Various mid–fourteenth–century European writers show an interest in games, but no writer of this period mentions the ...

Steph on February 15, 2019

Why is the Answer A

Why is A the correct answer?

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Ravi on February 15, 2019


Happy to help.

This argument concludes that it's unlikely that playing cards were
common in mid-14th century Europe. The author's support is that
writers who wrote about games did not mention cards, and the laws
about games mention games like dice, chess and other games, but they
fail to mention anything about cards.

The stimulus can be diagrammed to help us see what's going on.

Writers of 14th century - >doesn't mention cards

14th century statute - >doesn't mention cards + mentions other games

C: playing cards likely wasn't common

The question asks, "The pattern of reasoning in which one of the
following is most similar to that in the argument above?"

Let's look for the answer choice that most closely matches what we've
mapped out the stimulus to be.

(A) says, "Neither today's newspapers nor this evening's television
news mentioned a huge fire that was rumored to have happened in the
port last night. Therefore, there probably was no such fire."

(A) can be mapped to

today's newspapers - >don't mention fire

this evening's television shows - ->don't mention fire

C: likely wasn't a fire

(A) matches up really well with the stimulus. We would expect a huge
fire to appear in today's newspapers an evening television shows.
Based on the fact that it wasn't mentioned, the author concludes that
the huge fire probably didn't occur. The conclusion of (A) says
"probably," which also matches the wording the stimulus uses, which is
"likely." This is our answer choice.

(B) says, "This evening's television news reported that the cruise
ship was only damaged in the fire last night, whereas the newspaper
reported that it was destroyed. The television news is based on more
recent information, so probably the ship was not destroyed."

The problem with (B) is that it describes conflicting accounts of an
event between two sources. This did not occur in our stimulus, so we
can get rid of (B).

(C) says, "Among the buildings that are near the port is the
newspaper's printing plant. Early editions of this morning's paper
were very late. Therefore, the fire at the port probably affected
areas beyond the port itself."

(C) is incorrect because the argument in the stimulus concluded that
it was likely that something did not occur/wasn't common. (C) actually
concludes that something did happen, which is bad. It also concludes
that the thing that happened affected other things, and this also
fails to match the stimulus. We can get rid of (C).

(D) says, "The newspaper does not explicitly say that the port
reopened after the fire, but in its listing of newly arrived ships it
mentions some arrival times after the fire. Therefore, the port was
probably not closed for long."

The problem with (D) is that it provides support for something that
happened in its conclusion (newly arrived ships were in the
newspaper's listing). However, our argument in the stimulus is based
on the absence of evidence and concludes that something probably
wasn't common, so this doesn't match up well. We can get rid of (D).

(E) says, "The newspaper is generally more reliable than the
television news, and the newspaper reported that the damage from last
night's fire in the port was not severe. Therefore, the damage
probably was not severe."

The problem with (E) is that, just like (D), it provides support for
something that probably occurred, but the argument in the stimulus is
about a lack of evidence.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!