2 ways to Weaken an Argument? : GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR)
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# 2 ways to Weaken an Argument?

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Manager
Status: Trying to get into the illustrious 700 club!
Joined: 18 Oct 2010
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Kudos [?]: 23 [0], given: 58

2 ways to Weaken an Argument? [#permalink]

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08 Apr 2011, 10:55
I did a search but could not find the answer so I am sorry if this is a repeat.

I am trying to weaken critical reasoning problems and my primary strategy is basically taking the conclusion and finding an alternative method.

I think I read somewhere that you can attack a premise to weaken it but I'm not sure where I read that or if that is even true. Can someone please help me?
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I'm trying to not just answer the problem but to explain how I came up with my answer. If I am incorrect or you have a better method please PM me your thoughts. Thanks!

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Director
Status: Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. It's a dare. Impossible is nothing.
Affiliations: University of Chicago Booth School of Business
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Re: 2 ways to Weaken an Argument? [#permalink]

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08 Apr 2011, 22:30
1
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There are more ways to weaken the conclusion - here are some of the thoughts

1. Find the alternate cause / alternate path to the conclusion

2. Find the way to reverse the cause and effect - this is also called reverse causal hypothesis

3. Find a way to demonstrate that the effect exists before the cause

4. Find a way to exemplify that the conclusion is extreme and is based on leap of faith

5. Find a reason to demonstrate that the sample used in the study is not representative of the population. Hence the conclusion is based on unrepresentative data.

6. Find a reason that the conclusion is confusing correlation with cause and effect. Hence the conclusion should be inferring just correlation not causation.

7. Find a reason that conclusion is confusing the necessary condition with the sufficient condition. Say that "necessary" premise is not sufficient to bring about the effect and hence the conclusion is unwarranted

8. Find a reason to state that the conclusion is based on the "old" trend and old customs of doing the things. Hence the conclusion is obsolete / no more valid.
Manager
Status: Trying to get into the illustrious 700 club!
Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 79
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Kudos [?]: 23 [0], given: 58

Re: 2 ways to Weaken an Argument? [#permalink]

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09 Apr 2011, 06:15
gmat1220 wrote:
There are more ways to weaken the conclusion - here are some of the thoughts

1. Find the alternate cause / alternate path to the conclusion

2. Find the way to reverse the cause and effect - this is also called reverse causal hypothesis

3. Find a way to demonstrate that the effect exists before the cause

4. Find a way to exemplify that the conclusion is extreme and is based on leap of faith

5. Find a reason to demonstrate that the sample used in the study is not representative of the population. Hence the conclusion is based on unrepresentative data.

6. Find a reason that the conclusion is confusing correlation with cause and effect. Hence the conclusion should be inferring just correlation not causation.

7. Find a reason that conclusion is confusing the necessary condition with the sufficient condition. Say that "necessary" premise is not sufficient to bring about the effect and hence the conclusion is unwarranted

8. Find a reason to state that the conclusion is based on the "old" trend and old customs of doing the things. Hence the conclusion is obsolete / no more valid.

For #5 I thought on the GMAT a sample is always representative of the whole. Your thoughts?
_________________

I'm trying to not just answer the problem but to explain how I came up with my answer. If I am incorrect or you have a better method please PM me your thoughts. Thanks!

Director
Status: Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. It's a dare. Impossible is nothing.
Affiliations: University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 920
Followers: 14

Kudos [?]: 341 [0], given: 123

Re: 2 ways to Weaken an Argument? [#permalink]

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09 Apr 2011, 15:52
Not necessarily ! It depends on the question type - if its a strengthen question, you will like to support the study and find reasons for the sample to be representative. On the other hand, if you want to weaken, you may want to cast doubt on the method i.e. study sample used to reach the conclusion. In any case never touch the premise since the validity of the premise is beyond our reproach. Argument rests on the assumptions and that should be the focus of recoup or debacle.
Manager
Status: Trying to get into the illustrious 700 club!
Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 79
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Kudos [?]: 23 [0], given: 58

Re: 2 ways to Weaken an Argument? [#permalink]

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09 Apr 2011, 16:39
gmat1220 wrote:
Not necessarily ! It depends on the question type - if its a strengthen question, you will like to support the study and find reasons for the sample to be representative. On the other hand, if you want to weaken, you may want to cast doubt on the method i.e. study sample used to reach the conclusion. In any case never touch the premise since the validity of the premise is beyond our reproach. Argument rests on the assumptions and that should be the focus of recoup or debacle.

Your explanation cleared up A LOT of things. Thank you so much for your time.
_________________

I'm trying to not just answer the problem but to explain how I came up with my answer. If I am incorrect or you have a better method please PM me your thoughts. Thanks!

Re: 2 ways to Weaken an Argument?   [#permalink] 09 Apr 2011, 16:39
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