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# The 1980 s have been characterized as a period of selfish

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Joined: 16 Jul 2009
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The 1980 s have been characterized as a period of selfish  [#permalink]

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16 Jun 2010, 12:03
2
6
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Difficulty:

65% (hard)

Question Stats:

57% (01:58) correct 43% (01:57) wrong based on 434 sessions

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The 1980’s have been characterized as a period of selfish individualism that threatens the cohesion of society. But this characterization is true of any time. Throughout history all human actions have been motivated by selfishness. When the deeper implications are considered, even the simplest “unselfish” acts prove to be instances of selfish concern for the human species.
Which one of the following is a flaw in the argument?
(A) The claim that selfishness has been present throughout history is not actually relevant to the argument.
(B) No statistical evidence is provided to show that humans act selfishly more often than act unselfishly.
(C) The argument assumes that selfishness is unique to the present age.
(D) The argument mentions only humans and does not consider the behavior of other species.
(E) The argument relies on two different uses of the term selfish.

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04 Jul 2011, 21:40
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1
seekmba wrote:
I am sorry I dont get this...

both describe selfishness as something that hurts society or human species ( which to me is same)

selfish individualism threatening cohesion of society indicates each individual human being being selfish - or preferring his interests over other human beings
selfish about concerns for human species means that human being are only thinking of themselves as a species and not other species or nature or anything else..therefore, this is not the same selfishness as before. this will not result in difficulty in making a society
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16 Jun 2010, 12:49
1
didnt get this one right ... any hints how to approach this!?
Director
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16 Jun 2010, 19:37
A and D OUT
C would have been a contender. But it uses "unique" --> Can change meaning
Between B and E. I dont know how to tear them.

Moreover the argument is one sided. ---> "Throughout history all human actions have been motivated by selfishness."
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17 Jun 2010, 00:10
2
E is correct. I think it's because the sentence "period of selfish individualism that threatens the cohesion of society" considers selfishness in terms of selfishness towards other humans (society), while the sentence "even the simplest “unselfish” acts prove to be instances of selfish concern for the human species" refers to selfishness towards other living beings in order to protect the human species...please correct me if I'm wrong!
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17 Jun 2010, 07:53
Awesome. Makes all the sense in the world
VP
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21 Jun 2010, 12:19
I am sorry I dont get this...

both describe selfishness as something that hurts society or human species ( which to me is same)
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22 Jun 2010, 02:24
i also pick E , dont know why....
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01 Feb 2011, 23:33
nusmavrik wrote:
A and D OUT
C would have been a contender. But it uses "unique" --> Can change meaning
Between B and E. I dont know how to tear them.

Moreover the argument is one sided. ---> "Throughout history all human actions have been motivated by selfishness."

B simply cannot be a contender. In the text we find the words "all human actions" but B does not strongly indicate to this assertion because a statistical evidence can give various proportions of selfish human acts to unselfish ones:

1 case: proportion of selfish human acts to unselfish ones may be 1000 to 1001, and in this case the statistical data do not to support in the original text regarding the assertion "all human actions". or

2 case: proportion of selfish human acts to unselfish ones may be 1 to 1000, and in this case one can approximate the statistical data to support the words "all human actions" in the original text.

The fact that under B it may be assumed both of the cases makes B uncertain and ambiguous. Hence, B must be repudiated.
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02 Feb 2011, 08:11
The use of 'selfish concern for the human species' in stimulus tends to give opposite meaning for 'selfish' than that in 'selfish individualism'. I picked E, though not convincingly.
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10 Feb 2011, 13:45
picked E. good Q!

thought that selfish individualism and selfish concern are two different things.
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The 1980 s have been characterized as a period of selfish  [#permalink]

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21 Dec 2015, 03:10
The 1980’s have been characterized as a period of selfish individualism that threatens the cohesion of society.
the simplest “unselfish” acts prove to be instances of selfish concern for the human species.

In the above two sentences the word 'selfish' conveys two different meanings.
An example of the first, maybe, an entrepreneur bribes a public servant in order to gain some advantage.
An example of the second will be of the sort, a billionaire gives away millions of dollars for the homeless around the world, in order to have some nights sleep (inspired by some hollywood flick )
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Re: The 1980 s have been characterized as a period of selfish  [#permalink]

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24 Dec 2017, 20:36
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: The 1980 s have been characterized as a period of selfish   [#permalink] 24 Dec 2017, 20:36
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