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A "scientistic" view of language was dominant among philosophers and

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A "scientistic" view of language was dominant among philosophers and  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 11 Oct 2019, 08:05
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 383, Date: 11-Oct-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Kudos for the right solution and explanations

A "scientistic" view of language was dominant among philosophers and linguists who affected to develop a scientific analysis of human thought and behavior in the early part of this century. Under the force of this view, it was perhaps inevitable that the art of rhetoric should pass from the status of being regarded as of questionable worth (because although it might be both a source of pleasure and a means to urge people to right action, it might also be a means to distort truth and a source of misguided action) to the status of being wholly condemned. If people are regarded only as machines guided by logic, as they were by these "scientistic" thinkers, rhetoric is likely to be held in low regard; for the most obvious truth about rhetoric is that it speaks to the whole person. It presents its arguments first to the person as a rational being, because persuasive discourse, if honestly conceived, always has a basis in reasoning. Logical argument is the plot, as it were, of any speech or essay that is respectfully intended to persuade people. Yet it is a characterizing feature of rhetoric that it goes beyond this and appeals to the parts of our nature that are involved in feeling, desiring, acting, and suffering. It recalls relevant instances of the emotional reactions of people to circumstances-real or fictional-that are similar to our own circumstances. Such is the purpose of both historical accounts and fables in persuasive discourse: they indicate literally or symbolically how people may react emotionally, with hope or fear, to particular circumstances. A speech attempting to persuade people can achieve little unless it takes into account the aspect of their being related to such hopes and fears.

Rhetoric, then, is addressed to human beings living at particular times and in particular places. From the point of view of rhetoric, we are not merely logical thinking machines, creatures abstracted from time and space. The study of rhetoric should therefore be considered the most humanistic of the humanities, since rhetoric is not directed only to our rational selves. It takes into account what the "scientistic" view leaves out.If it is a weakness to harbor feelings, then rhetoric may be thought of as dealing in weakness. But those who reject the idea of rhetoric because they believe it deals in lies and who at the same time hope to move people to action, must either be liars themselves or be very naive; pure logic has never been a motivating force unless it has been subordinated to human purposes, feelings, and desires, and thereby ceased to be pure logic.

Spoiler: :: OA
B

1) According to the passage, to reject rhetoric and still hope to persuade people is

A. an aim of most speakers and writers
B. an indication either of dishonesty or of credulity
C. a way of displaying distrust of the audience's motives
D. a characteristic of most humanistic discourse
E. a way of avoiding excessively abstract reasoning


Spoiler: :: OA
B

2) It can be inferred from the passage that in the late nineteenth century rhetoric was regarded as

A. the only necessary element of persuasive discourse
B. a dubious art in at least two ways
C. an outmoded and tedious amplification of logic
D. an open offense to the rational mind
E. the most important of the humanistic studies


Spoiler: :: OA
E

3) The passage suggests that the disparagement of rhetoric by some people can be traced to their

A. reaction against science
B. lack of training in logic
C. desire to persuade people as completely as possible
D. misunderstanding of the use of the term "scientistic"
E. view of human motivation


Spoiler: :: OA
C

4) The passage suggests that a speech that attempts to persuade people to act is likely to fail if it does NOT

A. distort the truth a little to make it more acceptable to the audience
B. appeal to the self-interest as well as the humanitarianism of the audience
C. address listeners' emotions as well as their intellects
D. concede the logic of other points of view
E. show how an immediately desirable action is consistent with timeless principles


Spoiler: :: OA
A

5) The passage suggests that to consider people as "thinking machines" is to consider them as

A. beings separated from a historical context
B. replaceable parts of a larger social machine
C. more complex than other animals
D. liars rather than honest people
E. infallible in their reasoning


Spoiler: :: OA
A

6) Which of the following persuasive devices is NOT used in the passage?

A. A sample of an actual speech delivered by an orator
B. The contrast of different points of view
C. The repetition of key ideas and expressions
D. An analogy that seeks to explain logical argument
E. Evaluative or judgmental words


Spoiler: :: OA
B

7) Which of the following best states the author's main point about logical argument?

A. It is a sterile, abstract discipline, of little use in real life.
B. It is an essential element of persuasive discourse, but only one such element.
C. It is an important means of persuading people to act against their desires.
D. It is the lowest order of discourse because it is the least imaginative.
E. It is essential to persuasive discourse because it deals with universal truths.


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Originally posted by carcass on 08 Oct 2019, 10:21.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 11 Oct 2019, 08:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A "scientistic" view of language was dominant among philosophers and  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Feb 2020, 21:32
Just need help on q2 & q7, can someone explain?
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Re: A "scientistic" view of language was dominant among philosophers and  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2020, 00:21
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lehieu30794 wrote:
Just need help on q2 & q7, can someone explain?


2) It can be inferred from the passage that in the late nineteenth century rhetoric was regarded as

When the passage states "A "scientistic" view of language was dominant among philosophers and linguists who affected to develop a scientific analysis of human thought and behavior in the early part of this century", I am assuming "this century" to mean the twentieth century. Else there is no way to bring in a reference to rhetoric in the nineteenth century as required by the question. An actual passage on the GMAT would make this clear.

With this assumption, we know the existing belief about rhetoric in the early 20th century was:

a) it might be both a source of pleasure and a means to urge people to right action
b) it might also be a means to distort truth and a source of misguided action

Given no information to the contrary, we may reasonably assume that this view existed in the late 19th century as well.


A. the only necessary element of persuasive discourse Not supported by (a) or (b). Eliminate.

B. a dubious art in at least two ways Correct. Supported by (b).

C. an outmoded and tedious amplification of logic Not supported by (a) or (b). Eliminate.

D. an open offense to the rational mind Not supported by (a) or (b). Eliminate.

E. the most important of the humanistic studies Not supported by (a) or (b). Eliminate.

7) Which of the following best states the author's main point about logical argument?

The author in this passage works hard to bring out the necessity of using rhetoric in any persuasive discourse to appeal to the emotions of people. We can also note that nowhere does the author reject the use of logical argument, he/she merely states that it is insufficient by itself to persuade anyone.

A. It is a sterile, abstract discipline, of little use in real life. The author does not dismiss logical argument. Eliminate.

B. It is an essential element of persuasive discourse, but only one such element. Correct. Consistent with our thinking above.

C. It is an important means of persuading people to act against their desires. The passage does not say logical argument can make people act against their desires. Eliminate.

D. It is the lowest order of discourse because it is the least imaginative. The author does not dismiss logical argument. Eliminate.

E. It is essential to persuasive discourse because it deals with universal truths. The passage does not speak about universal truths. Eliminate.

Hope this helps.
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Re: A "scientistic" view of language was dominant among philosophers and   [#permalink] 20 Feb 2020, 00:21
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