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A researcher studying lawyers found that, on average,

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A researcher studying lawyers found that, on average, [#permalink] New post 22 May 2011, 11:45
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A researcher studying lawyers found that, on average, lawyers took more classes in philosophy as undergraduates than did members
of other professions. The research surmised that students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the researcher’s conclusion?

A. Many undergraduates who indicate that they intend to pursue a legal career are told by their advisers to take a philosophy course.
B. During a trial, lawyers use their knowledge of philosophical arguments to attempt to influence the jury.
C. Not all students who take philosophy classes as undergraduates become lawyers.
D. Lawyers are also more likely to have taken classes in public speaking and political science than are members of other professions.
E. The lawyers studied by the researcher indicated that taking philosophy courses gave them important insight into rhetoric and
arguments
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Lawyers and philosophy )TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 23 May 2011, 00:50
causal argument in play here.

philosophy ----. people become lawyers.

answer option doing a reversal of this will be the one.
lawyers ----> required to take philosophy.

A matches this perfectly well.
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Re: Lawyers and philosophy )TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 23 May 2011, 12:56
retro wrote:
A researcher studying lawyers found that, on average, lawyers took more classes in philosophy as undergraduates than did members
of other professions. The research surmised that students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the researcher’s conclusion?

A. Many undergraduates who indicate that they intend to pursue a legal career are told by their advisers to take a philosophy course.
B. During a trial, lawyers use their knowledge of philosophical arguments to attempt to influence the jury.
C. Not all students who take philosophy classes as undergraduates become lawyers.
D. Lawyers are also more likely to have taken classes in public speaking and political science than are members of other professions.
E. The lawyers studied by the researcher indicated that taking philosophy courses gave them important insight into rhetoric and
arguments


This question doesn't make a lot of sense. First, there's an incomplete comparison in the question: "students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers." More likely than what? That sentence could mean two different things: "students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers than are students who don't take philosophy", or "students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers than they are to become something else". If this were a Sentence Correction question, we'd need to fix that sentence.

So it isn't even clear what conclusion we're trying to weaken. Second, the question is clearly designed to test reversal of causality - the researcher concludes that philosophy courses lead people to want to become lawyers, but it's just as possible that wanting to become a lawyer leads people to take philosophy courses - but the setup is flawed. The question is based on measuring a probability: the probability that someone in a philosophy class will become a lawyer. One completely natural way to assess that probability is to consider the percentage of philosophy students who go on to become lawyers. If you look at that percentage, then it makes no difference *why* the students took philosophy. If philosophy courses are very popular among people who want to become lawyers, then naturally one would expect, choosing a random philosophy student, that it is likely he or she will become a lawyer. It's only if you measure that probability in an unnatural way that the argument suffers from a reversal of causality error. That is, it's only if the conclusion is that "if someone randomly enrolls in a philosophy course, he or she will become more likely to then pursue a legal career than if he or she did not enroll in the philosophy course" that you have the reversal of causality error that this question is getting at.

It's not a good question. Where is it from?
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Last edited by IanStewart on 24 May 2011, 03:11, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lawyers and philosophy )TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 23 May 2011, 20:17
Premise:
A researcher studying lawyers found that, on average, lawyers took more classes in philosophy as undergraduates than did members
of other professions.


Conclusion:
The research surmised that students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers.


Assumption:
More philosophy classes lead to becoming lawyer


Gap:
The writer of the argument fails to consider that students might have chosen Philosophy classes because students are advised to do so. The argument writer rather thinks that students will become lawyers because they are taking more philosophy classes.

So, if we attack the point "students will not become lawyers even though they are taking more philosophy classes", and disprove it, we will get our answer. We can disprove the argument by filling the gap.

So, the answer is option (A)
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Re: Lawyers and philosophy )TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 23 May 2011, 20:20
Everyone of you answers that the correct choice is A. But what I wanted to know is why C does not weaken the conclusion as well. C actually provides data that not all Phi students become lawyers.

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Re: Lawyers and philosophy (TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 23 May 2011, 20:22
IanStewart wrote:
retro wrote:
A researcher studying lawyers found that, on average, lawyers took more classes in philosophy as undergraduates than did members
of other professions. The research surmised that students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the researcher’s conclusion?

A. Many undergraduates who indicate that they intend to pursue a legal career are told by their advisers to take a philosophy course.
B. During a trial, lawyers use their knowledge of philosophical arguments to attempt to influence the jury.
C. Not all students who take philosophy classes as undergraduates become lawyers.
D. Lawyers are also more likely to have taken classes in public speaking and political science than are members of other professions.
E. The lawyers studied by the researcher indicated that taking philosophy courses gave them important insight into rhetoric and
arguments


This question doesn't make a lot of sense. First, there's an incomplete comparison in the question: "students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers." More likely than what? That sentence could mean two different things: "students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers than students who don't take philosophy", or "students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers than they are to become something else". If this were a Sentence Correction question, we'd need to fix that sentence.

