QUESTION TEXT: Principle: The executive in a given company…
QUESTION TYPE: Principle
Consultant has business interests AND executive salary determined by consultant ➞ executive likely overpaid
ANALYSIS: The principle is very simple, once you reduce it to conditional form. We have one set of sufficient conditions, which let us conclude the necessary condition: the executive is likely overpaid.
We can only conclude necessary conditions. You can also prove the necessary condition of the contrapositive:
Executive not likely overpaid ➞ salary not determined by consultant OR consultant had no business interests
You can never prove sufficient conditions. So it’s never possible to prove, for example, that an executive is paid fairly, since that’s not the necessary condition of this principle.
This realization about what you can and can’t prove usually lets you eliminate all but 1-2 answers on this type of principle question. Focus on necessary conditions, and you can do this type of question much faster. In this case, only B and D are possible answers, because they’re the only ones that conclude the necessary condition.
- The principle does not let us conclude that an executive is definitely overpaid. This answer starts out wrong.
- This answer starts off right. But it doesn’t mention consultants. The sufficient condition of the principle was that salary was determined by a consultant with business interests with the company.
- We can’t conclude “probably not overpaid”. We can only conclude the necessary condition of the principle, which was “probably overpaid”.
- CORRECT. This follows the principle exactly.
- We can’t conclude “not overpaid”. We can only conclude the necessary condition of the principle: “probably overpaid”.
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