CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 06

The term “pit bull” does not designate a breed of dog, as do the terms “German shepherd” and “poodle.” It is like the terms “Seeing-Eye dog” and “police dog,” which designate dogs according to what they do. If you take two German shepherds and place them side by side, you cannot tell by appearance alone which is the police dog and which is the Seeing-Eye dog.

Which one of the following is the main point of the passage?

[A]. German shepherds can be pit bulls.
[B]. Pit bulls can be distinguished from other kinds of dogs by appearance alone.
[C]. A dog is a pit bull because of what it does, not because of its breed.
[D]. German shepherds can function both as police dogs and as Seeing-Eye dogs.
[E]. Some breeds of dogs cannot be distinguished from other breeds of dogs by appearance alone.
Answer: C

breed—because everything that follows it is signaled by “as do...” and “It is like...,” both of which are reliable signals of evidence, examples, and analogies. Both police dogs and Seeing-Eye dogs—terms that are “like” the term “pit bull,” remember—are of the German shepherd breed, we’re told; what differentiates them is what they do. Inferably, then, a “pit bull” could be a dog of any number of breeds, because it’s a designation of what the dog does. (C) picks up on this analogy: If “Seeing-eye dog” and “police dog” designate dogs according to what they do, and “pit bull” is like those terms in this respect, then a dog can be designated a “pit bull” based only on what the dog does, irrespective of its breed.

(A) is quite possible, logically speaking, since “pit bull” is a term for a function not a breed. But it’s hardly the point the author is leading toward. The role of the German shepherd here is to illustrate the difference between breed and function.

(B) Au contraire, a pit bull is distinguished by what it does and not by appearance alone.

(D) repeats evidence. The phrase “It is like” introduces an analogy, and the last sentence (which is (D), after all) is there to explain what that analogy is all about.

(E) Distinguishing between breeds is totally outside the author’s scope.

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