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Critical Reasoning - Boldface Questions of Critical Reasoning - II Module

Here are the ten official questions which are discussed in detail in the Critical Reasoning - II module at the end of the Boldface Questions section. Shout out in the comments section if you have any doubts in the explanations.

 

Boldface Question No. 1

 

Astronomer: Observations of the Shoemaker-Levi comet on its collision course with Jupiter showed that the comet broke into fragments before entering Jupiter’s atmosphere in 1994, but they did not show how big those fragments were. Nevertheless, some indication of their size can be inferred from spectrographic analyses of Jupiter’s outer atmosphere. After the fragments’ entry, these analyses revealed unprecedented traces of sulfur. The fragments themselves almost certainly contained no sulfur, but astronomers believe that the cloud layer below Jupiter’s outer atmosphere does contain sulfur. Since sulfur would have seeped into the outer atmosphere if comet fragments had penetrated this cloud layer, it is likely that some of the fragments were at least large enough to have passed through Jupiter’s outer atmosphere without being burned up.

 

In the astronomer’s argument, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

 

(A) The first is a claim that the astronomer seeks to show is true; the second acknowledges a consideration that weighs against the truth of that claim.

 

(B) The first is a claim that the astronomer seeks to show is true; the second provides evidence in support of the truth of that claim.

 

(C) The first and the second are each consideration advanced in support of the conclusion of the argument.

 

(D) The first provides evidence in support of the conclusion of the argument; the second is that conclusion.

 

(E) The first is a circumstance for which the astronomer seeks to provide an explanation; the second acknowledges a consideration that weighs against the explanation provided by the astronomer.

 

Boldface Question No. 2

 

One of the limiting factors in human physical performance is the amount of oxygen that is absorbed by the muscles from the bloodstream. Accordingly, entrepreneurs have begun selling at gymnasiums and health clubs bottles of drinking water, labeled “SuperOXY,” that has extra oxygen dissolved in the water. Such water would be useless in improving physical performance, however, since the only way to get oxygen into the bloodstream so that it can be absorbed by the muscles is through the lungs.

 

Which of the following, if true, would serve the same function in the argument as the statement in boldface?

 

(A) the water lost in exercising can be replaced with ordinary tap water

 

(B) the amount of oxygen in the blood of people who are exercising is already more than the muscle can absorb

 

(C) world-class athletes turn in record performance without such water

 

(D) frequent physical exercise increases the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen

 

(E) lack of oxygen is not the only factor limiting human physical performance

 

Boldface Question No. 3

 

Delta products, Inc., has recently switched at least partly from older technologies using fossil fuels to new technologies powered by electricity. The question has been raised whether it can be concluded that for a given level of output, Delta's operation now causes less fossil fuel to be consumed than it did formerly. The answer, clearly, is yes, since the amount of fossil fuel used to generate the electricity needed to power the new technologies is less than the amount needed to power the older technologies, provided that the level of output is held constant.

 

In the argument given, the two boldface portions play which of the following roles?

 

(A) The first identifies the content of the conclusion of the argument; the second provides support for that conclusion.

 

(B) The first provides support for the conclusion of the argument; the second identifies the content of that conclusion.

 

(C) The first states the position that the argument opposes; the second states the conclusion of the argument.

 

(D) Each provides evidence that calls the conclusion of the argument into question.

 

(E) Each provides support for the conclusion of the argument.

 

Boldface Question No. 4

 

During the past year, Pro-Tect Insurance Company’s total payouts on car-theft claims were larger than the company can afford to sustain. Pro-Tect cannot reduce the number of car-theft policies it carries, so cannot protect itself against continued large payouts that way. Therefore, Pro-Tect has decided to offer a discount to holders of car-theft policies whose cars have antitheft devices. Many policyholders will respond to the discount by installing antitheft devices, since the amount of the discount will within two years typically more than cover the cost of installation. Thus, because cars with antitheft devices are rarely stolen, Pro-Tect’s plan is likely to reduce its annual payouts.

