QUESTION TEXT: The recent concert was probably not properly…
QUESTION TYPE: Parallel Reasoning
CONCLUSION: The concert probably had bad promotion.
REASONING: Wells is an expert on concerts. Wells thought the concert would sell out unless the promotion wasn’t good. The concert didn’t sell out.
ANALYSIS: This is a good argument. It’s an example of how to properly cite a relevant authority.
Wells gives the following conditional statement:
sell out –> Poorly promoted
We have the sufficient condition – the concert didn’t sell out. So according to Wells, the concert must have been poorly promoted.
The conclusion only says the concert “probably” was poorly promoted. Why? Wells is an expert, so we can say his opinion is worth something. But it’s also not certain Wells is right. So we have some reason for believing there was poor promotion, but also room for doubt. Therefore, the argument says: probably.
To match this argument, look for:
- A conditional statement from a qualified expert.
- The sufficient condition of the conditional.
- A conclusion that says “probably” or a synonym.
Parallel reasoning questions are long. You must learn how to skim the answers. Using the three elements above, you can soft eliminate several wrong answers. If an answer deviates from the script, it’s almost certainly not correct.
I say “soft eliminate” because it’s easy to make a mistake. You don’t want to say an answer is certainly wrong. And if you’re not sure an answer is disqualified, don’t eliminate it. But on your first pass, focus on taking answers out of the running using the list above.
- Dr. Smith, the heart surgeon, didn’t give a conditional statement. They said the patient would “probably” survive. That’s a “most” statement.
In the stimulus, Wells said the concert would definitely sell out if the promotion were good. Only the conclusion said “probably”.
- Professor Willis didn’t give a conditional. She just said “probably”. This doesn’t match the stimulus: Wells gave a condition statement, and only the conclusion said probably.
- CORRECT. This matches exactly. Expert says:
The argument gives the sufficient condition (damage) and concludes that the necessary condition “probably” occurred. This shows we should trust the expert to some degree, but not take their word as gospel.
- This answer concludes that the expert builder is wrong. But in the stimulus, the author thinks Wells is right!
- This answer gets the conditional backwards. The evidence is: properly conducted –> lead. The argument goes backwards, incorrectly, from finding lead to properly conducted. It’s possible lead was found even though the tests were botched.
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