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Museums that house Renaissance oil paintings typically store them in environments that are carefully kept within narrow margins of temperature and humidity to inhibit any deterioration. Laboratory tests have shown that the kind of oil paint used in these paintings actually adjusts to climatic changes quite well. If, as some museum

directors believe, paint is the most sensitive substance in these works, then by relaxing the standards for temperature and humidity control, museums can reduce energy costs without risking damage to these paintings. Museums would be rash to relax those standards, however, since results of preliminary tests indicate that gesso, a compound routinely used by Renaissance artists to help paint adhere to the canvas, is unable to withstand significant variations in humidity.

In the argument above, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

A. The first is an objection that has been raised against the position taken by the argument; the second is the position taken by the argument.

B. The first is the position taken by the argument; the second is the position that the argument calls into question.

C. The first is a judgment that has been offered in support of the position that the argument calls into question; the second is a circumstance on which that judgment is, in part, based.

D. The first is a judgment that has been offered in support of the position that the argument calls into question; the second is that position.

E. The first is a claim that the argument calls into question; the second is the position taken by the argument.

Solution

Passage Analysis

(1) Museums that house Renaissance oil paintings typically store them in environments that are carefully kept within narrow margins of temperature and humidity to inhibit any deterioration.: This is a fact. This statement talks about the climatic conditions in which particular kind of paintings (Renaissance Oil) are kept in the museums. These conditions basically deal with controlling the temperature and humidity of the environment in which these paintings are kept so that they do not get spoilt.

(2) Laboratory tests have shown that the kind of oil paint used in these paintings actually adjusts to climatic changes quite well.: This is a fact. According to this statement certain lab test have shown that the oil used in the Renaissance Oil paintings adjust well with the climatic changes.

(3) If, as some museum directors believe, paint is the most sensitive substance in these works : This is an opinion held/judgment by some museum directors. According to this judgment, paint is the most sensitive element in the Renaissance Oil Paintings.

 (4) …then by relaxing the standards for temperature and humidity control, museums can reduce energy costs without risking damage to these paintings.: This is the author’s judgment which is based on the opinion held by museum directors (as discussed above in point No.3). According to this portion of the statement, the author says that if the belief held by some museum directors (paint is the most sensitive element in these paintings) is considered, then these museums can relax the stringent climate control regulations. Doing so, these museums can cut down on their energy-consumption bills, without putting the paintings at a considerable risk.

(5) Museums would be rash to relax those standards, however, …: This is another judgment by the author. The author goes against his earlier opinion (expressed in point 4), as marked by the key-word “however” in the phrase. The author opines that it would be a hasty decision on the museums’ part to actually relax the climate-control regulations.

(6) since results of preliminary tests indicate that gesso, a compound routinely used by Renaissance artists to help paint adhere to the canvas, is unable to withstand significant variations in humidity. : This is a fact. Just before this, the author opines that it would be a hasty decision on the museums’ part to actually relax the climate-control regulations. In this portion of the statement, the author gives reason for this opinion. The reason is that initial experiments suggest that another element present in the Renaissance Oil paintings (gesso) cannot adjust to significant changes in the humidity levels. Please note that controlling the humidity was one of the environment controls talked about in the first statement.

Pre-thinking

After the passage analysis, we should be able to pre-think the correct answer choice quite comfortably. Infact, bold-face questions are one of the two question categories, the other one being assumption, that lend itself easily to pre-thinking. Let’s extract our analysis of the two bold-face portions (as presented above):

(3) If, as some museum directors believe, paint is the most sensitive substance in these works :

 (4) …then by relaxing the standards for temperature and humidity control, museums can reduce energy costs without risking damage to these paintings.:

  • Gist of the analysis: the first bold-face portion is an opinion that has been used to support the judgment made in the second bold-face portion.

Now in every bold-face question, it is a good idea to evaluate how the bold face portions relate to the main conclusion of the argument. This is because the answer-choices in such questions will exploit your understanding of the logical structure of the argument. Accordingly, let’s analyze how the two bold-face portions relate to the main position taken by the author.

The final position taken by the author is expressed in point no (5) of the passage analysis. It is :

Museums would be rash to relax those standards, however, …:

Keeping the main position in mind, let’s see how best we can describe the two-bold face portions:

Bold-face 1 (BF1): If, as some museum directors believe, paint is the most sensitive substance in these works…

Bold-face 2 (BF2) :   …then by relaxing the standards for temperature and humidity control, museums can reduce energy costs without risking damage to these paintings.

Main position: Museums would be rash to relax those standards, however,

  • We can now clearly see that BF1 has been used to support BF2, which is a judgment that the main position of the argument does not support.

Please note that in the answer choices for bold-face , certain terminologies can be interchanged; for example,  conclusion/opinion/judgment/position may imply the same thing. Similarly, words representing the term “fact” could be  , observation, circumstance etc.

However, please note that there may be multiple positions/judgments expressed in the argument; for example, in the argument at hand, there are in all three judgments/position: one of the museum director and two of the author. Nevertheless, the position taken by the argument or the main position of the argument = main conclusion of the argument.

So while considering the following answer choices, please keep this reference handy. Let’s move on to evaluating the option statements.

Analysis of Option Statements

(A)   The first is an objection that has been raised against the position taken by the argument; the second is the position taken by the argument. This option is not correct. From the analysis done in pre-thinking, we can see that BF1 is not something that is raised against the position of the argument. It is an opinion that has been used to support a judgment that the position taken by the argument (main conclusion) opposes.Also as per this choice: the second is the position taken by the argument.Now we know that neither of the two BF portions is the position of the argument. Hence, this description is not correct.Therefore, answer choice A is incorrect.
(B)   The first is the position taken by the argument; the second is the position that the argument calls intoquestion. This is not the correct choice. As discussed earlier, neither of the two bold-face portion is the position taken by the argument. Hence, first part of this answer choice is not correct.The description of the second bold-face portion is correct in this answer choice. As discussed in the pre-thinking, BF2 is definitely a judgment/position that the position taken by the argument (main conclusion) disputes or opposes.However, since half part of this answer choice is incorrect, this option is incorrect.
(C)   The first is a judgment that has been offered in support of the position that the argument calls intoquestion; the second is a circumstance on which that judgment is, in part, based. 

 

This option is incorrect. Although the first portion of this choice is correct, the second is not.The description of BF1 matches the description we discussed in our pre-thinking. However, as per this choice BF2 supports BF 1. This is not correct. The case is just the opposite; it is BF1 that supports BF2.Please be careful of such answer choices in which half portion of the answer is perfect but the other half is not.Since in answer choice C, the description of BF2 is not correct, it is not the correct answer.
(D)   The first is a judgment that has been offered in support of the position that the argument calls into question; the second is that position. This option is correct. The first part of this answer choice is identical with the first part of answer choice C. As discussed then, this description is correct. Now let’s see how this choice describes BF2.As per this choice BF2 is the position which has been supported by BF1.  As discussed in the pre-thinking phase, this is absolutely correct.Hence answer choice D is the correct option.
(E)    The first is a claim that the argument calls into question; the second is the position taken by the argument.  This option is incorrect. As per this choice, BF is a claim that the argument as a whole disputes. Please note that the in the argument the author never comments on the opinion expressed in BF1. It is the judgment that BF1 supports that the author contests. Therefore, the description of BF1 is not correct.Also, according to this choice BF2 is the position taken by the author/argument. As established earlier, neither of the two bold-face portion is the position taken by author/argument. Hence, this description is not correct either.

 

 

-Solution created by Neeti Sohal.

 

 

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