Critical Reasoning is an extremely important part of many competitive exams. Before discussing advanced questions, review the basic terms.
Facts + Assumptions = conclusion
This equation is the bedrock of critical reasoning.
Facts or premises: a premised or fact is a stated evidence that supports the conclusion.
Assumption: an unstated / hidden fact which supports the conclusion.
Conclusion: the conclusion is the main point of an argument, and it is based on facts.
Mimic the Reasoning Question
‘Mimic the reasoning’ is one of the important types of questions. In this one is supposed to pick the choice, which is same as the flow/logic of the reasoning in the question. Now let’s look at this question, and learn how to solve it.
Let us try to understand this by an example given below:
Some political observers believe that the only reason members of the state’s largest union supported Senator Hughes in his recent re-election campaign was that the union’s leaders must have been assured by Hughes that, if elected, he would stay out of their coming negotiations with the union’s national leadership, whose members have been financial backers of several close associates of Hughes. More likely, the union’s members believed that Hughes deserved to serve another term in office.
Which of the following best parallels the method of argument used by the author?
- The popularity of Deap, a powerful carpet cleaning system that can be used by the homeowner is, some industry observers say, due to an agreement made by a leading professional carpet cleaning company to supply Deap with the chemicals that are sold as accessories. This does not, however, fully explain the sudden popularity of the product in the last three months.
- After a rocky start, Shade, a new cosmetics line, is now selling briskly. The reason for the turnaround is almost certainly that Shade is now being marketed to women in their twenties, not just to teens. This has helped the product achieve a more sophisticated appeal, which has translated into greater sales in every age group.
- The Shakelight, a small flashlight that can be powered for several minutes by a shaking motion, has once again proven a popular gift item this holiday season. Other similar devices are available, but none has been as successful, and the reason is simple: the cost of The Shakelight has fluctuated so that it has always been at least one dollar less than that of any competitor. The manufacturers’ claim that they have a better product is nonsense.
- The continued success of the Daddo line of toys is due to the simple appeal that these toys have for kids between three years of age and six. Others disagree. One industry journal ascribed the brand’s popularity to a deal made with a major toy retailer guaranteeing that the retailer would carry the coming line of Daddo products exclusively for three months.
- As with last year, this year’s best selling foreign policy journal is World Opinion. It may be that the content in World Opinion is simply more exhaustive and better presented than that of similar publications, or it may be that the journal’s publishers have the substantial support of their parent company, which has been a good friend to bookstores and other outlets.
Critical Reasoning: Concepts & Practice
One of the uncontestable issues with a question like this is that it’s very long. A quick word count reveals that this question is over 400 words, but thankfully we’re skimming the answer choices looking for a match to the original argument. The passage states that there are two potential reasons for the re-election of a certain Senator, one that’s more conspiracy-oriented and one that’s more straightforward (we may want Occam’s Razor for this). We must now peruse the other answer choices looking for a similar pattern of reasoning.
Answer choice A only gives one explanation and then elaborates on how this may not actually be correct because it doesn’t explain everything. No alternative is given. The logic is not the same and therefore this choice can be eliminated.
Answer choice B similarly gives one explanation and then defends it as the only plausible choice. While this is a reasonable logic to follow, it does not mimic that of the passage.
Answer choice C is a little closer. The Shakelight is known to be a popular gift, and there is one reason given. Another possible reason is mentioned, but ignored out of hand because it is preposterous. This choice at least presents the illusion of two possibilities, even if one of them is never seriously considered. The logic is not the same as the original passage, but it is closer than the two previous choices.
Answer choice D is essentially the same logic as that of the passage. Two possible choices are given, and one is more likely than the other. Both choices are considered, even if one choice is given more credence. This is a good match to the original passage and answer choice D is the correct answer.
For completion’s sake, let’s also look at answer choice E. This logic is not that far from the original, but it is in the opposite direction from answer choice C. Two possibilities are given, but neither one is decreed to be more likely than the other. This logic is again similar to the original passage, but not exactly the same.
This question somewhat mirrors the goldilocks parable. Answer choice E postulates that either possibility could be good (too big), while answer choice C completely disregards the second option (too small). Only answer choice D (just right) correctly mirrors the logic in the original passage, albeit in a different order.
It is important to be able to see the logic in the statements, even if it’s presented in a different order than you’re used to. The exam rewards those test takers who demonstrate mental agility and can correctly decode order from the chaos.
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