Try a Sample Logical Reasoning Question: Conclusion

Test J, Section 2, Question 1

Economist: Every business strives to increase its productivity, for this increases profits for the owners and the likelihood that the business will survive. But not all efforts to increase productivity are beneficial to the business as a whole. Often, attempts to increase productivity decrease the number of employees, which clearly harms the dismissed employees as well as the sense of security of the retained employees.


Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main conclusion of the economist’s argument?


A

If an action taken to secure the survival of a business fails to enhance the welfare of the business’s employees, that action cannot be good for the business as a whole.

B

Some measures taken by a business to increase productivity fail to be beneficial to the business as a whole.

C

Only if the employees of a business are also its owners will the interests of the employees and owners coincide, enabling measures that will be beneficial to the business as a whole.

D

There is no business that does not make efforts to increase its productivity.

E

Decreasing the number of employees in a business undermines the sense of security of retained employees.

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It’s critical to pause between sentences and make sure you’re engaging with the content. On this argument, I stopped after the second sentence and asked “wait, what? You just said boosting productivity ‘increases profits for the owners and the likelihood that the business will survive.’ But now you’re telling me that ‘not all productivity increases are beneficial to the business as a whole?’ Why?” As I begin the third sentence, I’m expecting evidence for the claim that was just made. And sure enough, that’s exactly what I find. The third sentence is a reason why the second sentence is true. In other words, it’s a “premise.” This premise supports the second sentence. If we rearranged the second and third sentences, and added “because” and “therefore,” it would sound like this:

“Because attempts to increase productivity decrease the number of employees, which clearly harms the dismissed employees as well as the sense of security of the retained employees, therefore not all efforts to increase productivity are beneficial to the business as a whole.”

It’s a very simple argument, with one premise and one conclusion. Because the third sentence supports the second sentence, the second sentence is the conclusion of the argument.

A and C are misstatements of the argument. D is background information that has no bearing on the logic. E is a premise in support of the argument’s main conclusion, which is B.

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