-of-town business syndicate that couldn’t care less about the people of Jungle City? Read the Daily Cheel, the only real voice of the people of Jungle City!

4. Alibaba: I don’t intend to vote for Senator Farzana in the next election. She is not a strong supporter of the war against crime.

5. At an enormous research cost, a leading chemical company has developed a manufacturing process for converting wood fibers into a plastic. According to the company, this new plastic can be used for, among other things, the hulls of small sailboats. But what does the company think sailboat hulls used to be made of? Surely the mania for high technology can scarcely go further than this.

6. Ravan: Using extraneous incentives to get teenagers to change their attitude toward school and schoolwork won’t work. Take the program in West Virgunj, for instance, where they tried to reduce their dropout rate by revoking the driving licenses of kids who left school. The program failed miserably.

7. Historically, women have suffered a lot of suppression and hence need reservation in all spheres. This is the only logical way to uplift them and bring them on par with men.

8. No nation can long survive unless its people are united by a common tongue. For proof, we need only consider Canada, which is being torn asunder by conflicts between French-speaking Quebec and the other provinces, which are dominated by English speakers.

9. As part of our program to halt the influx of illegal immigrants, the administration is proposing the creation of a national identity card. The card would be available only to Indian citizens and to registered aliens, and all persons would be required to produce the card before they could be given a job. Of course, such a system holds the potential, however slight, for the abuse of civil liberties. Therefore, all personal information gathered through this system would be held strictly confidential, to be released only by authorized personnel under appropriate circumstances. Hence, there would be no abuse of civil liberties.

10. A sociologist recently studied two sets of teenagers. The members of one set spent 10 or more hours per week watching violent television programs, and the members of the other set spent 2 hours or less per week watching violent television programs. A significantly greater proportion of the teenagers in the former group exhibited aggressive behavior during the period of the study. The sociologists reasoned that the prolonged exposure to television violence caused the aggressive behavior.

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D. All the rules of ‘syllogism’ stand their ground in CR as well.

This requires a full fledged chapter. Keep watching this space.

Books To Refer:

Critical Reasoning GMAT Preparation Guide

 

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Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by Prashant Sahni - Monday, 19 April 2010, 10:51 PM
  Sir, thanks first of all for ruining my reputation as my 'ghar ka naam' is Ravi sad

Second, next time I read another article by you, sir, i'll make it a point that I'm not sipping coffee as it just happened and I ended up spitting it on my keyboard when I read 'BHASAD'.

Okkk..Jokes apart, here are answers by yours(no apostrophe) truly:-

1. Following can be used to refute the argument made by Mr. G
a. Doesn't take into account the mood swings of voters.
b. Mr. Sharma might be a large scale donor to public welfare
programs and the public might be aware of this fact for all we
know. We can use many such positives to refute the argument.
C. If he's unscrupulous, Mr. Sharma might bribe his opponents and
might get elected unopposed. We can use many such negatives to
refute the argument.

2. It's all opinion, opinion and more opinion. The speaker doesn't corroborate his/her assertion by facts/findings etc. A statement without proof could very well be treated as a lie. Why will the decision be harmful? The statement gives no clues.

3. First of all, I don't know whether just the fact of 'Daily Bagula' being run by a business syndicate makes its credibility liable to be doubted. Second, how do I know that 'Daily Cheel' is a worthy alternative to 'Daily Bagula'? It might be as dubious as 'Daily Bagula' is made out to be.

4. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN THIS STATEMENT. It's as good as saying, " I don't like the colour of apples, so I don't eat them.'

5. The statement clearly states 'among other things'. That means, the use of the new plastic in ships is not its only intended purpose. The conclusion is based on the assumption that ships' is the primary purpose that the plastic is intended for and hence its research should be condemned. Use in ships is only one of the many possible uses.

Also, the speaker makes the error of generalising the alleged failure of this particular research to the whole gamut of high technology researches.

6. Again, the speaker is generalising. There might be an area called East Virgunj where the program was a runaway success. Who knows? I could use it to weaken the argument.

7. I say, a series of researches over the years shows that reservation has been of little help i.e. even after years of reservation policy, the status of women in all spheres remains where it was. That's enough to put a hole in the author's conclusion.

8. Look at India, 13 major officially recognised languages, 800 something identified dialects, yet, unity is our strength.

Moreover, the argument nowhere states that the differences of the warring peoples are over the issue of language. There could very well be something else giving light to the fire.

9. What about hackers? Somebody might hack into the database and steal all the confidential data. Also, what guarantees the probity and incorruptibility of the 'authorized personnel'? Enough points to weaken the argument.

