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How to Find the Premise in Critical Reasoning Questions

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Economist GMAT Tutor Representative
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How to Find the Premise in Critical Reasoning Questions  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2019, 22:19
How to Find the Premise in Critical Reasoning Questions

Have you ever had a problem breaking down arguments in Critical Reasoning questions? Many students find it very difficult to separate the premise from the conclusion. Have a look at the following:

1. Sun block advertisements, according to a recent study, often contain misleading information, exaggerating the effectiveness of the advertised products.

2. Skin doctors are worried that these advertisements could create a false sense of safety that would lead sun block consumers to spend prolonged periods of time in the sun.

Let’s begin with the obvious question: What is a premise generally, and in the argument specifically?

The premise is the information that is accepted as a given and that is used in order to draw a conclusion. Think of it as a truth that is used to form a conclusion.

In the above argument, the phrase “according to a recent study” indicates the introduction of a premise. Other similar phrases that could also be used are “a study has shown that…” and “according to a study.”

Here’s another argument:

John’s car has wheels because all cars have wheels.

Sometimes, finding the premise may be a bit more difficult. In the sentence above, we can recognize that the first part is a conclusion, whereas the second part is a premise, since it gives the reason for the conclusion’s validity. It would not make sense to flip the argument and say that all cars have wheels because John’s car has wheels.

Therefore, the validity of a conclusion must come from its premise, or proof. In this case, the fact (premise) that all cars have wheels allows for a conclusion to be drawn that John’s car must also have wheels.

Key takeaways:

  • Look for expressions that would suggest that the information presented is a scientific finding or other factual information.
  • Reason conjunctions usually link a conclusion with the premise it is based upon.
  • If you cannot find the premise right away, identify the conclusion, and you will surely recognize which sentences state the premises upon which the conclusion must be based. Ask yourself why the conclusion has been made. The answer to the why should point to the premise.

Originally Published at Economist GMAT Blog
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How to Find the Premise in Critical Reasoning Questions   [#permalink] 30 Nov 2019, 22:19
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How to Find the Premise in Critical Reasoning Questions

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