Study Material On Basics Of Analytical Reasoning For IBPS PO CLERK SSC CGL & ALL EXAMS By TSA 08961556195

Critical Reasoning has always remained a predominant area of all the aptitude tests across the globe. There are seven main question stems under this domain.
You might be asked to
  • Find the Assumption
  • Infer
  • Conclude
  • Strengthen the Argument
  • Weaken the Argument
  • Summarise
  • Complete the Paragraph
Starting with this article, we shall try and take these stems piecemeal, beginning with‘assumptions’.
But, before we begin handling the question stems, it is important to turn a few pages backwards, and understand some basic terms in logic.
The entire realm of logic thrives on the word Argument. An argument is NOT a verbal scuffle between persons. The normal, day-to-day connotation that we have come to attach with the term grossly misleads us into thinking that if two persons are fighting, with a heated exchange of words, they are ‘arguing’. This is sheer sacrilege!!
For example:
X: Avatar is a good film.
Y: No, it is not!
X: Yes, it is!
Y: No, it is not!

is NOT an argument. It is a small exemplary piece of communication between fools. (Ah!! And one sees so MANY of such arguments everywhere!!)
Now, compare the following with the previous:
X: Avatar is a good film.
Y: No, it is not!
X: Yes, it is! It grossed the maximum revenue ever in the history of all films.
Y: No, it is not! Revenue cannot be the single criterion to decide a film’s ‘goodness’. (Yes, there IS such a word, in case you are wondering.)
Now, THIS is classic argumentation. You see, the difference between the two exchanges is that, while the previous exchange merely lobs ‘opinions’ (read conclusions,in logic), the latter supports the conclusions with ‘reasons’ (read premises). Hence, for an argument to exist, we require a conclusion which is based upon at least one premise. Mere exchange of continual opinions CANNOT be termed argumentation.
Therefore,
Argument= Premise/s + Conclusion.
Having understood the structure of an argument, let us examine some more examples.
Argument 1.
Ravi is a good boy because he helps others.
Argument 2.
India is the best country for it is the largest democracy of the world.
Argument 3.
TG is the best educational website available because its sole focus is the welfare of students.
Understand that the non-italicised parts are conclusions, and the italicised ones are the premises.
(Exercise- Can you think of ways to undermine/strengthen the aforementioned arguments?)
These are examples of one-lined arguments. While solving questions, you will come across longer arguments.
It is easy to figure out how to separate the conclusion from the premises. When you read the statements of the argument, try to ask “why do you say so”, to the statements. For example, in A1, if we ask ‘why do you say so’ to the statement ‘Ravi is a good boy’, the latter part answers satisfactorily. Hence the statement that answers the why is the reasonor premise. Whereas, the statement to which we posed the question, becomes the conclusion. If, on the other hand, you ask the ‘why do you say so’to ‘he helps others’, the former part cannot answer.
You can do this as an exercise with longer questions. And, it is important to get this first step correct if you want to solve questions at a fast pace. I am attaching some long questions here. Try to figure out which statements are the premises, and which the conclusion. I shall help you with the first two.
Ex. 1
Mr. Janeck: I don’t believe Stevenson will win the election for governor. Few voters are willing to elect a businessman with no political experience to such a responsible public office.
Ms. Siuzdak: You’re wrong. The experience of running a major corporation is a valuable preparation for the task of running a state government.
In this conversation, Mr Janeck’s conclusion is that ‘Stevenson will not win the election’. When asked ‘why do you say so’, the latter part of her conversation provides the basis for the former opinion.
Similarly, in Ms. Siuzdak’s argument, the conclusion is that Mr. Janeck’s opinion is wrong. Her premise is stated immediately afterwards.
Ex. 2
At one time, European and Japanese companies tried to imitate their American rivals. Today, American appliance manufacturers import European scientists to lead their research staffs; American automakers design cars that mimic the styling of German, Italian, and French imports; and American electronics firms boast in their advertising of “Japanese-style” devotion to quality and reliability. In the world of high technology, America has lost the battle for international prestige.
Here, the conclusion is - In the world of high technology, America has lost the battle for international prestige. The premises stated are examples from the‘appliance’, ‘electronics’ and the ‘automakers’ sectors.
Your turn now!!
1.
Studies of fatal automobile accidents reveal that, in the majority of cases in which one occupant of an automobile is killed while another survives, it is the passenger, not the driver, who is killed. It is ironic that the innocent passenger should suffer for the driver’s carelessness, while the driver often suffers only minor injuries or none at all.
2.
The earth’s resources are being depleted much too fast. To correct this, the United States must keep its resource consumption at present levels for many years to come.
3.
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.
4.
In the years since the city of London imposed strict air-pollution regulations on local industry, the number of bird species seen in and around London has increased dramatically. Similar air-pollution rules should be imposed in other major cities.
5.
Reva: Using extraneous incentives to get teenagers to change their attitude toward school and schoolwork won’t work. Take the program in West Virginia, for instance, where they tried to reduce their dropout rate by revoking the driving licenses of kids who left school. The program failed miserably.
Anne: It’s true that the West Virginia program failed, but many schools have devised incentive programs that have been very successful in improving attendance and reducing discipline problems.
(Provide premises and conclusions from both Reva’s and Anne’s statements.)
6.
The burden of maintaining the U.S. highway system falls disproportionately on the trucking industry. Trucks represent only about 10 percent of the vehicles on U.S. roads. Yet road use taxes assessed on trucks amount to almost half the taxes paid for highway upkeep and repair.

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.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.
Courtesy:Totalgadha

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