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Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quali

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Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quali [#permalink]

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New post 09 Feb 2015, 09:38
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60% (01:20) correct 40% (01:42) wrong based on 431 sessions

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Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality. The most compelling piece of evidence for this are those few of the numerous articles submitted by Cotrell that are superior, since Cotrell, who is incapable of writing an article that is better than average, must obviously have plagiarized superior ones.

The argument is most vulnerable to criticism on which one of the following grounds?

(A) It simply ignores the existence of potential counterevidence.
(B) It generalizes from atypical occurrences.
(C) It presupposes what it seeks to establish
(D) It relies on the judgement of experts in a matter to which their expertise is irrelevant
(E) It infers limits on ability from a few isolated lapses in performance

Source : PowerScore CR Bible

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Re: Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quali [#permalink]

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New post 09 Feb 2015, 13:09
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Cottrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality. The most compelling piece of evidence for this are those few of the numerous articles submitted by Cotrell that are superior, since Cotrell, who is incapable of writing an article that is better than average, must obviously have plagiarized superior ones.

Well, clearly the author already assumes in the first line that Cottrell is capable of only writing average quality articles. This is the same thing which he is trying to establish by providing some evidence however his evidence is not solid because his evidence is based on his already made-up mind or his supposition about Cottrell being able to write only average quality articles.

(A) It simply ignores the existence of potential counterevidence. - There is no denying or ignoring of any counter-evidence as such.
(B) It generalizes from atypical occurrences. - We may feel that author did generalize however he did not generalize by mentioning some specific occurence. Infact he mentioned that whatever good quality articles Cottrell has written, must have been copied....so the author kind of says that the opposite of what he generalizes is true because of what he already believes in (that Cottrell is an average writer)
(C) It presupposes what it seeks to establish - Bingo! As soon as you read C, you realize that it hits the nail on the head
(D) It relies on the judgement of experts in a matter to which their expertise is irrelevant - No such mention
(E) It infers limits on ability from a few isolated lapses in performance - Not even close

Hence C it is!
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Re: Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quali [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2016, 22:47
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Re: Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quali [#permalink]

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BrainLab wrote:
Cottrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality. The most compelling piece of evidence for this are those few of the numerous articles submitted by Cotrell that are superior, since Cotrell, who is incapable of writing an article that is better than average, must obviously have plagiarized superior ones.

The argument is most vulnerable to criticism on which one of the following grounds?


(A) It simply ignores the existence of potential counterevidence.
(B) It generalizes from atypical occurrences.
(C) It presupposes what it seeks to establish
(D) It relies on the judgement of experts in a matter to which their expertise is irrelevant
(E) It infers limits on ability from a few isolated lapses in performance

Source; PowerScore CR Bible



The first line of the premise says that "Cottrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality" Hence it assumes this judgement upfront and then gives evidence to prove this judgement.

On looking at the options, only Option C says this. Hence the correct option.
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Re: Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quali [#permalink]

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New post 25 Apr 2017, 07:12
BrainLab wrote:
Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality. The most compelling piece of evidence for this are those few of the numerous articles submitted by Cotrell that are superior, since Cotrell, who is incapable of writing an article that is better than average, must obviously have plagiarized superior ones.

The argument is most vulnerable to criticism on which one of the following grounds?

(A) It simply ignores the existence of potential counterevidence.
(B) It generalizes from atypical occurrences.
(C) It presupposes what it seeks to establish
(D) It relies on the judgement of experts in a matter to which their expertise is irrelevant
(E) It infers limits on ability from a few isolated lapses in performance

Source : PowerScore CR Bible


Quote:
Logical Flaw

Circular reasoning is at work when the evidence and conclusion are functionally identical.

References to circular arguments, those that “presuppose what they seek to establish,” are usually made in LSAT wrong answers, but once in a while a genuinely circular argument comes along. This argument assumes that Cotrell is a lousy writer in order to prove that he’s a lousy writer, and that’s what circular reasoning, choice (C), is. The author provides no independent evidence whatsoever as to the quality of Cotrell’s writing. Indeed, there is actually counterevidence—the “superior” articles—that Cotrell is better than the author gives him credit for, but the author blithely ascribes them to someone else, again with no independent support.

(A) is a popular wrong answer, but since the author explicitly acknowledges that the counterevidence of the superior Cotrell articles exists, he cannot be said to “ignore” it. If anything, the author takes the bad Cotrell writing from which he is reasoning as typical rather than atypical (B). No outside expertise (D) is cited or even alluded to, and (E) is a total 180: Rather, the author infers limited ability despite what he sees as occasional examples of high performance.


Cotrell is incapable of writing a better-than-average article. → Cotrell must have plagiarized his few superior articles. → Cotrell can write only low-to-average-quality articles.

Once we break down the core, we can see that the conclusion merely restates the initial premise, without providing additional support - Circular Reasoning!

(A) didn’t happen. The argument cites counterevidence (the few superior articles), but attempts to reframe that counterevidence to support the conclusion. Eliminate it.

(B) didn’t happen. There are “atypical occurrences” mentioned (the superior articles), but rather than generalizing from these occurrences, the author attempts to prove the opposite of what they would imply.

