• Nathan Fox

Must Be True - Say it Simply!

Test 19 - Section 2 - Question 10

Logical Reasoning Difficulty: 4


It's pretty easy to follow the argument. If every previous reshuffling was preceded by certain meetings, and if certain meetings have not happened, then why would we suspect that there's a reshuffling coming any time soon?

Of course, this does assume that things don't change. (They could always do a sneak attack, middle-of-the-night housecleaning right?) So the conclusion isn't proven. But it's not unreasonable either. Note the "likely."

Anyway, we're asked to describe a piece of reasoning employed by the argument. Basically, it's just "what did the speaker, for sure, do?" It's a variant on a Must Be True / Supported question.

A) Huh? I mean I guess this is true. If certain premises have a certain chance of being true, and if a certain conclusion would follow logically from those premises, then the conclusion has to have at least the same chance of being true. But so what? What's that have to do with this argument? Bye.

B) Ugh—fuckin' lawyers man. Why do they have to talk like this? Let me translate out of the lawyer-speak into something my grandpa Herb Fox (who came to California from Oklahoma by himself in sixth grade to find farm work) could understand: A hypothesis (folks say them dudes gonna get shitcanned!) is undermined (folks is full of bullshit o'course) when a state of affairs (buncha borin' meetin's) does not obtain (meetin's ain't happened) that would be expected to obtain (them meetin's done shoulda happened!) if the hypothesis were true (if them dudes was actually gonna get shitcanned). In other words: These rumors is all a bunch of bull, cause them fancy meetin's ain't happened! This is the answer. (Please don't ever write "does not obtain" at any point in your legal career. I will mock you if I ever catch you doing that shit.)

C) No, the available data does not support the hypothesis.

D) This is the opposite of the logic employed by the speaker.

E) The argument never presented two statements that cannot be compatible with one another. Incompatible means "cannot possibly be true at the same time." Like "X=2 and X=3." That simply didn't happen in the argument, so this is out.

The answer is B because it's an obnoxiously lawyerly way of saying something that could have been said in a much plainer way. Herb Fox would not have approved, and his editor grandson approves even less.

(Below: My grandparents Herb and Helen Fox; my niece Hailey Rose.)