We have learned how to divide an argument into premises and a conclusion. While splitting the argument, you should watch out for the order in which premises are stated. A common deductive fallacy seen in Critical reasoning question is when the premises and conclusions are true but invalid. The test taker evaluates them separately and finds truth in the statements, thus assuming that truth equals validity. This is not the case, and test creators are using ‘Affirming the Consequent’ fallacy to trap the GMAT test taker.
What is affirming the Consequent?
If ‘A’ & ‘B’ represent the statements, the affirming the consequent fallacy will be structured in the following format:
Premise 1: If A, then B
Premise 2: B
The format is easy to miss since statement B would be true, and Premise 1 follows the logical structure (If A then B). Premise 1 becomes the base of the argument, and test takers often doesn’t consider additional conditions apart from ’ A’ or order of the statement presented in the premise.
To understand the fallacy, let us look at a common example used in GMAT tests.
Premise 1: If Ron scores 720 in GMAT Exam, he will get into Harvard
Premise 2: Ron got into Harvard
Conclusion: Ron scored 720 in GMAT Exam
The fallacy is easy to miss. Pay attention to premise 1 and how “If A then B” statement is framed.
Test takers assume that the score is a pre-condition for getting into Harvard, and that is where the fallacy misguides them in picking the wrong answer choice. Ron can get into Harvard by scoring any score ranging from 720 to 799. Therefore making hasty conclusions based on one condition is false.
How to overcome ‘Affirming the Consequent’ fallacy
1) When you see conditions of the format If A then B, check and see if B can be caused by conditions other than A
2) Whenever Premise 2 is a statement, it is likely that the test creator would use the statement to make a faulty conclusion.
Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning (2019 Edition)
2) 6 Step Strategy to solve GMAT Critical Reasoning Questions
3) How to overcome flawed thinking in GMAT Critical Reasoning?
4) 4 GMAT Critical Reasoning Fallacies
5) Generalization in GMAT Critical Reasoning
6) Inconsistencies in Arguments
7) Eliminate Out of Scope answer choices using Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
8) Ad Hominem in GMAT Critical Reasoning
9) Slippery Slope in GMAT Critical Reasoning
10) Affirming the Consequent – GMAT Critical Reasoning
11) How to Paraphrase GMAT Critical Reasoning Question
12) How to Answer Assumption Question Type
13) How to Answer Conclusion Question Type
14) How to Answer Inference Question Type
15) How to Answer Strengthen Question Type
16) How to Answer Weaken Question Type
17) How to Answer bold-faced and Summary Question Types
18) How to Answer Parallel Reasoning Questions
19) How to Answer the Fill in the Blanks Question
Question 1: 5G Technology (Inference)
Question 2: Water Purifier vs. Minerals (Fill in the Blanks)
Question 3: Opioid Abuse (Strengthens)
Question 4: Abe and Japan’s Economy (Inference)
Question 5: Indians and Pulse Import (Weakens)
Question 6: Retail Chains in Latin America (Assumption)
Question 7: American Tax Rates – Republican vs. Democrats (Inference)
Question 8: AI – China vs the US (Weakens)
Question 9: Phone Snooping (Strengthens)
Question 10: Traditional Lawns (Assumption)
Question 11: Appraisal-Tendency Framework (Inference)
Question 12: Meta-Analysis of Diet Trials (Weakens)
Question 13: Biases in AI (Strengthens)
Question 14: Stock Price and Effectiveness of Leadership (Inference)
Question 15: US Border Wall (Weakens)
Question 16: Driverless Car and Pollution (Assumption)
Question 17: Climate Change (Inference)
Question 18: Rent a Furniture (Weakens)
Question 19: Marathon Performance and Customized Shoes (Weakens)
Question 20: Guaranteed Basic Income (Assumption)
Question 21: Brexit (Infer)
Question 22: AB vs Traditional Hotels (Assumption)
Question 23: Tax Incentive and Job Creation (Weakens)
Question 24: Obesity and Sleeve Gastrectomy (Inference)
Question 25: Recruiting Executives (Weaken)