GRE Verbal : Argument in Multiple-Answer Questions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #61 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

Passage adapted from H.G Wells' Anticipations (1901)

Democracy of the modern type—manhood suffrage and so forth—became a conspicuous phenomenon in the world only in the closing decades of the eighteenth century. Its genesis is so intimately connected with the first expansion of the productive element in the State, through mechanism and a co-operative organization, as to point at once to a causative connection. The more closely one looks into the social and political life of the eighteenth century the more plausible becomes this view. New and potentially influential social factors had begun to appear—the organizing manufacturer, the intelligent worker, the skilled tenant, and the urban abyss, and the traditions of the old land-owning non-progressive aristocratic monarchy that prevailed in Christendom, rendered it incapable—without some destructive shock or convulsion—of any re-organization to incorporate or control these new factors. In the case of the British Empire an additional stress was created by the incapacity of the formal government to assimilate the developing civilization of the American colonies. Everywhere there were new elements, not as yet clearly analyzed or defined, arising as mechanism arose; everywhere the old traditional government and social system, defined and analyzed all too well, appeared increasingly obstructive, irrational, and feeble in its attempts to include and direct these new powers.

But now comes a point to which I am inclined to attach very great importance. The new powers were as yet shapeless. It was not the conflict of a new organization with the old. It was the preliminary dwarfing and deliquescence of the mature old beside the embryonic mass of the new. It was impossible then—it is, I believe, only beginning to be possible now—to estimate the proportions, possibilities, and inter-relations of the new social orders out of which a social organization has still to be built in the coming years. No formula of definite reconstruction had been evolved, or has even been evolved yet, after a hundred years. And these swelling inchoate new powers, whose very birth condition was the crippling, modification, or destruction of the old order, were almost forced to formulate their proceedings for a time, therefore, in general affirmative propositions that were really in effect not affirmative propositions at all, but propositions of repudiation and denial. "These kings and nobles and people privileged in relation to obsolescent functions cannot manage our affairs"—that was evident enough, that was the really essential question at that time, and since no other effectual substitute appeared ready made, the working doctrine of the infallible judgment of humanity in the gross, as distinguished from the quite indisputable incapacity of sample individuals, became, in spite of its inherent absurdity, a convenient and acceptable working hypothesis.

Which of the following best describes a phenomenon that likely was problematic in the older form of government?  Select all that apply:

A. The older forms of government were not able to regulate the wage system arising in the new forms of industry.

B. The rulers of the old government were irrationally clinging to the rights of kings against the people.

C. The older government was unable to organize the cities, all of which required new services and ordinances as they grew.

Possible Answers:

A and B

A, B, and C

B

A

A and C

Correct answer:

A and C

Explanation:

As regards B, this answer may be tempting, given that the older governmental structures are described as seeming "irrational." This refers, however, to the fact that they did not make much sense vis-à-vis the demands of new societal forms. They could not rationally address the new problems.

For A and C, these two options are supported by the passage. It is stated that among the issues faced, there were "the organizing manufacturer, the intelligent worker, the skilled tenant, and the urban abyss." This describes both a new kind of working environment as well as a the development of complex, expanding forms of city life.

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Components Of An Argument In Multiple Answer Questions

Choose the word or word set that best completes the following sentence.

Richard was a(n) __________ traveler; he had visited __________ countries.

Possible Answers:

plebe . . . umpteen

picky . . . abominable

adroit . . . innumerable

tacit . . . paramount

rigid . . . hellacious

Correct answer:

adroit . . . innumerable

Explanation:

"Adroit" means experienced, skilled, competent, thus an adroit traveler is one who has likely to have visited many countries ("innumerable" means many).

Example Question #1 : Multiple Answer Questions

Choose the word or word set which best completes the following sentence.

Members of the guild were required to use their __________; doing otherwise was considered _________.

Possible Answers:

obedience . . . obsequious

instincts . . . fallacious

consanguinity . . . distended

riches . . . conflated

tools . . . supine

Correct answer:

instincts . . . fallacious

Explanation:

Using one's "instincts" makes sense as a requirement for any group, failure to do so is "fallacious" (folly, failure, wrong, incorrect). None of the other answer pairs logically correlate within the sentence.

Example Question #1 : Multiple Answer Questions

Passage adapted from John Dewey's "The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy" (1915)

Intellectual advance occurs in two ways. At times increase of knowledge is organized about old conceptions, while these are expanded, elaborated and refined, but not seriously revised, much less abandoned. At other times, the increase of knowledge demands qualitative rather than quantitative change; alteration, not addition. Men's minds grow cold to their former intellectual concerns; ideas that were burning fade; interests that were urgent seem remote. Men face in another direction; their older perplexities are unreal; considerations passed over as negligible loom up. Former problems may not have been solved, but they no longer press for solutions.

Philosophy is no exception to the rule. But it is unusually conservative--not, necessarily, in proffering solutions, but in clinging to problems. It has been so allied with theology and theological morals as representatives of men's chief interests, that radical alteration has been shocking. Men's activities took a decidedly new turn, for example, in the seventeenth century, and it seems as if philosophy, under the lead of thinkers like Bacon and Descartes, was to execute an about-face. But, in spite of the ferment, it turned out that many of the older problems were but translated from Latin into the vernacular or into the new terminology furnished by science.

The association of philosophy with academic teaching has reinforced this intrinsic conservatism. Scholastic philosophy persisted in universities after men's thoughts outside of the walls of colleges had moved in other directions. In the last hundred years intellectual advances of science and politics have in like fashion been crystallized into material of instruction and now resist further change. I would not say that the spirit of teaching is hostile to that of liberal inquiry, but a philosophy which exists largely as something to be taught rather than wholly as something to be reflected upon is conducive to discussion of views held by others rather than to immediate response. Philosophy when taught inevitably magnifies the history of past thought, and leads professional philosophers to approach their subject-matter through its formulation in received systems. It tends, also, to emphasize points upon which men have divided into schools, for these lend themselves to retrospective definition and elaboration. Consequently, philosophical discussion is likely to be a dressing out of antithetical traditions, where criticism of one view is thought to afford proof of the truth of its opposite (as if formulation of views guaranteed logical exclusives). Direct preoccupation with contemporary difficulties is left to literature and politics.

Which of the following might be a bias of Dewey's:

A. He does not believe that all questions are raised in the context of previous answers and outlooks.

B. He does not give enough weight to the importance of thinking with previous great thinkers, even though they might have had problems and questions different from those of people alive today.

C. He is too worried about immediate needs and not long-term goals and solutions.

Possible Answers:

B and C

C

B

A, B, and C

A and C

Correct answer:

B

Explanation:

The best way to begin is by eliminating wrong answers. C is incorrect, though it may not appear so at first glance. Dewey is concerned that philosophy does not pay enough attention to the immediate questions and problems of people; however, that is not the same as saying that he is only worried about immediate needs to the detriment of long-term goals and solutions. He merely wants the questions of philosophers to match the questions being asked by people living at a given time.

We cannot say that Dewey is unaware of the contextual nature of change in knowledge. He does speak of "quantitative" increase in knowledge, which is much like this kind of progressive development of knowledge in the context of previously gained knowledge. Hence, A is also incorrect.

Dewey does seem to think that thinking in terms of former thinkers will mold and potentially bias the kinds of questions being asked, much to the detriment of philosophical progress. We can at least justify choosing this answer. Given the other options eliminated, this is the best possible answer.

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