CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 58

The high cost of productions is severely limiting which operas are available to the public. These costs necessitate reliance on large corporate sponsors, who in return demand that only the most famous operas be produced. Determining which operas will be produced should rest only with ticket purchasers at the box office, not with large corporate sponsors. If we reduce production budgets so that operas can be supported exclusively by box-office receipts and donations from individuals, then the public will be able to see less famous operas.

Which one of the following, if true, would weaken the argument?

[A]. A few ticket purchasers go to the opera for the sake of going to the opera, not to see specific operatic productions.
[B]. The reduction of opera production budgets would not reduce the desire of large corporate sponsors to support operas.
[C]. Without the support of large corporate sponsors, opera companies could not afford to produce any but the most famous of operas.
[D]. Large corporate sponsors will stop supporting opera productions if they are denied control over which operas will be produced.
[E]. The combination of individual donations and box-office receipts cannot match the amounts of money obtained through sponsorship by large corporations.
Answer: C

The author concludes that if production costs for operas were lowered, then operas would no longer need corporate sponsorship, but instead could be privately financed; as a result, ticket buyers would be able to see a wider variety of operas, instead of just the most famous ones. (C) destroys this wishful thinking. If, without corporate support, opera companies could still afford to produce only the most famous operas, the argument falls apart.

(A) subtly strengthens the argument, by opening up the possibility that people would be willing to pay to see little known operas as opposed to famous ones.

(B) The argument isn’t affected in the least if corporate sponsors still wish to support opera, the whole issue centers on what will happen without corporate sponsorship.

(D) The author’s whole point is to produce the operas without corporate sponsorship, so this piece of info has no bearing on the argument.

(E) We can infer that the author has already thought of this, which is why her plan involves cutting production costs in order to produce operas without corporate support.

A simple restatement of something that the author is taking for granted as true (i.e. an assumption) doesn’t strengthen or weaken an argument; only a choice that breaks down or shores up this assumption can affect the argument in this way.

Don’t underestimate the power of asking yourself “so what?” when evaluating choices in strengthen/weaken questions; many choices in this question type are simply irrelevant, and therefore have no effect on the author’s logic.

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