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The organizers of tomorrow's outdoor concert announced that it will go on tomorrow on schedule unless bad weather is forecast or too few advance tickets are sold. If the concert is canceled, refunds will be made to ticket holders. Since some ticket holders have already been issued refunds even though more than enough advance tickets were sold, it must be the case that bad weather is forecast.

Question

Which of the following is an error of reasoning contained in the argument?

(A) It proceeds as if a condition, which by itself is enough to guarantee a certain result, is the only condition under which that result would occur.

(B) It bases a conclusion that is known to require two conditions on evidence that bears on only one of those conditions.

(C) It explains one event as being caused by another event, even though both events must actually have been caused by some third, unidentified event.

(D) It treats evidence for the absence of one condition under which a circumstance would occur as conclusive evidence that circumstance will not occur.

(E) Evidence given to support the conclusion actually undermines it.

This is an reading example from my GRE textbook, but it doesn't offer the answer key for it(that's why I ask here).

I choose B, because I don't quite understand it(maybe that's not a good reason to choose it). Here is my understanding for all the other options:

  1. [(A) It proceeds as if a condition, which by itself is enough to guarantee a certain result, is the only condition under which that result would occur.] I think A is correct, because it reflects the logic of {If the concert is canceled, refunds will be made to ticket holders.}

  2. [(C) It explains one event as being caused by another event, even though both events must actually have been caused by some third, unidentified event.] C is correct because refunds will be made if the concert is canceled, and both refund and the concert is canceled would be caused by either bad weather is forecast or too few advance tickets are sold.

  3. [(D) It treats evidence for the absence of one condition under which a circumstance would occur as conclusive evidence that circumstance will not occur.] D is correct, because it reflects {Since some ticket holders have already been issued refunds even though more than enough advance tickets were sold, it must be the case that bad weather is forecast.}

  4. [(E) Evidence given to support the conclusion actually undermines it.] I'm not quite sure what "it" refers to. If 'it' refers to the concert event, then I think D is also correct.

Is my understanding correct? What's B conveying? Finally, which one should be the answer for the question?

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the question does not have to do with understanding the English language but with reasoning out the answer to a poorly written exam question. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 10 '18 at 13:09
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo It's actually deliberately written this way to test one's understanding of the kind of tortured logic you're likely to encounter in graduate school. All in all, I'd say this kind of prose is generously comprehensible when compared with standard academic writing in certain humanities subjects. – Andrew Oct 10 '18 at 17:09
  • @Andrew: I think the question is shite because it requires you to make decisions on matters about which the question is silent. You basically have to map the answers to the question and figure out what the tester was thinking. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 10 '18 at 19:09
  • You're reading the problem wrong. It doesn't ask you to identify which of the 5 choices is "incorrect", with the other 4 being "correct". It's asking you to identify which of the five answers correctly describes a logical fallacy in the paragraph. – sig_seg_v Oct 24 '18 at 14:37
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Note that this question might be off-topic here as it is also about logic, though personally I think the question is fine staying on ELL.

The question asks

Which of the following is an error of reasoning contained in the argument?

It asks you to choose from the options a statement that describes a fallacy in the original text. You seem to be looking for the incorrect one, which is not what the question is about.

The answer is A, because the fallacy in the text is that it assumes if refunds occur, it has to be the result of the cancellation of the concert, which is not necessarily true. (Those who have been refunded could have decided to go to the beach instead; could have been asked to work overtime; could have suddenly become cash-strapped and needed the refunds; could have been banned/blacklisted by the host/venue and become unable to attend.) And A points that out.

Choice B assumes that one conclusion in the entire process of reasoning requires two conditions, but there isn't such a conclusion. The result that the concert be canceled only hinges on one of the two conditions, constituting an either or (disjunction).

Choice C assumes causality that doesn't really exist. Refunding is not necessarily caused by a downbeat weather forecast.

Choice D: I don't see "evidence for the absence of one condition." There is no absence of condition in your description.

Choice E: It refers to the conclusion, namely, the case that bad weather is forecast. "Evidence given to support the conclusion" possibly refers to some ticket holders have already been issued refunds even though more than enough advance tickets were sold. It doesn't undermine the conclusion. It just doesn't sufficiently lead to it.

  • My take to A was that if cancellation occurs, it will result in refunds. Does it make sense? – dan Oct 10 '18 at 4:03
  • Nice answer, but indeed the questin question is off topic. – laugh Oct 10 '18 at 4:07
  • @dan That is a correct corollary following the logic of the text. But you seem to understand cancellation as the condition in choice A, refunds the result. However, I think the condition alluded to in A is one of the two things following unless: bad weather is forecast or too few advance tickets are sold – Eddie Kal Oct 10 '18 at 4:23
  • @EddieKal Maybe, A is the answer because cancellation of the concert is not the Only reason to the refund, there could be some other reason(like personal one's) could lead to it. – dan Oct 10 '18 at 4:55
  • But tricky part is that the original text does not say if it allows the refunds for personal reasons. – dan Oct 10 '18 at 5:02

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