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Philosopher: Scientists talk about the pursuit of truth,

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Philosopher: Scientists talk about the pursuit of truth, [#permalink] New post 26 Jul 2012, 11:16
00:00
A
B
C
D
E

Difficulty:

  45% (medium)

Question Stats:

44% (02:32) correct 55% (01:25) wrong based on 151 sessions
Philosopher: Scientists talk about the pursuit of truth, but, like most people, they are selfinterested.
Accordingly, the professional activities of most scientists are directed toward
personal career enhancement, and only incidentally toward the pursuit of truth. Hence, the
activities of the scientific community are largely directed toward enhancing the status of that
community as a whole, and only incidentally toward the pursuit of truth. The reasoning in
the philosopher’s argument is flawed because the argument
a) improperly infers that each and every scientist has a certain characteristic from the premise
that most scientists have that characteristic
b) improperly draws an inference about the scientific community as a whole from a premise
about individual scientists
c) presumes, without giving justification, that the aim of personal career enhancement never
advances the pursuit of truth
d) illicitly takes advantage of an ambiguity in the meaning of “self-interested”
e) improperly draws an inference about a cause from premises about its effects


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[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Philosopher: Scientists talk about the pursuit of truth, [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2013, 15:24
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This question is very classical strategy used in GMAT. It shifts the intended meaning by using "similar" words that have different meanings. Let see why.

ANALYZE THE STIMULUS:

Philosopher: Scientists talk about the pursuit of truth, but, like most people, they are self-interested.
Accordingly, the professional activities of most scientists are directed toward personal career enhancement, and only incidentally toward the pursuit of truth.
Conclusion: Hence, the activities of the scientific community are largely directed toward enhancing the status of that community as a whole, and only incidentally toward the pursuit of truth.

NOTE:
The philosopher just used scientists as an example to conclude about “scientific community”. But scientific community does not include ONLY scientists. The scientific community includes (but not limited) scientists, teachers, doctors, professors, and indeed any people who are doing scientific activities. “Scientists” is only a sub-group of “scientific community”.

ANALYZE EACH ANSWER:

a) improperly infers that each and every scientist has a certain characteristic from the premise
that most scientists have that characteristic
Wrong. It may be a true fact. But it does not provide the FALLACY in the philosopher’s argument which shifts the meaning of “scientists’ activities” to “scientific community”.

b) improperly draws an inference about the scientific community as a whole from a premise
about individual scientists
Correct. The philosopher’s fallacy is that he used only a sub-group (scientists) to make a generalization for a whole group.

c) presumes, without giving justification, that the aim of personal career enhancement never
advances the pursuit of truth
Wrong. Reverse answer. The philosopher actually presumes the aim of personal career enhancement often advances the pursuit of truth. Thus, C is not what the philosopher said. Hence, It’s wrong.

d) illicitly takes advantage of an ambiguity in the meaning of “self-interested”
Wrong. The argument does NOT discuss the DEFINITION of “self-interested”. Thus, its meaning does not make up the fallacy of the philosopher.

e) improperly draws an inference about a cause from premises about its effects
Wrong. The cause is “personal career enhancement”. The effect is “incidentally toward the pursuit of truth”. We, ourselves, don’t know the cause is proper or not, thus we can’t say that the philosopher improperly draws in inference about the cause.


TAKEAWAY:
"Similar" words may have different meanings


Hope it helps.
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Re: CR - Flaw in Argument [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2012, 17:46
"Accordingly, the professional activities of most scientists are directed toward
personal career enhancement, and only incidentally toward the pursuit of truth. Hence, the
activities of the scientific community are largely directed toward enhancing the status of that
community as a whole..."

b) improperly draws an inference about the scientific community as a whole from a premise
about individual scientists

B) doesn't make sense because paragraph talks about MOST scientists. Don't most scientist represent scientific community as a whole???

It is C for me.
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Re: CR - Flaw in Argument [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2012, 19:37
sofiak1985mailru wrote:
"Accordingly, the professional activities of most scientists are directed toward
personal career enhancement, and only incidentally toward the pursuit of truth. Hence, the
activities of the scientific community are largely directed toward enhancing the status of that
community as a whole..."

b) improperly draws an inference about the scientific community as a whole from a premise
about individual scientists

B) doesn't make sense because paragraph talks about MOST scientists. Don't most scientist represent scientific community as a whole???

It is C for me.



Sofiak

To me most scientists could range from 50.1% to 100% of scientists, therefore in only one stance could mean the scientific comunity as a whole, so it does not necessarily mean the Scientific community as a whole.
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Re: CR - Flaw in Argument [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2012, 21:07
Argument concludes that "activities of the scientific community are largely directed toward enhancing the status of that community as a whole, and only incidentally toward the pursuit of truth." in this reasoning author is assuming that since all the community is looking after the enhancement of their own status, they are not looking toward the pursuit of truth.
The Flaw is author is trying to emphasize that pursuit of truth cannot be achieved if the scientific community's status gets enhanced.

Option (C) directly brings forth this presumption, (C) puts across that reasoning in argument is nowhere perfect to claim that because scientific community is looking to enhance its own status, this act in no way bars them from working toward the pursuit of truth.
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Re: Philosopher: Scientists talk about the pursuit of truth, [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2013, 11:28
Can somebody explain why is B a better choice than C?
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Re: Philosopher: Scientists talk about the pursuit of truth, [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2013, 12:39
solerenegade wrote:
Can somebody explain why is B a better choice than C?


I believe the word never advances makes C a weak contender. Lets assume that once in a blue moon it advances, this is not a flaw. Although, i chose C but i think this might be a reason.
Experts, please response !!
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Re: Philosopher: Scientists talk about the pursuit of truth, [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2013, 19:17
Philosopher: Scientists talk about the pursuit of truth, but, like most people, they are selfinterested.
Accordingly, the professional activities of most scientists are directed toward
personal career enhancement, and only incidentally toward the pursuit of truth. Hence, the
activities of the scientific community are largely directed toward enhancing the status of that
community as a whole, and only incidentally toward the pursuit of truth. The reasoning in
the philosopher’s argument is flawed because the argument


people are selfinerested, scientists are people --> scientists are self interested
scientists are self interested --> scientists are directed toward personal career enhancement (A) and only incidentally toward the pursuit of truth (B)
scientists are A and B --> scientific community is A and B as the whole
(something wrong here)



a) improperly infers that each and every scientist has a certain characteristic from the premise
that most scientists have that characteristic
the argument is about the scientist community as the whole rather than each and every scientist

b) improperly draws an inference about the scientific community as a whole from a premise
about individual scientists
correct.


c) presumes, without giving justification, that the aim of personal career enhancement never
advances the pursuit of truth
the author does not clearly state that the aim of personal career enhancement NEVER
advances the pursuit of truth



d) illicitly takes advantage of an ambiguity in the meaning of “self-interested”
its one of the flaws of the argument, but not a serious flaw

e) improperly draws an inference about a cause from premises about its effects
not clear


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Re: Philosopher: Scientists talk about the pursuit of truth,   [#permalink] 21 Aug 2013, 19:17
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