10. The argument makes the grossly erroneous assumption that the 10 hour group wasn't influenced by anything else...such as domestic violence or a violently troubled childhood.

Again, enough points to weaken the argument can be found as it is based on a faulty assumption.


Kumar Sir, these are my answers to the exercise Q's. Kindly take a look and comment.

Regards,

Prashant Sahni...14th Feb batch.




Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by shashank kaushik - Wednesday, 21 April 2010, 01:54 AM
  hi sir,
awesome article...following are my answers.....
1.the argument is supported only by one premise that bussinessman cann't be a good politician.It could be easily negated by giving example of a similiar kind of person who has been a good politician inspite of being a bussinessman with no experience.
2.the argument is based on author's assumption that giving leave would harm the production & other aspects of company.Who knows some of those people return back & do much better work as a token of appreciation for their kids & for themselves.
3.an opinionated argument where it has been inferred that the better paper would be the one whose owners belong to the city.it could be easily negated by showing that the staff of Daily bagula has been living inside the city for the past 10 or more years.
4.argument based on a single premise which isn't supported by any example or other premise.Can be negated by saying that inspite of her not being a supporter,she has came hard on punishing those criminals.
5.here the author is of the opinion that the new material is of lesser strength than that ofthe previous material.so,the argument can be weakened easily by telling how superior the new material is than the previous ones.
6.the argument can be proved logically incorrect by giving example of some other place or city where the same laws worked out.
7.opinionated argument.Could be negated by giving examples of women who have been on par with men without the help of any aid or incentive.
8.The most illogical of them all.one part of the sentence talks about need of a common tongue,while the second one talks about conflicts between the two states wherein no proof is given that it is based on either the common tongue problem or due to some other reason.to,counter this one,we just need to giv e an example of a company which has been united for a long time inspite of having peopke belonging to many tongues.
9.there are too many loopholes in the argument.first of all,there could be a chance that these cards could be made available to illegal immigrants by some corrupt officials.Secondly,what if the 'authorized personnel' abuses this info.
10.argument based on a single premise.Can be countered by saying that those who were aggressive in the former group belong to a gang of goons & were violent earlier while others were not.

Do let me know if i am wrong anywhere while answering the quesn.
Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by kumar swambhu - Wednesday, 21 April 2010, 07:04 AM
 

9. the argument does not tell how they identify between indian citizen and illegal immigrants.

10. I think it of as a good argument as the sociologist is just reasoning on the basis of his experiment.

Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by Subhash Medhi - Wednesday, 21 April 2010, 10:46 PM
  Hi sir,
        Here are my answers:
1.a)A prediction for the result of an election is generally based on polls which take the opinions of a certain percentage of the population which may or may not reflect the overall view of the total electorate. Such polls cannot give an accurate prediction.
   b)He might have the means to manage an effective canvassing and hence portray himself as the right candidate.
2.a)As the private sector's share in the total number of enterprises in the country is increasing by the day the total number of people employed in private concerns too is increasing by leaps and bounds. In such a scenario, if present company policies persist, then soon a large percentage of our children would grow up in an environment devoid of parental care. They would not get enough emotional nourishment. Their psychology may get harmed. Hence, they may turn out to be socially irresponsible.All this can result in the collapse of the family balance. This might in turn lead to underperformance of the parents and hence harm the competitiveness of our country's businesses.
3.a)Daily Bagula being owned by an out-of-town business syndicate doesn't imply that it would not highlight the important issues concerning the state.For an example, newspaper XYZ is owned by a business entity based in Delhi but it does have local editions which carry good number of articles for all the regions of India.
4.a)Being a strong supporter of the war against crime should not be the sole criteria for getting votes. There are many issues plaguing the country apart from crimes. Malnutrition of children,illiteracy, rank poverty are some of those. For voting a person, his/her views on all such issues must too be taken into account.Also, may be she believes that crimes  would stop automatically if all other issues are solved. After all, such issues are the root causes of crimes.
5.a)Most innovations involve significant investment in initial research.But the investment in research is paid off later.So, investment in research should not be be a minus point.
   b)Saw-dust which is produced as a by-product in the wood industry could be a viable option for the wood fibres.This would mean that there would not be any need to fell any additional trees. Usage of the
earlier technology required the felling of trees as the hulls of sailboats were made of solid wood.
  c)Using plastic for the hulls of sailboats would make the hulls last longer as unlike wooden hulls they would not rot easily in water. This in turn would mean a still lesser need to fell trees which would be good for the environment.
6. a) A single example of a failure should not be a deterrent. Other extraneous incentives might work.It might be that a majority of those who drop out of school might be from poor families and don't own a vehicle. The need is to award that incentive which would work the best.
7. a) Women have not suffered suppression in the whole history of mankind. There were many queens and empresses in almost all the cultures who ruled over vast regions.Queen Victoria of England and Empress Catherine the Great of Russia are examples. In the modern day too, there have been many famous women politicians politicians and bureaucrats some of whom have ruled by dictat. An exmple is Mrs. Indira Gandhi who was the Prime Minister of India.All these prove that women have made their mark in history despite odds. Hence, reservation is not necessary for them.
8. a) Despite having many different languages India is still united. This should mean that such nations can survive.
    b) The turmoil in Canada has more to do with history than language. The French and the English have fought many wars between them throughout history and naturally there is some animosity. But that doesn't mean that every multi-linguistic nation cannot survive.
9. a) Even a single lapse in the protocol could lay at risk secret information of innumerable individuals. History is replete with scams.
    b) The identification of illegal migrants is in itself a daunting task. If such cards are issued without proper identification of illegal migrants it might happen that they might get registered as genuine citizens while certain genuine citiznes could be painted as illegal migrants. In such a scenario, the civil liberties of those affected genuine citizens would cease to exist.
10. a) Exposure to violent television programs alone could not be reason for exibition of violent behaviour. Violent behaviour could be exhibited due to many other factors such as the home environment of the teenager,the economic status of the teenager's family,drug abuse etc. All these too must be taken into account. Besides, the study must involve a sufficiently large number of teenagers for the validity of the conclusion.

