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CAT 2022 Reading Comprehension Solution 07

[PASSAGE]

The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

We begin with the emergence of the philosophy of the social sciences as an arena of thought and as a set of social institutions. The two characterisations overlap but are not congruent. Academic disciplines are social institutions. . . . My view is that institutions are all those social entities that organise action: they link acting individuals into social structures. There are various kinds of institutions. Hegelians and Marxists emphasise universal institutions such as the family, rituals, governance, economy and the military. These are mostly institutions that just grew. Perhaps in some imaginary beginning of time they spontaneously appeared. In their present incarnations, however, they are very much the product of conscious attempts to mould and plan them. We have family law, established and disestablished churches, constitutions and laws, including those governing the economy and the military. Institutions deriving from statute, like joint-stock companies are formal by contrast with informal ones such as friendships. There are some institutions that come in both informal and formal variants, as well as in mixed ones. Consider the fact that the stock exchange and the black market are both market institutions, one formal one not. Consider further that there are many features of the work of the stock exchange that rely on informal, noncodifiable agreements, not least the language used for communication. To be precise, mixtures are the norm . . . From constitutions at the top to by-laws near the bottom we are always adding to, or tinkering with, earlier institutions, the grown and the designed are intertwined.

It is usual in social thought to treat culture and tradition as different from, although alongside, institutions. The view taken here is different. Culture and tradition are sub-sets of institutions analytically isolated for explanatory or expository purposes. Some social scientists have taken all institutions, even purely local ones, to be entities that satisfy basic human needs – under local conditions . . . Others differed and declared any structure of reciprocal roles and norms an institution. Most of these differences are differences of emphasis rather than disagreements. Let us straddle all these versions and present institutions very generally . . . as structures that serve to coordinate the actions of individuals. . . . Institutions themselves then have no aims or purpose other than those given to them by actors or used by actors to explain them . . .

Language is the formative institution for social life and for science . . . Both formal and informal language is involved, naturally grown or designed. (Language is all of these to varying degrees.) Languages are paradigms of institutions or, from another perspective, nested sets of institutions. Syntax, semantics, lexicon and alphabet/character-set are all institutions within the larger institutional framework of a written language. Natural languages are typical examples of what Ferguson called ‘the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design’[;] reformed natural languages and artificial languages introduce design into their modifications or refinements of natural language. Above all, languages are paradigms of institutional tools that function to coordinate.


Question: 1

" Consider the fact that the stock exchange and the black market are both market institutions, one formal one not." Which one of the following statements best explains this quote, in the context of the passage?

  1. Market instruments can be formally traded in the stock exchange and informally traded in the black market.

  2. The stock exchange and the black market are both organised to function by rules.

  3. The stock exchange and the black market are both dependent on the market to survive.

  4. The stock exchange and the black market are examples of how, even within the same domain, different kinds of institutions can co-exist.

Option: 4
Solution:
To get the right answer, we should go to that part of the passage where the quote has come. The author has stated a fact with some purpose and that purpose is to show that everything is intertwined. The options further help us arrive at the right answer. The example of stock exchange and black market has not come because the author wants to discuss the technicalities of these two things. He has discussed these to highlight a point of view and that view is there in option 4. It is the best answer because the broader point that the author wants to make through these examples is that different institutions can co-exist.

Question: 2

All of the following inferences from the passage are false, EXCEPT:

  1. institutions like the family, rituals, governance, economy, and the military are natural and cannot be consciously modified.

  2. as concepts, " culture" and " tradition" have no analytical, explanatory or expository power, especially when they are treated in isolation.

  3. the institution of friendship cannot be found in the institution of joint-stock companies because the first is an informal institution, while the second is a formal one.

  4. " natural language" refers to that stage of language development where no conscious human intent is evident in the formation of language.

Option: 4
Solution:
The question asks us to mark the right inference. In the first paragraph we have “universal institutions such as the family, rituals, governance, economy, and the military. These are mostly institutions that just grew. Perhaps in some imaginary beginning of time they spontaneously appeared… In their present incarnations, however, they are very much the product of conscious attempts to mold and plan them” From this we can falsify option 1. Further the passage says “Culture and tradition are sub-sets of institutions analytically isolated for explanatory or expository purposes.” …this helps falsify option 2. The passage later says “Institutions deriving from statute, like joint-stock companies are formal by contrast with informal ones such as friendships.” There is no evidence from this statement that can lead us to option 3. So, option 3 cannot be inferred. Since it cannot be inferred, it would be a false inference. There is no co-relation between the institution of friendship and the institution of join-stock companies, except that one is formal while the other is informal. The last paragraph of the passage says “Natural languages are typical examples of what Ferguson called ‘the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design’…This helps us infer option 4. Thus 4 is the best choice.

Question: 3

In the first paragraph of the passage, what are the two " characterisations" that are seen as overlapping but not congruent?

  1. " an arena of thought" and " academic disciplines" .

  2. " individuals" and " social structures" .

  3. " academic disciplines" and " institutions" .

  4. " the philosophy of the social sciences" and " a set of social institutions" .

Option: 3
Solution:
The answer to this question can be found at the start of the first paragraph, though we need to look closely as to what those two overlapping things are. The author in the first paragraph says “We begin with the emergence of the philosophy of the social sciences as an arena of thought and as a set of social institutions. The two characterizations overlap but are not congruent”…from this sentence one thing is clear that one of the characterizations is “social institutions”…this helps us eliminate 1 and 2 because neither has the word ‘institutions’ or ‘social institutions’. Out of 3 and 4, we can choose 3 because if one characterization is ‘social institutions’, the other is ‘an arena of thought’. What does the author mean by ‘an arena of thought’? It is not philosophy but academic study. Hence 3 is the best answer. We have to understand that it is the philosophy of social sciences that has two things: an arena of thought (academic discipline) and a set of social institutions.

Question: 4

Which of the following statements best represents the essence of the passage?

  1. It is usual in social thought to treat culture and tradition as different from institutions.

  2. Language is the fundamental formal institution for social life and for science.

  3. The stock exchange and the black market are both market institutions.

  4. Institutions are structures that serve to coordinate the actions of individuals.

Option: 4
Solution:
To answer this question, we have to look for the broader picture. Option 1 says ‘it is usual….’…whether something is usual or not is not the theme of the passage. Also, language and the stock exchange are not the broad ideas. 4 is the best choice simply by elimination because right across the passage the author discusses the importance of institutions. The last sentence of the paragraph says “Above all, languages are paradigms of institutional tools that function to coordinate.”….language is also an institution…but not the only institution.

CAT 2022 RC passage with solution

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