Despite the efforts of a small minority of graduate students at one university to unionize, the majority of graduate ...

Anthony on November 16, 2015

Please explain

Hello could you please explain this question. I don't see how E is the correct answer.

6 Replies

Mehran on November 21, 2015

Thank you for your question. This is an Error in Reasoning logical reasoning question, which requires us to assess the reasoning in the stimulus and then select the answer choice that correctly (albeit in abstract terms) identifies the logical flaw in the argumentation. So, let's start with the stimulus itself.

This stimulus presents an argument. The conclusion is that "the graduate students at the university should not unionize." The premises offered in support of this conclusion are:

Premise: the majority of graduate students remain unaware of the attempt to unionize

Premise: most of those students who are aware of the attempt believe that a union would not represent their interests OR would not effectively pursue those interests, thus

Subsidiary conclusion: the majority of the graduates at the university obviously disapprove of the attempt to unionize.

The subsidiary conclusion DOES NOT follow logically from the second premise. Even if a majority OF THE MINORITY of grad students who are aware of the unionizing attempt disapprove of that attempt, this does NOT establish that a majority of ALL the grad students disapprove of this attempt.

Answer choice (E) identifies this flawed method of reasoning. It says that the stimulus "blurs the distinction between active disapproval" (that is, the fact that most students within the minority of students who know about the unionizing attempts actively disapprove of unionizing) and "mere lack of approval" (that is, the fact that a majority of the students don't even know about the unionizing attempt at all, much less disapprove of it).

Hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

Ryan on May 4, 2019

why not C?

Ravi on May 5, 2019


(C) says, "presumes that simply because a majority of a population is
unaware of something, it must not be a good idea"

This is a tricky answer choice because the first part of it is true
(most of the students are not aware of the unionization attempt).
However, the stimulus does not claim that anything follows from the
fact that only a minority of the students were aware of the attempt.
Additionally, the argument never says that unionization isn't a good
idea. What it does say is that the students should not unionize
because of the students disapprove, but this is different from making
a value judgment pertaining to the quality of the idea around
unionization. Thus, we can get rid of (C).

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

on June 16, 2019

Why not D?

Ravi on June 17, 2019


Happy to help. Let's look at (D).

(D) says, "ignores the possibility that although a union might not
effectively pursue graduate student interests, there are other reasons
for unionizing"

(D) provides us with a reason for why students may desire
unionization. However, it's not correct because it does not highlight
the gap in reasoning between the premise that some students disapprove
of the attempt and the conclusion, which states that students should
not unionize. Because it doesn't expose the reasoning gap between the
premise and the conclusion, we can get rid of this answer choice.

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

on June 18, 2019

Thank you! @Ravi