Yours sincerely,
Subhash
Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by harsh goel - Thursday, 22 April 2010, 12:48 PM
 

4.atleast she is a supporterof war ,others r toh criminals by themselv

7.they cd b given preferences insteadof a sure short reservation

8. and wht abt INDIA,CHINA along list

6. bt it was a good n innovative attempt

1. even after gupta ji being a highly reputed and honest businessman

2.organizational responsiblities are not above duties n liablities towards ones family

3. why not daily bagula then

9. authorized personels are human too(they to hv weaknesses)

Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by shrutika kalra - Monday, 3 May 2010, 05:04 PM
  Waiting for the next part..critical reasoning-3
Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by zoiks guy - Tuesday, 11 May 2010, 10:46 PM
  Hi Kumar Sir!

This is indeed a very helpful article. Thanks a lot and you rock!
I was observing your writing style but got confused. In the very beginning you have chosen past perfect tense "we had learnt....we had come to understand ...we had dealt"
I would really appreciate if you could help me understand this. As per my current knowledge, past perfect is used when we need to compare two events and convey which happened first. Had you used simple past tense, would it still have been correct?
Damn! Also, please correct if you see any tense problem in the above statement itself!

Really appreciate your effort
Zoiks
Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by Dev Raj - Friday, 14 May 2010, 12:31 AM
  Hello Kumar sir,
Pls do have a look at the answers....

1) Mr Gupta doesn't take into account the experienced gained during the business tenure of sharma ji.

2)
The statement ignores the bringing up aspect of the children which can damage childrens' future.

3)The opinion negates the importance of a neutral view which could be compromised in a involved participant.

4)Alibaba's opinion involves " strong supporter" which could mean that senator Farzana does support war against terrorism to some extent and includes other important aspects of democracy in her agenda as well.

5)What was being used till now? The enormous amount of money spent could have been used in a better way.

6)Ravan's opinion provides a reason to justify the failure of a positively directed program but fails to provide an alternative.

7)The method specified in the statement would eventually lead to suppression of man.

8)The statement doesnot take into account other thriving nations with different tongues. Also, Canada itself is a developed nation, proving that it can perform well with different tongues being spoken.

9)The statement contradicts itself by first stating that there is a slight possibility of its misuse against civil liberties and then provides an example of how civil liberties wud be protected.

10) The sociologist fails to take into account the attitude possessed by the more aggressive teenagers before the study period which resulted them in being over indulgent with specified category of TV programmes.

Sir, Pls do provide us with the solutions.
Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by Dev Raj - Friday, 14 May 2010, 12:35 AM
  Hello Kumar sir,
Pls do have a look at the answers....

1) Mr Gupta doesn't take into account the experienced gained during the business tenure of sharma ji.

2)
The statement ignores the bringing up aspect of the children which can damage childrens' future.

3)The opinion negates the importance of a neutral view which could be compromised in a involved participant.

