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# The purpose of the physical sciences is to predict the order in which

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Joined: 02 Sep 2009
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The purpose of the physical sciences is to predict the order in which  [#permalink]

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12 Jul 2018, 01:55
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Difficulty:

75% (hard)

Question Stats:

54% (02:12) correct 46% (02:25) wrong based on 200 sessions

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The purpose of the physical sciences is to predict the order in which events will succeed one another. Human behavior, also, can sometimes be successfully predicted. However, even successful predictions of human behavior do not provide an understanding of it, for understanding a human action requires knowing its goal, even though such knowledge of goals either cannot or need not be obtained in the case of nonhuman behavior.

Which one of the following most accurately expresses the argument’s conclusion?

(A) Successful predictions of human behavior do not constitute an understanding of that behavior.

(B) One cannot predict an instance of human behavior without an understanding of the agent’s purpose in engaging in that behavior.

(C) In some cases, but not in others, understanding an event consists in the ability to predict the occurrence of that event.

(D) The goal of the physical sciences is to predict the order in which events will occur.

(E) The methods used to predict human behavior must involve reference to the psychological states of human agents.

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Re: The purpose of the physical sciences is to predict the order in which  [#permalink]

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12 Jul 2018, 02:08
Bunuel wrote:
The purpose of the physical sciences is to predict the order in which events will succeed one another. Human behavior, also, can sometimes be successfully predicted. However, even successful predictions of human behavior do not provide an understanding of it(Conclusion), for understanding a human action requires knowing its goal, even though such knowledge of goals either cannot or need not be obtained in the case of nonhuman behavior.

Which one of the following most accurately expresses the argument’s conclusion?

(A) Successful predictions of human behavior do not constitute an understanding of that behavior. --> Correct, the statement is paraphrase of the conclusion noted

(B) One cannot predict an instance of human behavior without an understanding of the agent’s purpose in engaging in that behavior. --> Opposite

(C) In some cases, but not in others, understanding an event consists in the ability to predict the occurrence of that event. --> Irrelevant

(D) The goal of the physical sciences is to predict the order in which events will occur. --> Though true, it is not the conclusion

(E) The methods used to predict human behavior must involve reference to the psychological states of human agents. --> Irrelevant

Hence, A.
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Re: The purpose of the physical sciences is to predict the order in which  [#permalink]

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15 Jul 2018, 21:18
I got the answer here, but spent a lot of time pondering between A and D, and am not confident of my reasoning. Can anyone please give a definitive reason on why D is incorrect?
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The purpose of the physical sciences is to predict the order in which  [#permalink]

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16 Jul 2018, 08:33
OE
Main Point. The correct answer choice is (A)

The ability to quickly identify the correct answer to a Main Point question is directly tied to our understanding of the structure of the argument and its conclusion. Since the correct answer is often simply a paraphrase of the conclusion, test makers are prone to obfuscate the conclusion by introducing unnecessary information or subsidiary conclusions in order to increase the level of difficulty of the question.

In this instance, the argument can be summarized as follows:

Premise (1): ..... Understanding a human action requires knowing its goal

Assumption (2): ..... Predicting human behavior does not afford knowledge of its goals

Conclusion: ..... Even successful predictions of human behavior do not provide understanding of it.

Observant test takers will notice that the conclusion is a Contrapositive of the conditional reasoning chain established in the premises.

Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice, as it is a direct paraphrase of the conclusion.

Answer choice (B): Since the author clearly states that human behavior can be predicted without an understanding of its purpose, this answer choice is disproven by the information contained in the stimulus and is incorrect.

Answer choice (C): Understanding an action requires knowing its goal. Whether the action (or event) can be predicted is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for its understanding. This answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (D): While this statement can be inferred from the first sentence in the stimulus, it is not the main point of the argument as it only establishes a contextual background for it. This answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): It is entirely unclear what is meant by the reference to the “psychological states of human agents” here. You were hopefully able to eliminate this answer choice pretty quickly.
The purpose of the physical sciences is to predict the order in which   [#permalink] 16 Jul 2018, 08:33
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