 

In the argument above, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

 

(A) The first rules out a certain strategy for achieving a goal; the second presents the strategy that was adopted instead and whose effectiveness the argument assesses.

 

(B) The first is a judgment made in support of a certain conclusion; the second is that conclusion.

 

(C) The first has been used as a consideration to support adopting a certain strategy for achieving a goal; the second reports a decision to adopt an alternative strategy.

 

(D) The first provides evidence in favor of adopting a certain strategy for achieving a goal; the second reports a decision to pursue an alternative goal.

 

(E) The first is a consideration offered against adopting a certain strategy for achieving a goal; the second is the main conclusion that the argument is seeking to establish.

 

Boldface Question No. 5

 

A product that represents a clear technological advance over competing products can generally command a high price. Surprisingly, perhaps, the strategy to maximize overall profits from a new product is to charge less than the maximum price the market will bear. Many companies charge the maximum possible price for such a product, because they want to make as much profit as they can as technological advances tend to be quickly surpassed. The drawback is that large profits on the new product give competitors an incentive to quickly develop a product to match the rival product's capabilities.

 

In the argument above, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

 

(A) The first is the position that the argument advocates; the second presents grounds for rejecting an alternate position.

 

(B) The first is the position that the argument advocates; the second is an alternative position that the argument rejects.

 

(C) The first presents a strategy for achieving a certain goal, the second presents a drawback to that strategy.

 

(D) The first presents a strategy for achieving a certain goal, the second presents grounds for preferring a different goal.

 

(E) The first presents a strategy that, according to the argument, is ineffective; the second presents a way of improving the effectiveness of that strategy.

 

Boldface Question No. 6

 

Consumer advocate: It is generally true, at least in this state, that lawyers who advertise a specific service charge less for that service than lawyers who do not advertise. It is also true that each time restrictions on the advertising of legal services have been eliminated, the number of lawyers advertising their services has increased and legal costs to consumers have declined in consequence. However, eliminating the state requirement that legal advertisements must specify fees for specific services would almost certainly increase rather than further reduce consumer’s legal costs. Lawyers would no longer have an incentive to lower their fees when they begin advertising and if no longer required to specify fee arrangements, many lawyers who now advertise would increase their fees.

 

In the consumer advocate’s argument, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

 

(A) The first is a generalization that the consumer advocate accepts as true; the second is presented as a consequence that follows from the truth of that generalization.

 

(B) The first is a pattern of cause and effect that the consumer advocate argues will be repeated in the case at issue; the second acknowledges a circumstance in which that pattern would not hold.

 

(C) The first is pattern of cause and effect that the consumer advocate predicts will not hold in the case at issue; the second offers a consideration in support of that prediction.

 

(D) The first is evidence that the consumer advocate offers in support of a certain prediction; the second is that prediction.

 

(E) The first acknowledges a consideration that weighs against the main position that the consumer advocate defends; the second is that position.

 

Boldface Question No. 7

 

Several of a certain bank's top executives have recently been purchasing shares in their own bank. This activity has occasioned some surprise, since it is widely believed that the bank, carrying a large number of bad loans, is on the brink of collapse. Since the executives are well placed to know their bank's true condition, it might seem that their share purchases show that the danger of collapse is exaggerated. However, the available information about the bank's condition is from reliable and informed sources, and corporate executives do sometimes buy shares in their own company in a calculated attempt to calm worries about their company's condition. On balance, therefore, it is likely that the executives of the bank are following this example. 

 

In the argument given, the two boldfaced portions play which of the following roles? 

 

(A) The first describes the circumstance the explanation of which is the issue that the argument addresses; the second states the main conclusion of the argument. 

 

(B) The first describes the circumstance the explanation of which is the issue the argument addresses; the second states a conclusion that is drawn in order to support the main conclusion of the argument. 

