#Similar Reasoning #Indicative Phrases

Question


It is true that it is against international law to sell plutonium to countries that do not yet have nuclear weapons. But if United States companies do not do so, companies in other countries will.

Which of the following is most like the argument above in its logical structure?

(Because of copyrights, the complete official question is not copied here. You can access the question here: GMAT Club)

Difficulty: Low

Accuracy: 88%

Based on: 677 sessions

Solution


The Story

It is true that it is against international law to sell plutonium to countries that do not yet have nuclear weapons. – To sell plutonium to specific kinds of countries is illegal. (When I read the phrase “It is true that” I get a sense that the author perhaps doesn’t agree with what follows.)

But if United States companies do not do so, companies in other countries will.“do not do so” – do what? do not sell plutonium to those countries. Overall, if US companies don’t sell plutonium to countries that do not yet have nuclear weapons, companies in other countries will sell plutonium to those countries.
Why is the word “but” there at the beginning? Sure, it expresses a contrast. But, what is the contrast?
Contrast: On the one hand doing a particular thing is illegal. On the other, if US companies don’t do it, others will. (Although illegal, someone or the other will do.)

Question Stem

Which of the following is most like the argument above in its logical structure?

So perhaps the answer choices will also be arguments. We need to select an argument whose reasoning structure is similar to the structure of the above argument.

What is the reasoning structure of the above argument?
While X is against the law, if they don’t do X someone else will.

Framework:
While going through the answer choices, I’ll first understand their reasoning structures and then compare them with the structure of the above argument.

Answer choice analysis


Answer Choice: A

Incorrect

Selected by: 5%

Reasoning structure: Doing X is against policy. But, in some cases to save lives they must go against the policy.
This answer choice also presents a contrast. The contrast here relates to going against a policy for the greater good (saving lives). The argument is not similar to the above one.


Answer Choice: B

Incorrect

Selected by: 1%

Reasoning structure: To refuse something is Illegal, but there’s been a tradition to object to it.
1. The tradition anyway has been to ‘object’ and not necessarily to ‘refuse’. e.g. I could object to my wife shopping, but I might not refuse.
2. Even if don’t worry about that nuance, the structure essentially is: Doing X is illegal, but people have been doing it. This logic is not similar to that of the above argument.


Answer Choice: C

Incorrect

Selected by: 2%

Reasoning structure: For government officials to do X is illegal, but in this case, the official did not do X.
Not the same.


Answer Choice: D

Correct

Selected by: 88%

Reasoning structure: X is illegal. But had this guy not done it, someone else would have.
Matches. The logic is similar.


Answer Choice: E

Incorrect

Selected by: 5%

Reasoning structure: There is a policy in place. But, many people do not follow it.
This structure is not similar to main argument’s.

Anish Passi

GMAT Coach

With over a decade of GMAT training experience, top 1 percentile scores on the CAT and GMAT, and a passion for teaching, I’d like to believe I am quite qualified to be a GMAT coach. GMAT is learnable, and I help students master the GMAT through a process-oriented approach based on logic and common sense. I offer private tutoring and live-online classroom courses. My sessions are often sprinkled with real-world examples, references to movies, and jokes that only I find funny. You’ve been warned 🙂

If you have any doubts regarding any part of this solution, please feel free to ask in the comments section.

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