CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 48

People with serious financial problems are so worried about money that they cannot be happy. Their misery makes everyone close to them—family, friends, colleagues—unhappy as well. Only if their financial problems are solved can they and those around them be happy.

Which one of the following statements can be properly inferred from the passage?

[A]. Only serious problems make people unhappy.
[B]. People who solve their serious financial problems will be happy.
[C]. People who do not have serious financial problems will be happy.
[D]. If people are unhappy, they have serious financial problems.
[E]. If people are happy, they do not have serious financial problems.
Answer: E

This is really a thinly veiled formal logic stimulus. The first sentence can be put into if-then form: If people have serious financial problems, then they can’t be happy.

And this, of course, is logically equivalent to its contrapositive: if people are happy, then they do not have serious financial problems.

(A) and (D) We can’t infer that serious financial problems (or in (A)’s case, serious problems—notice the scope shift) are the only things that can make people unhappy.

In this case, serious financial problems are sufficient to make people unhappy, but that doesn’t mean that this condition is necessary for unhappiness.

(B) and (C) also confuse necessary and sufficient conditions. Notice that when we negate the conditions, the paradigm shifts: Not having serious financial problems is necessary to being happy (according to the passage), but it is not sufficient.

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