So it isn't even clear what conclusion we're trying to weaken. Second, the question is clearly designed to test reversal of causality - the researcher concludes that philosophy courses lead people to want to become lawyers, but it's just as possible that wanting to become a lawyer leads people to take philosophy courses - but the setup is flawed. The question is based on measuring a probability: the probability that someone in a philosophy class will become a lawyer. One completely natural way to assess that probability is to consider the percentage of philosophy students who go on to become lawyers. If you look at that percentage, then it makes no difference *why* the students took philosophy. If philosophy courses are very popular among people who want to become lawyers, then naturally one would expect, choosing a random philosophy student, that it is likely he or she will become a lawyer. It's only if you measure that probability in an unnatural way that the argument suffers from a reversal of causality error. That is, it's only if the conclusion is that "if someone randomly enrolls in a philosophy course, he or she will become more likely to then pursue a legal career than if he or she did not enroll in the philosophy course" that you have the reversal of causality error that this question is getting at.

It's not a good question. Where is it from?


The question is from the GMAT Verbal workbook by TMH

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Re: Lawyers and philosophy )TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 23 May 2011, 21:34
retro wrote:
Everyone of you answers that the correct choice is A. But what I wanted to know is why C does not weaken the conclusion as well. C actually provides data that not all Phi students become lawyers.

Regards
Rahul



Option (C) doesn't weaken the argument but in fact it supports the conclusion of the author.

The author concludes that "students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers". So, in the conclusion the author is inherently saying that "some students are unlikely to become lawyers".
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Re: Lawyers and philosophy )TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 02:12
retro wrote:
A researcher studying lawyers found that, on average, lawyers took more classes in philosophy as undergraduates than did members
of other professions. The research surmised that students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers.



Conclusion: Most of the students who take philosophy class as UG's become lawyer.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the researcher’s conclusion?

A. Many undergraduates who indicate that they intend to pursue a legal career are told by their advisers to take a philosophy course.
Supports: Why most philosophy students become lawyer; because they were counseled that philosophy is kind of a necessity if a person wants to be a lawyer later.

B. During a trial, lawyers use their knowledge of philosophical arguments to attempt to influence the jury.
Out of scope. How lawyers' knowledge of philosophy can assist them in their practice.

C. Not all students who take philosophy classes as undergraduates become lawyers.
It doesn't undermine the conclusion because researcher concluded that students are likely to become lawyer. He never said all students become lawyer. Thus, this is just a restatement of conclusion.

D. Lawyers are also more likely to have taken classes in public speaking and political science than are members of other professions.
Extra information about lawyers. Out of scope.

E. The lawyers studied by the researcher indicated that taking philosophy courses gave them important insight into rhetoric and
arguments
Out of scope. Again, how lawyers' knowledge of philosophy can assist them in their law studies and profession.

Ans: None of the above.

One possible statement that could have undermined researcher's conclusion:
The number of lawyers researcher studied comprises less than 1% of people who are in that profession.
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Re: Lawyers and philosophy (TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 04:12
retro wrote:
The question is from the GMAT Verbal workbook by TMH


Yes, I saw that in the thread title, but I didn't recognize the acronym 'TMH'. Does that stand for something, or is it just a small prep company that I wouldn't likely have heard of? One or two of their questions that you posted seemed good, but this one is not.
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Re: Lawyers and philosophy )TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 04:56
TMH stands for Tata McGraw Hill.

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Re: Lawyers and philosophy )TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 05:02
fluke wrote:
retro wrote:
A researcher studying lawyers found that, on average, lawyers took more classes in philosophy as undergraduates than did members
of other professions. The research surmised that students who take philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers.



Conclusion: Most of the students who take philosophy class as UG's become lawyer.



I'd disagree with your conclusion fluke. I read the conclusion as "Students who take Philosophy classes are more likely to become lawyers". Not that "Most students who take philosophy become lawyers". I am seeing a very subtle difference.

I agree that this is a causal argument. I'd read it as follows:

The students of philosophy classes are more likely to be lawyers because they are in philosophy and because lawyers in their college days took more classes in Philosophy.

In my view, the best way to undermine the argument is to assign some other reason for philosophy students becoming lawyers. And A does that job the best. In fact, C also does the trick. My confusion was between these two choices.

Opinions?

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Re: Lawyers and philosophy )TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2011, 22:32
+1 A
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Re: Lawyers and philosophy )TMH Verbal WrkBk) [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2011, 04:20
Typical Causal argument. A it is.
Re: Lawyers and philosophy )TMH Verbal WrkBk)   [#permalink] 05 Jun 2011, 04:20
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