June 2007, Logical Reasoning 2, Question 12

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Question 12, when a question asks what the conclusion drawn in an argument is, we call that a conclusion question. Conclusion questions simply ask you to identify the conclusion of the argument. This argument's conclusion is found right there in the middle. However, it is more likely that the similarity of themes and situations in the two novels is merely coincidental.

You always have to go back up a little bit to see what it is more likely than. So it is more likely coincidence than it is that it was plagiarism. The first sentence is setup, it establishes what we're talking about. So there were two novels, they're both semiautobiographical novels, and contain many similar themes and situations. That's what might cause you to suspect plagiarism in the first place.

Evidence in the argument is flagged by that evidence keyword, since. Since both authors are from very similar backgrounds and have led similar lives. So now we're gonna go into the answer choices, looking for something that is either a direct quote or a rephrasing of what we currently have highlighted in red. Answer choice A, Novel X and Novel Y are both semiautobiographical novels, and the two novels contain very similar situations and themes.

Well, that was the original setup information. That's not the conclusion, so it's not our answer. Answer choice B, the fact that Novel X and Novel Y are both semiautobiographical novels and contain very many similar themes and situations might lead one to suspect plagiarism on the part of one of the authors. That's also the setup information, just with a bit about plagiarism added to the end.

It's not the conclusion, so it's not our answer. Go to answer choice C, the author of Novel X and Novel Y are from very similar backgrounds and have led very similar lives. That was the evidence, not the conclusion, so it's not our answer. Answer choice D, it is less likely that one of the authors of Novel X or Novel Y is guilty or plagiarism than that the similarity of themes and situations in the two novels is merely coincidental.

Now, that is our conclusion, they tried to hide it in a very silly way. The original conclusion said that coincidence is more likely than plagiarism. This answer choice says that plagiarism is less likely than coincidence, they just flip it around. So since answer choice D is the conclusion, it is our answer, we can glance at answer choice E to see why it isn't.

And answer choice E is really, really close to answer choice D. The only difference is, it adds the word if. Adding just that small part makes a very different conclusion. Consider the difference between saying, if it rains, we're gonna stay in tomorrow, or because it is raining, we're going to stay in tomorrow. One of them is conditional, the other one isn't.

Our original conclusion was not conditional. So answer choice E, because it's conditional, is not our answer, and answer choice D is.

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