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Critical Reasoning: Conclusion Weakening Questions

On the 14th of March, the Emperor of the South was warned by a prophet that he must beware the ides, or 15th, of March, since he sees a bad omen for the Emperor on the following day. The Emperor did not heed the prophet and was killed on the 15th of March. A history professor has claimed, on the basis of this, that the Emperor was killed because the omen was real.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the professor's claim?



This answer choice is irrelevant to the argument because the fact that most people don't believe in omens doesn't mean that they can't come true.



This answer choice is irrelevant to the argument. Though we expect people in general to believe in what they say, the fact that someone doesn't believe in what he or she is saying doesn't mean that what they are saying is wrong.



This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the conclusion. The ratio of fulfilled to unfulfilled prophecies does not necessarily indicate whether the Emperor's death specifically was foreseen. Perhaps the other prophets were false and the emperor's was true? There is a better answer out there.

Way to go!


This answer choice exposes \ attacks the argument's assumption that the prophecy and the death occured in the same year. The prophecy clearly predicted something bad happening the following day, so if the prophecy was off by five years (49 B.C. is five years before 44 B.C.) the conclusion that it foresaw the emperor's death is weakened.



This answer choice strengthens the conclusion rather than weakening it. If all of our prophet's prophecies have come true, there are higher chances that the prophecy of danger to the emperor is no different.

A survey conducted last year shows that over 83% of people above the age of 18 do not believe in omens.
The prophet himself didn't believe in the omen he was prophesizing of.
Four other prophets prophesized that very same day in the same city and none of their prophecies came true.
The prophecy was made on March the 14th, 49 B.C. and the Emperor was killed on March the 15th, 44 B.C.
Every former prophecy made by the prophet in question came true.