Elitmus Previous Years Reading Comprehension Paper
Our propensity to look out for regularities, and to impose laws upon nature, leads to the psychological phenomenon of dogmatic thinking or, more generally, dogmatic behaviour: we expect regularities everywhere and attempt to find them even where there are none; events which do not yield to these attempts we are inclined to treat as a kind of ‘background noise’; and we stick to our expectations even when they are inadequate and we ought to accept defeat. This dogmatism is to some extent necessary. It is demanded by a situation which can only be dealt with by forcing our conjectures upon the world. Moreover, this dogmatism allows us to approach a good theory in stages, by way of approximations: if we accept defeat too easily, we may prevent ourselves from finding that we were very nearly right.
It is clear that this dogmatic attitude, which makes us stick to our first impressions, is indicative of a strong belief; while a critical attitude, which is ready to modify its tenets, which admits doubt and demands tests, is indicative of a weaker belief. Now according to Hume’s theory, and to the popular theory, the strength of a belief should be a product of repetition; thus it should always grow with experience, and always be greater in less primitive persons. But dogmatic thinking, an uncontrolled wish to impose regularities, a manifest pleasure in rites and in repetition as such, is characteristic of primitives and children; and increasing experience and maturity sometimes create an attitude of caution and criticism rather than of dogmatism.
My logical criticism of Hume’s psychological theory, and the considerations connected with it, may seem a little removed from the field of the philosophy of science. But the distinction between dogmatic and critical thinking, or the dogmatic and the critical attitude, brings us right back to our central problem. For the dogmatic attitude is clearly related to the tendency to verify our laws and schemata by seeking to apply them and to confirm them, even to the point of neglecting refutations, whereas the critical attitude is one of readiness to change them — to test them; to refute them; to falsify them, if possible. This suggests that we may identify the critical attitude with the scientific attitude, and the dogmatic attitude with the one which we have described as pseudo-scientific. It further suggests that genetically speaking the pseudo-scientific attitude is more primitive than, and prior to, the scientific attitude: that it is a pre-scientific attitude. And this primitivity or priority also has its logical aspect. For the critical attitude is not so much opposed to the dogmatic attitude as super-imposed upon it: criticism must be directed against existing and influential beliefs in need of critical revision — in other words, dogmatic beliefs. A critical attitude needs for its raw material, as it were, theories or beliefs which are held more or less dogmatically.
Thus, science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths; neither with the collection of observations, nor with the invention of experiments, but with the critical discussion of myths, and of magical techniques and practices. The scientific tradition is distinguished from the pre-scientific tradition in having two layers. Like the latter, it passes on its theories; but it also passes on a critical attitude towards them. The theories are passed on, not as dogmas, but rather with the challenge to discuss them and improve upon them.
The critical attitude, the tradition of free discussion of theories with the aim of discovering their weak spots so that they may be improved upon, is the attitude of reasonableness, of rationality. From the point of view here developed, all laws, all theories, remain essentially tentative, or conjectural, or hypothetical, even when we feel unable to doubt them any longer. Before a theory has been refuted we can never know in what way it may have to be modified.
1).In the context of science, according to the passage, the interaction of dogmatic beliefs and critical attitude can be best described as:
A) A duel between two warriors in which one has to die.
B) The effect of a chisel on a marble stone while making a sculpture
C) The feedshare (natural gas) in fertilizer industry being transformed into fertilizers
D)A predator killing its prey
E) The effect of fertilizers on a sapling
Solution in the end
2).According to the passage, the role of a dogmatic attitude or dogmatic behaviour in the development of science is
A) critical and important, as, without it, initial hypotheses or conjectures can never be made
B) positive, as conjectures arising out of our dogmatic attitude become science
C) negative, as it leads to pseudo-science
D) neutral, as the development of science is essentially because of our critical attitude
E) inferior to critical attitude, as a critical attitude leads to the attitude of reasonableness and rationality
Solution in the end
3).Dogmatic behaviour, in this passage, has been associated with primitives and children. Which of the following best describes the reason why the author compares primitives with children?
A) Primitives are people who are not educated, and hence can be compared with children, who have not yet been through school
B) Primitives are people who, though not modern, are as innocent as children
C) Primitives are people without a critical attitude, just as children are
D) Primitives are people in the early stages of human evolution; similarly, children are in the early stages of their lives
E) Primitives are people who are not civilized enough, just as children are not
Solution in the end
4).According to the passage, which of the following statements best describes the difference between science and pseudo-science?
A) Scientific theories or hypotheses are tentatively true whereas pseudo-sciences are always true
B) Scientific laws and theories are permanent and immutable whereas pseudo-sciences are contingent on the prevalent mode of thinking in a society
C) Science always allows the possibility of rejecting a theory or hypothesis, whereas pseudosciences seek to validate their ideas or theories
D) Science focuses on anomalies and exceptions so that fundamental truths can be uncovered, whereas pseudo-sciences focus mainly on general truths
E) Science progresses by collection of observations or by experimentation, whereas pseudo-sciences do not worry about observations and experiments
Solution in the end
5).Which of the inferences can be drawn if everything said in the passage were assumed to be true?
A) Rebellions are fuelled by social reforms and avoided by supported established authorities or continuing the present state of affairs
B) The American policy towards Asia can be called an overall success, though small in magnitude
C) Kennedy, in 1958, wanted America to aid South American countries to acquire more support in their fight against communism
D) Eisenhower rejected the Marshall Plane whereas Kennedy implemented a similar one
Solution in the end
1-b, 2-a, 3-d, 4-c, 5-a
Question 1 Explanation:
Solution: Refer to the line from paragraph 3: “A critical attitude needs for its raw material, as it were, theories or beliefs which are held more or less dogmatically” explains that such attitude can be best described the effect of a chisel on a marble stone while making a sculpture. We can infer option B as the right choice from these lines
Question 2 Explanation:
Solution: Refer to the line from paragraph 3: “It further suggests that genetically speaking the pseudo-scientific attitude is more primitive than, and prior to, the scientific attitude: that it is a pre-scientific attitude” explains that dogmatic behaviour in the development of science is critical and important as without it initial hypotheses or conjectures can never be made. We can infer option A as the right choice from these lines
Question 3 Explanation:
Solution: Refer to the line from paragraph 2: “But dogmatic thinking, an uncontrolled wish to impose regularities, a manifest pleasure in rites and in repetition as such, is characteristic of primitives and children; and increasing experience and maturity sometimes create an attitude of caution and criticism rather than of dogmatism” explains the element of time which is only taken care in option D. Hence, it is the right answer choice
Question 4 Explanation:
Solution: Refer to the line from paragraph 3: “It further suggests that genetically speaking the pseudo-scientific attitude is more primitive than, and prior to, the scientific attitude: that it is a pre-scientific attitude” explains that dogmatic attitudes main aim is to verify the laws. The same idea has been expressed in option C. Thus, it is the right answer choice
Question 5 Explanation:
Explanation: The line from paragraph 3 of the passage,”this aid go to bolster up established regimes and thus help maintain status quo, or should it be used to speed up social reforms, even at the risk of revolt?” explains that option A is the right choice