1. If I don’t study for the midterm, I’ll probably fail. But in any case I shouldn’t study, because the midterm will be so difficult that I’ll probably fail anyway.

The argument relies on which one of the following assumptions?

a) Most students who write the midterm will find it difficult.

b) If I fail the midterm, it’s probably because I didn’t study.

c) Studying a little bit for the midterm is better than not studying at all.

d) Studying for the midterm and not studying for the midterm will have equivalent effects on my ability to do well on the midterm.

e) The professor made the midterm difficult to send a message to students.

 

2. Jaren: People who drink too much should be held accountable for their actions while they are inebriated. You drank too much at the office party and decided it was a good idea to let a squirrel into the office; therefore, I think you should be fired.

Tom: But that would be unjust! I am a valuable member of the organization, and sometimes individuals’ qualifications within their professional roles can make up for their mistakes in social settings.

The point at issue between Jaren and Tom is whether

a) people who drink too much should be held accountable for their actions

b) Tom drank too much at the office party

c) Tom should be fired for drunkenly letting a squirrel into the office

d) Tom is a valuable member of the organization

e) individuals’ qualifications within their professional roles can make up for their mistakes in social settings

 

3. If my TA really hated me, she would have given me an F on my paper. I got an F on my paper, so my TA hates me.

The argument is flawed in that it

a) conflates correlation with causation

b) confuses a necessary condition with a sufficient condition

c) assumes the conclusion it seeks to establish

d) relies on two premises that are inherently contradictory

e) fails to provide sufficient evidence for one of the given premises

 

4. The Varsity recently reported on a particularly salacious aspect of campus news. But The Varsity clearly benefits from breaking this story, so the statements made in the story are probably untrue.

Which of the following would most seriously weaken the argument?

a) The organization scrutinized by the news story refused The Varsity’s requests for comment.

b) A different campus newspaper reported on the story a week later, and the facts in this second report were entirely different from those presented in The Varsity.

c) The Varsity receives much more negative than positive feedback when breaking stories of this nature.

d) The story broke during a particularly sluggish news week.

e) Most of the things The Varsity says are untrue anyway.

 

Want more practice with logical reasoning? Give writing for Comment a try. Email comment@thevarsity.ca to get started.

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