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The public in the United States has in the past been

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The public in the United States has in the past been [#permalink] New post 12 Jan 2012, 19:37
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64% (02:20) correct 36% (01:33) wrong based on 14 sessions
The public in the United States has in the past been conditioned to support a substantial defense budget by the threat of confrontation with the Eastern bloc. Now that that threat is dissolving, along with the Eastern bloc itself, it is doubtful whether the public can be persuaded to support an adequate defense budget.
Which one of the following indicates a weakness in the position expressed above?
(A) It presupposes that public opinion can be manipulated indefinitely, without the public’s becoming aware of that manipulation.
(B) It refers to past and present events that do not have a causal connection with public support of the budget.
(C) It assumes as fact what it seeks to establish by reasoning.
(D) It fails to give any reason for the judgment it reaches.
(E) It hinges on the term “adequate,” the precise meaning of which requires reevaluation in the new context.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Flaw in the reasoning [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2012, 02:39
+1 E
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Re: Flaw in the reasoning [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2012, 08:01
Posting the answer never helps anybody. Please post your reasoning behind it.
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Re: Flaw in the reasoning [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2012, 15:23
+1 E
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Re: Flaw in the reasoning [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2012, 11:15
Expert's post
First off, I think it is important to note that the “flavor” of this question is slightly different from what you’ll see on the GMAT. Notice that the answer choices speak very abstractly about the prompt.

For instance, (C) and (D) challenge the argument at a general level, alluding to anything specific in the prompt. It turns out that the answer (E), only references two words from the entire prompt. That is not to say this question is unhelpful – you must still use critical reasoning skills.


(A) INCORRECT The word ‘condition’ suggests that the ‘public’s opinion’ is being manipulated. However, the prompt mentions that “it is doubtful whether the public can be persuaded,” which implies that the public cannot be manipulated/conditioned in its opinion of defense budget spending.
(B) INCORRECT The past and present events, which refers to the diminished threat from the Eastern bloc, does have a causal connection.
(C) INCORRECT The argument seeks to prove that is doubtful whether the public will support an adequate budget. The argument states that “it is doubtful”, showing that it does not assume as fact that the public will not support adequate spending on defense.
(D) INCORRECT The argument clearly gives a reason for the public’s unwillingness to support defense spending – diminished threat from the Eastern bloc.
(E) CORRECT The prompt argues the threat from the Eastern bloc led to the public’s support of a substantial defense budget. With the threat gone, the public is no longer willing to support an adequate defense budget.

Notice how the argument switches out ‘substantial’ and ‘adequate.’ The two words are very different, so it does not follow that if the public is unwilling to spend, say 10 billion a year (a substantial amount) on a defense budget, that it is unwilling to spend two billion (an adequate amount).

The wording “reevaluation in a new context” refers to the change in threat from the Eastern bloc.

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Re: Flaw in the reasoning   [#permalink] 16 Jan 2012, 11:15
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