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June 2007, Logical Reasoning 1, Question 20


Question 20, when a question asks you to describe the strategy of argumentation, it is a method of reasoning question. Method of reading questions require you to recognize an abstract description of the argument found in the answer choices. Before you can recognize the argument, make sure you understand it, which means breaking it down into its conclusion and evidence.

The conclusion of this argument is the last sentence. One should not assume that so few votes represent the view of the majority of Hopeville's residents. This is Gamba's conclusion against someone named Munoz. Now, Munoz has an argument, it's found in the first sentence. Munoz says that the city opposes this new water system, on the basis of the evidence that the Southwest Hopeville Neighbors Association does.

Now, Gamba points out that, yes, the association did oppose the system, but not very many of them voted. And if you total up the votes, that's far less than 1% of the population of the city as a whole. And that's why Gamba says that we shouldn't assume that those votes represent Hopeville's vote.

So now let's look for a description of what he just did in the answer choices. Answer choice A starts out okay, Gamba does question a conclusion. But he doesn't question it on the grounds that certain people are more likely to vote, so answer choice A is not our answer. Answer choice B also starts out okay, questioning a claim supported by statistical data, Munoz's claim is supported by the survey.

But Gamba does not argue that statistical data can be manipulated to prove anything you wanna prove. Gamba argued that it had to do with the number of votes. Answer choice C again begins well, attempting to refute an argument, which is what Gamba does. But not by claiming that the truth of the premises don't guarantee the truth of the conclusion.

Answer choice D, again, Gamba does criticize a view. But not based on evidence that is in principle impossible to disconfirm, Gamba never said anything like that. So that leaves us with answer choice E, attempting to cast doubt on a conclusion. So it looks like all the answer choices began with some version of attacking someone, which Gamba did.

But attempting to cast doubt a conclusion by claiming that the statistical sample on which the conclusion is based is too small to be dependable, this is absolutely what Gamba did. In the last two sentences, Gamba said that not enough people voted to make this representative. And that's what answer choice E says, so it is our answer.

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