 

(C) The first provides evidence to defend the position that the argument seeks to establish against opposing positions; the second states the main conclusion of the argument. 

 

(D) The first provides evidence to support the position that the argument seeks to establish; the second states a conclusion that is drawn in order to support the argument’s main conclusion. 

 

(E) Each provides evidence to support the position that the argument seeks to establish.

 

Boldface Question No. 8

 

Scientists typically do their most creative work before the age of forty. It is commonly thought that this happens because aging by itself brings about a loss of creative capacity. However, studies show that a disproportionately large number of the scientists who produce highly creative work beyond the age of forty entered their field at an older age than is usual. Since by the age of forty the large majority of scientists have been working in their field for at least fifteen years, the studies’ finding strongly suggests that the real reason why scientists over forty rarely produce highly creative work is not that they have simply aged but rather that they generally have spent too long in a given field.

 

In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

 

(A) The first is the position that the argument as a whole opposes; the second is an objection that has been raised against a position defended in the argument.

 

(B) The first is a claim that has been advanced in support of a position that the argument opposes; the second is a finding that has been used in support of that position.

 

(C) The first is an explanation that the argument challenges; the second is a finding that has been used in support of that explanation.

 

(D) The first is an explanation that the argument challenges; the second is a finding on which that challenge is based.

 

(E) The first is an explanation that the argument defends; the second is a finding that has been used to challenge that explanation.

 

Boldface Question No. 9

 

Many winemakers use cork stoppers; but cork stoppers can leak, crumble, or become moldy, so that those winemakers must often discard a significant proportion of their inventory of bottled wine. Bottlemaster plastic stoppers, which cannot leak, crumble, or mold, have long been available to winemakers, at a price slightly higher than that of traditional cork stoppers. Cork prices, however, are expected to rise dramatically in the near future. Clearly, therefore, winemakers who still use cork but wish to keep production costs from rising will be forced to reconsider plastic stoppers. And since the wine-buying public’s association of plastic stoppers with poor-quality wine is weakening, there is an excellent chance that the Bottlemaster plastic stopper will gain an increased share of the market for wine-bottle stoppers.

 

In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

 

(A) The first is a judgment that has been advanced in support of a position that the argument opposes; the second is the main conclusion of the argument.

 

(B) The first is a judgment that has been advanced in support of a position that the argument opposes; the second is a conclusion drawn in order to support the main conclusion of the argument.

 

(C) The first is the main conclusion of the argument; the second provides evidence in support of that main conclusion.

 

(D) The first is the main conclusion of the argument; the second is a restatement of that main conclusion.

 

(E) The first is a conclusion drawn in order to support the main conclusion of the argument; the second is that main conclusion.

 

Boldface Question No. 10

 

As a large corporation in a small country, Hachnut wants its managers to have international experience, so each year it sponsors management education abroad for its management trainees. Hachnut has found, however, that the attrition rate of graduates from this program is very high, with many of them leaving Hachnut to join competing firms soon after completing the program. Hachnut does use performance during the program as a criterion in deciding among candidates for management positions, but both this function and the goal of providing international experience could be achieved in other ways. Therefore, if the attrition problem cannot be successfully addressed, Hachnut should discontinue the sponsorship program.

 

In the argument given, the two boldfaced portions play which of the following roles?

 

(A) The first describes a practice that the argument seeks to justify; the second states a judgment that is used in support of a justification for that practice.

 

(B) The first describes a practice that the argument seeks to explain; the second presents part of the argument’s explanation of that practice.

 

(C) The first introduces a practice that the argument seeks to evaluate; the second provides grounds for holding that the practice cannot achieve its objective.

 

(D) The first introduces a policy that the argument seeks to evaluate; the second provides grounds for holding that the policy is not needed.

 

(E) The first introduces a consideration supporting a policy that the argument seeks to evaluate; the second provides evidence for concluding that the policy should be abandoned. 

 

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