4)Alibaba's opinion involves " strong supporter" which could mean that senator Farzana does support war against terrorism to some extent and includes other important aspects of democracy in her agenda as well.

5)What was being used till now? The enormous amount of money spent could have been used in a better way.

6)Ravan's opinion provides a reason to justify the failure of a positively directed program but fails to provide an alternative.

7)The method specified in the statement would eventually lead to suppression of man.

8)The statement doesnot take into account other thriving nations with different tongues. Also, Canada itself is a developed nation, proving that it can perform well with different tongues being spoken.

9)The statement contradicts itself by first stating that there is a slight possibility of its misuse against civil liberties and then provides an example of how civil liberties wud be protected.

10) The sociologist fails to take into account the attitude possessed by the more aggressive teenagers before the study period which resulted them in being over indulgent with specified category of TV programmes.

Sir, Pls do provide us with the solutions.
Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by Alan Kumar - Sunday, 16 May 2010, 03:45 PM
  Hi sir jee,

The article is too good but Questions are tough big grin... i tried my best .

Friends please correct me if you all feel i am wrong some where.

My answers for 1st 6 Ques are:-

1. First of all i feel there is no where mentioned that sharmajis much more i is a businessman. If we are assuming sharma ji is a businessman then people may have a view that in this economy downtime, a business experience is much more needed than a political experience.
2.I agree that company are free to set their own employment policies but it may result to the resignation from the employees who give more priority to family life than professional life, which will eventually harm the nation's business.
3. if the owner of daily bagula is out of town business syndicate doent means that the don't care about people in jungle city. he might have good reporters to cover the news of jungle city.
4. Farzana may not be a strong supporter of war against crime but she might have a thinking to solve the crime issue through talks and diplomatic ways. Also, there might be other issues of higher priority to be taken care of.
5. no idea
6. one idea of revoking the driving the licenses of dropout kids if hasn't worked out doesn't means that other ways to provide incentives won't work out.

Thanks!

Alankar
Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by vinay mudgil - Monday, 17 May 2010, 05:31 PM
  Dear Abhishek,

Below are my answers (spare me for any typos) and I am looking forward for your new article.

1) Being a businessmen, Sharmaji would have all the qualities that people are looking for in a leader and having no experience in politics could be a blessing in disguise as Sharmaji would be able to look at things in an unbiased manner which might have helped Sharmaji to win the governor election.

2) To be honest, I didn't find anything to negate here. It's mere assumption or rather I can say opinion & not anything else.

3) As Daily Bagula is owned by an out-of-town business syndicate, So it could provide an unbiased views of the people of jungle city.

4) Although Senator Farzana isn't a supporter of war against crime but should it be the only criterion to make a call for or against her. I think her work for women empowerment, role in health care policy framework is commendable and should also be taken into account before making a decision.

5) The existing sailboat hulls are made of plastic and so are other materials, so this enormous amount of research (time and money wise) done by the company adds little value to the end products as material would still be the same.

6) Extraneous incentives isn't the only method that you should use to get teenagers to change their attitude toward school and schoolwork. Change of teaching methodology, getting them engaged in extra-curricular activities during the school are the ways that could be fruitful.

7) Studies show that reservation given over a period of time has shown little results in several spheres, so its highly unlikely that women reservation would help this cause.
Again suggesting other methods "women empowerment" , scholarships etc should be taken into account to weaken this premise.

8) Apart from common language, religious harmony, economic and political stability and the military power are the other factors on which a Nation's existence depend upon.

9) Town oriented growth, economic disparity between rich and poor are some of the ways which would for sure abuse civil liberty apart of what is mentioned in the statement in a much stronger way as compared to leaking of personal information.

10) Aggressive behavior could be attributed to factors like family upbringing, friends company, social atmosphere apart from just mere watching TV.
Its also mentioned that these are violent TV shows but it might be some show based on say fighting of armed forces of two nations and that could be termed as patriotic as well apart from being termed as aggressive.

Thanks,
Vinay
Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by varun agrawal - Saturday, 28 August 2010, 01:27 AM
  hello kumar sir ,

can u pls solve nd explain this set of questions i.e. attavhed with
it.

with regards,
varun
Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by Gulliver K - Monday, 25 October 2010, 03:42 PM
 

Can you post the answers pls? I cudnt figure whether machine is following a sequence of steps or considering words &numbers arrangement.

Tks.

Re: Critical Reasoning Basics- 2
by shahbaj khan - Sunday, 23 June 2013, 05:39 PM
  please help me on these question.. pls solve explain and forward me pls i need help