(D) didn’t happen either! There are no experts cited in this argument.

(E) is tempting because the first part of the answer (“ infers limits on ability”) is correct, but this conclusion is not drawn from isolated lapses in performance, but from isolated superior performances. Eliminate it.

Answer choice (C) points out the Circular Reasoning flaw.
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Re: Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quali [#permalink]

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New post 25 Apr 2017, 07:17
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BrainLab wrote:
Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality. The most compelling piece of evidence for this are those few of the numerous articles submitted by Cotrell that are superior, since Cotrell, who is incapable of writing an article that is better than average, must obviously have plagiarized superior ones.

The argument is most vulnerable to criticism on which one of the following grounds?

(A) It simply ignores the existence of potential counterevidence.
(B) It generalizes from atypical occurrences.
(C) It presupposes what it seeks to establish
(D) It relies on the judgement of experts in a matter to which their expertise is irrelevant
(E) It infers limits on ability from a few isolated lapses in performance

Source : PowerScore CR Bible


Flaw in the Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (C)

As always, look closely at the structure of the argument—specifically the relationships between the premises and conclusion. This breakdown presents the pieces in the order given in the argument:

Conclusion: Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality.

Subconclusion/ Premise: The most compelling pieces of evidence for this are those few of the numerous articles submitted by Cotrell that are superior.

Premise: Cotrell, who is incapable of writing an article that is better than average, must obviously have plagiarized superior ones.

Examine the language in the conclusion (“Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality”) and the premise (“Cotrell, who is incapable of writing an article that is better than average”). The two are identical in meaning, and thus we have an argument with circular reasoning. Do not be distracted by the plagiarism argument in the middle of the text—that is a tool used to physically separate the conclusion and premise, making it harder to recognize that the two are identical.

Answer choice (A): The argument does not ignore the potential counterevidence to the conclusion. The potential counterevidence is the few articles submitted by Cotrell that are superior, and the author dismisses them by claiming they are plagiarized. Although the reasoning used to dismiss the good articles is flawed, it is an attempt to address the evidence, and thus the argument cannot be said to “simply ignore the existence of potential counterevidence.”

Answer choice (B): This answer choice describes an Overgeneralization. The answer is wrong because the argument generalizes by dismissing the atypical occurrences (the superior articles), as opposed to generalizing from them.

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice, and one of several different ways to describe Circular Reasoning (note that in the first problem in this set Circular Reasoning was an incorrect answer). More often than not, when you see Circular Reasoning it will be an incorrect answer choice, but you cannot be complacent and simply assume it will be wrong every time you see it. This problem proves that it does appear as the correct answer on occasion.

Answer choice (D): This answer describes an Appeal to Authority. The answer fails the Fact Test because there is no reference to the judgment of experts.

Answer choice (E): This answer is similar to answer choice (B). The answer starts out reasonably well— “it infers limits on ability.” The argument does attempt this (depending on your definition of “infer”). But, does the argument make this inference based on a “few isolated lapses in performance?” No, the argument dismisses the few superior performances. In this sense the answer is Half Right, Half Wrong. Therefore, it is incorrect.
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Re: Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quali [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2017, 10:37
Hi Expert,

I have a difficult time in identifying the conclusion of this argument. I assumed that sentence--"Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality" is a premise, and the sentence --"he must obviously have plagiarized superior ones." is a conclusion. Moreover, below sequence of premise-conclusion also fits perfectly

Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality, so he must obviously have plagiarized superior ones.

Please help why my thought process is incorrect
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Re: Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quali [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2017, 11:27
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Quote:
Hi Expert,

I have a difficult time in identifying the conclusion of this argument. I assumed that sentence--"Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality" is a premise, and the sentence --"he must obviously have plagiarized superior ones." is a conclusion. Moreover, below sequence of premise-conclusion also fits perfectly

Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality, so he must obviously have plagiarized superior ones.

Please help why my thought process is incorrect

We know from the question stem that the author's argument is vulnerable to criticism (because of one of the reasons in the answer choices). The vulnerability of the argument makes it harder to identify the conclusion. If we knew for a fact that Cotrell were, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality, then that would be a premise on which we could base the following conclusion: Cotrell obviously must have plagiarized the superior articles." However, we do not know for a fact whether "Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality." The author is trying to reach that conclusion based on the "compelling piece of evidence" presented in the second sentence. But the evidence in the second sentence relies on the assumption that Cotrell " is incapable of writing an article that is better than average." In other words, in trying to reach the conclusion that Cotrell is incapable of writing an article that is better than average, the author RELIES on the assumption that Cotrell is incapable of writing an article that is better than average!

    The New England Patriots are incapable of winning the Super Bowl. Consider the relatively few times the Patriots have won the Super Bowl; obviously the Patriots were cheating when they won those Super Bowls because everybody knows that the Patriots are incapable of winning the Super Bowl!

This argument has the same logical flaw in that it assumes the conclusion is true in order to argue that the conclusion is true. The conclusion of the passage is simply the first sentence, "Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quality."
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Re: Cotrell is, at best, able to write magazine articles of average quali   [#permalink] 13 May 2017, 11:27
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