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# QOTD:Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a

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QOTD:Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a  [#permalink]

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09 May 2018, 22:47
2
4
00:00

Difficulty:

55% (hard)

Question Stats:

64% (01:44) correct 36% (01:50) wrong based on 293 sessions

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 278: Critical Reasoning

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Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of the Benin culture of West Africa. Some scholars, noting that the oldest surviving plaques date to the 1400s, hypothesize that brass-casting techniques were introduced by the Portuguese, who came to Benin in 1485 A.D. But Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife. So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese.

Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument?

(A) The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers.

(B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

(C) In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques.

(D) As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans.

(E) Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory.

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QOTD:Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a  [#permalink]

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09 May 2018, 22:49
1
The author concludes that "it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese." Since we need to strengthen the argument, let's make sure we understand the author's logic:

• "Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of the Benin culture of West Africa." - This background information tells us that cast-brass plaques are a typical form of art in Benin culture.
• "The oldest surviving plaques date to the 1400s." - These plaques have been a part of Benin culture since at least the 1400s (maybe earlier).
• "Some scholars hypothesize that brass-casting techniques were introduced by the Portuguese, who came to Benin in 1485 A.D." - How did the people of Benin learn brass-casting techniques? Perhaps from the Portuguese. This hypothesis is consistent with the date evidence (the earliest known plaques date to the 1400s, and the Portuguese came to Benin in the 1400s).
• However, "Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife." - When the Portuguese first showed up, Benin already had cast-brass jewelry from Ife. This means that Benin had already been introduced to cast-brass prior to the arrival of the Portugal. This evidence seems to hurt the hypothesis of some scholars. The author thus concludes that Benin's knowledge of brass casting probably did not derive from (or "originate from") the Portuguese.

We need something that strengthens the author's argument (not the scholar's hypothesis):

Quote:
(A) The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers.

Notice that (A) does NOT say, "Portuguese records indicate that the expedition did not include metalworkers." (A) says that the records don't indicate either way. So perhaps the expedition included metalworkers and perhaps it did not. Although this leaves open the possibility that the expedition did not include metalworkers, the evidence in (A) is not very strong. Let's look for something better.

Quote:
(B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

The evidence tells us that Benin had cast-brass objects from Ife before they encountered the Portuguese. This suggests that the people of Benin may have learned about cast-brass from Ife, not from the Portuguese.

But what if the people of Ife learned about brass casting from the Portuguese? In that case, any knowledge about brass casting transferred from Ife to Benin actually originated (or derived) from the Portuguese. In other words, if the Portuguese taught the people of Ife about brass casting and then the people of Ife taught the people of Benin about brass casting, then Benin's knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese (even though it was not transferred directly from the Portuguese to Benin).

This would obviously hurt the argument. Choice (B) eliminates this possibility and thus strengthens the argument. Hang on to (B).

Quote:
(C) In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques.

All that matters is that the Portuguese knew how to cast brass. We don't care how the Portuguese used cast brass. Even if the Portuguese did not make cast brass commemorative plaques, they still could have taught the people of Benin how to cast brass. Thus, (C) does not strengthen the argument and can be eliminated.

Quote:
(D) As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans.

This statement doesn't tell us anything about the origin of the artists' knowledge of brass casting. This statement could be true whether their knowledge derived from the Portuguese or from the people of Ife. Thus, (D) can be eliminated.

Quote:
(E) Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory.

This simply tells us that Benin had one of the materials needed to make brass. As with (D), this doesn't tell us anything about the origin of the artists' knowledge of brass casting. Eliminate (E).

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Re: QOTD:Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a  [#permalink]

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10 May 2018, 03:36

Let's break it down logically: the claim is that since bronze casting came to Benin from the Ife, it did not derive from the Portuguese. This is true, if we assume that the Ice did not themselves get it from the Portuguese. Thus, the argument is great strengthened if it is true that (B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

Another way to solve is by process of elimination:

(A) The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers. if they indicated that there were no metalworkers, this would indeed strengthen - but just not indicating doesn't help much

(C) In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques.if we knew they didn't cast brass at all this would strengthen, but merely that they didn't use it for this purpose doesn't mean that people in Benin didn't;t adopt it for this reason

(D) As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans. this weakens the argument somewhat, as it suggests a connection between brass plates and the Eurpoeans for people in Benin

(E) Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory. irrelevant - the question is where they learned the technique
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Re: QOTD:Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a  [#permalink]

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12 May 2018, 01:51
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 278: Critical Reasoning

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Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of the Benin culture of West Africa. Some scholars, noting that the oldest surviving plaques date to the 1400s, hypothesize that brass-casting techniques were introduced by the Portuguese, who came to Benin in 1485 A.D. But Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife. So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese.

Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument?

(A) The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers.

(B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

(C) In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques.

(D) As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans.

(E) Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory.

Lets analyze the argument.
P1: Commemorative plaques cast from brass are characteristics from Western Africa.
P2: Scholars hypothesize that brass cutting technique was introduced in 1400s by Portuguese who came to Benin
P3: (Contradictory) Portuguese expedition record show that cast-brass jewelery waa sent to Benin's from Neighboring Ife.
C: Benin's knowledge is unlikely to be derived from Portuguese.

Out of the option.

A. Irrelevant
B. Correct if Portuguese didnt had contact with the Ife until 1500 then it is most likely that the brass-cutting technique is proprietary to Benin.
C, D and E are irrelevant here.
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Re: QOTD:Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a  [#permalink]

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16 May 2018, 06:57
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 278: Critical Reasoning

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Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of the Benin culture of West Africa. Some scholars, noting that the oldest surviving plaques date to the 1400s, hypothesize that brass-casting techniques were introduced by the Portuguese, who came to Benin in 1485 A.D. But Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife. So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese.

Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument?

(A) The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers.

(B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

(C) In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques.

(D) As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans.

(E) Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory.

[quote="sayantanc2k"] ((From a retired discussion on the same question)

This is one important concept frequently used to trap candidates.
Premise; X
Conclusion: Y
Argument: X hence Y ( X---> Y)
The strengthening (or weakening) statement of this ARGUMENT (i.e. X---> Y) must strengthen (or weaken) the LINK between this argument, not the conclusion (Y) separately.

In the above example
X = Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife
Y = So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese.

Please observe that option C strengthens Y in isolation. It has nothing to do with the argument X---> Y. Hence C is not correct.

Hi sayantanc2k,

Thank you so much for the clear explanation that I find very helpful in tackling most argument-based CR problems: the idea about

Given the question under discussion and the fact that option (C) strengthens Y (i.e., the conclusion) IN ISOLATION, there seems to be a difference between strengthen/weaken the ARGUMENT and strengthen/weaken the CONCLUSION (kindly correct me if I am wrong). In that case, would option (C) be better than (B), if the questions asks to strengthen the CONCLUSION (not the argument)?

Thank you.
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Re: QOTD:Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a &nbs [#permalink] 16 May 2018, 06:57
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