Circular Reasoning on GMAT Critical Reasoning

Circular Reasoning on CR

In GMAT critical reasoning, there are several different types of questions that you will encounter. In this short article, we will cover the characteristics of questions involving circular reasoning and how to solve them.

Circular Reasoning

One type of fallacy found in GMAT CR questions is circular reasoning. Circular reasoning occurs when a conclusion is assumed to be true in reaching the conclusion.

Please take a look at the following example:

Example 1: Jack cannot lie because Jack always tells the truth.

This is circular reasoning.

Let us take a look at another example:

Example 2: There isn’t enough seating space on campus because there are too many students.

Let’s take a look at the most simple example:

Example 3: A is true because B is true; B is true because A is true.

Let’s now take a GMAT-like example.

Example 4: Hamdi: President Zoolander cannot win a fair election in Fitaro.
Alper: As per reliable international observers, Fitaro had a fair election and Zoolander is winning.
Hamdi: If this is true, the international observers are unfair.

Of the following, which best identifies the biggest logical flaw in Hamdi’s response?

Here, we have a dialogue followed by a question stem.

Step 1 – Read the question stem.
Step 2 – Read the argument.
Step 3 – Come up with a broad expectation from the correct answer choice.

Please try this yourself before reading on.

So, the first person says that Zoolander cannot with a fair election in this country. The second person says that reliable international observers have said that the country had a fair election, and Zoolander is winning. The second person then responds that if this is true, then the observers are unfair.

So, what is the biggest logical flaw here?

Option 1: He argues in a circle, using an unsupported assertion to dismiss conflicting evidence.

There are certain buzzwords here that make this a compelling answer choice – “argues in a circle”, “unsupported assertion”, and “dismiss conflicting evidence”. This is as good an answer for this question as can be.

This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to the Experts’ Global Stage One Critical Reasoning videos.

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