WEAKEN THE ARGUMENT

The question from this question type will ask you how the argument could be weakened. You would need to find the statement from the option that if true would cast the most doubt on the argument. It is possible that there are two options present that weakens the argument, however you need to find the one option that weakens the argument most. Mostly the right answer will prove the assumptions made by author as incorrect, making conclusion wrong.

Common word used in question – Weaken the argument, cast doubt on the

Conclusion.

 

As with any other question type in CR, it is absolutely critical to divide the argument into premise and conclusion. After you have divided argument into premises and conclusions, try to think what assumption author made to reach to conclusion from premise.

 

Once you have found assumption, look at the option and eliminate the option that does not weakens the argument. In most cases the right answer will invalidate the assumption.

 

Let’s solve one example question from official guide –

People who do regular volunteer work tend to live longer, on average, than people who do not. It has been found that ‘doing good.’ a category that certainly includes volunteer work, releases endorphins, the brain’s natural opiates, which induce in people a feeling of well-being. Clearly, there is a connection: Regular releases of endorphins must in some way help to extend people’s lives.

Which of the following, it true most seriously undermine the force of the evidence given as support the hypothesis that endorphins promote longevity

(A) People who do regular volunteer work are only somewhat more likely than others to characterize the work they do for as a ‘doing good.’

(B) Although extremely high levels of endorphins could be harmful to health, such levels are never reached as a result of the natural release of endorphins.

(C) There are many people who have done some volunteer work but who do not do such work regularly.

(D) People tend not to become involved in regular volunteer work unless they are healthy and energetic to begin with.

(E) Releases of endorphins are responsible for the sense of well-being experienced by many long-distance runners while running.

 

Argument ->

People who do regular volunteer work tend to live longer, on average, than people who do not. It has been found that ‘doing good.’ a category that certainly includes volunteer work, releases endorphins, the brain’s natural opiates, which induce in people a feeling of well-being. Clearly, there is a connection: Regular releases of endorphins must in some way help to extend people’s lives.

 

Step 1 -> Divide the argument into premises and conclusion

Premises –

  • People who do regular volunteer work tend to live longer, on average, than people who do not.
  • It has been found that ‘doing good.’ a category that certainly includes volunteer work, releases endorphins, the brain’s natural opiates, which induce in people a feeling of well-being.

Conclusion –

Regular releases of endorphins must in some way help to extend people’s lives.

Step 2 ->Now try to think what could be the assumptions. The author finds that people who do regular volunteer work tend to live longer and volunteer work releases endorphins. Because of these premises author believes that endorphins in some way help to extend people’s lives. What if the people who are healthy and in general have longer longevity do regular volunteer work. In this case the argument will fail completely. Hence the assumption is that people who do work are equally healthy and have similar longevity in general as people who do not do volunteer work.

 

Assumption – People who do work are equally healthy and have similar longevity in general as people who do not do volunteer work.

 

Step 3 -> Now look at the option provided and try to eliminate the wrong answers.

(A) People who do regular volunteer work are only somewhat more likely than others to characterize the work they do for as a ‘doing good.’

This is out of scope option. It does not matter how people characterize the work.

(B) Although extremely high levels of endorphins could be harmful to health, such levels are never reached as a result of the natural release of endorphins.
This is out of scope options.
(C) There are many people who have done some volunteer work but who do not do such work regularly.

This is not related to the argument.

(D) People tend not to become involved in regular volunteer work unless they are healthy and energetic to begin with.

This is the correct option. It says that people who are healthy and energetic are only involved with the volunteer work.

(E) Releases of endorphins are responsible for the sense of well-being experienced by many long-distance runners while running.

This is not related to the argument.

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