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Complete Question Explanation

Method of Reasoning-SN. The correct answer choice is (B)

The argument concludes that since calls are the only means of the bats locating each other, and the pups cannot distinguish between various adult calls, the bat mothers must be able to distinguish their pup's calls.

The argument proceeds by explaining what the options are, and then eliminating all but one. You should focus on that when describing what the argument seeks to do.

Answer choice (A) Since the argument does not involve comparison between a sample and a population, it is unlikely that the argument generalizes from a small group, and this choice is wrong. Furthermore, this choice can be seen as somewhat contradictory, as pups seem different from the mothers.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. The argument attempts to arrive at a final explanation by eliminating options.

Answer choice (C) Since the argument does not describe the mechanism by which mothers use calls to locate their pups, this choice is wrong.

Answer choice (D) Since the argument implies that the pups and mothers may be different in their ability to distinguish calls, it does not follow that argument makes conclusions based on similarities.

Answer choice (E) The argument attempts to resolve the general rule concerning how pups and mothers reunite, not to apply that rule.
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I am confused about the question stem for this one: The argument seeks to do which one of the following?
So I tried isolating the conclusion which would be "it is clear that each mother bat can recognize the call of her pup" . So judging by the Answer choices I'm assuming this is a method question?

Also would the support for B come from the second half of the premise where it states "since the bats calls are the only means of finding one another, and a bat pup cannot distinguish the call of its mother from that of any other adult bat ....ext then the conclusion.

I choose A b/c
"millions of female bats" (all members of a group)
"although the mothers (representative members of a group)
it is clear that each mother bat cans recognize the call of her pup (derive general conclusion)

 Robert Carroll
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You are correct that this is a Method of Reasoning question. The question asks what the argument seeks to do. Of course, any argument seeks to prove its conclusion by reasoning in a certain way. Thus, the question is asking you to identify the method the argument used to get to its point.

The argument is trying to prove that mother bats recognize the calls of their pups, which is what leads them to return quickly to their pups after leaving. There are many other possible reasons why the mothers may be able to return so quickly - various other senses and the pups' ability to recognize their mothers, just to name two. The argument deals with these alternative explanations by giving evidence that they are not sufficient explanations of the mothers' quick return. Thus, the argument seeks to prove its explanation by excluding alternatives. This is why answer choice (B) is correct.

Answer choice (A) starts out fine, because it starts out by describing the conclusion as being general and about all members. Note that "millions of female bats" is not the language in the conclusion that shows this is general. Instead, that wording is "each female bat," which shows we are concluding something about each member of the group. Answer choice (A) goes wrong when it refers to "facts known about representative members." For this to be the way the argument proceeds, the argument would have to contain a premise that says we already know that certain members of the group of bats identify the calls of their pups. It would then have to show these members are representative, and then it would conclude that all members have this quality. The argument does not do this. We don't know how any mother identifies her pup. The argument is trying to explain the unknown fact, and it does so by excluding certain alternative possibilities. We never have concrete cases of knowledge that we can extrapolate to universal explanations - instead, the argument deals in generalities throughout.

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I initially chose E for my answer because I didn't recognize by eliminating the pup's ability to recognize their mother the stimulus was validating another option. I now understand the question and the correct answer. However, I wanted to determine if you could describe what the text would of had to say for E to be correct? I am asking because it was hard to disprove E because I couldn't fully comprehend what it meant.


 Nikki Siclunov
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This question is discussed in depth above, so check out our explanation.

For answer choice (E) to be correct, you need to demonstrate that a general rule applies to a particular case. For instance, if the author had stated, "the bat's calls are their only means of finding one another; therefore, since this particular bat was able to find its pup last night, it follows that they used their calls to find one another." This is not the reasoning in the original argument, because we are trying to figure out how a seemingly paradoxical general rule applies in a particular case, not simply demonstrate that it applies to it. The goal is to resolve a conundrum, not demonstrate an application.

Hope this clears things up!
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Hi, I had trouble with answer choice B's wording of "excluding". I read exclude to mean to deny considering other explanations, which would not be accurate with the stimulus. I looked up the definition of exclude which is defined as to "prevent or restrict access to", which would fall under my understanding of the word's meaning; where other explanations are restricted from being considered as opposed to considering multiple explanations and then denying alternatives.

Looking further, the legal definition of Exclude is

1 : to prevent or restrict the entry or admission of exclude hearsay evidence

2 : to remove from participation, consideration, or inclusion (as in insurance coverage)

I guess definition 2 is appropriate to the way exclude is used in answer choice B
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Hi PB,

That is the exact definition that you should use here. Well done! :-D

Thanks for the clarification!
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I don't understand why B is right, I thought to exclude other explanations you must specifically bring them up in the argument and then show that they are wrong or not possible. I know the stimulus says certain things aren't possible but I saw them more as facts than other explanations.
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 Dave Killoran
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egarcia193 wrote:I don't understand why B is right, I thought to exclude other explanations you must specifically bring them up in the argument and then show that they are wrong or not possible. I know the stimulus says certain things aren't possible but I saw them more as facts than other explanations.

Hi E,

The argument did exclude another explanation in saying "a bat pup cannot distinguish the call of its mother from that of any other adult bat." The bat pup being able to identify he call of its mother would be an explanation of how the two bats found each other. But, since that can't occur, and the call is the only means of finding one another, the author then says it must be the mom recognizing the pup.

In looking at these, I'd suggest you turn around the problem and reverse engineer it once you know the correct answer. Instead of asking why (B) is right or how it can be doing what it says, seek to determine why the test makers think (B) is right. This is a point I preach about a lot, and it has a massive impact on how you analyze problems. For example, while we want to know how you perceived the argument since that helps us spot where you went wrong (which can then be corrected), the marker we compare that to isn't our own analysis, but rather how the test makers would analyze the problem. If you can align with their thinking, your chances of success rise dramatically! So, it's less about what you thought was happening in the argument or answer, and much more about what the test makers thought. Always seek to understand what they were thinking. For example, it is clear here they thought this was the excluding of an alternate explanation, and so your job is to understand that idea and examine so that next time you could identify it. Does that make sense?

Good luck!
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Thanks, Dave that really helps thinking about it that way in the mind of the test makers and the way they think does actually help to make it easier to understand Furthermore, I feel like I defiantly talked myself out of choosing because it wasn't explicit enough as I was used to seeing alternative explanations used in prior questions but this defiantly helped.

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