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Critical Reasoning: Conclusion Strengthening Questions

The Copper Butterfly, an unsigned classical painting, was carbon dated to ascertain its age, previously estimated at 520 years. Manuscripts from that time reveal that one of two possible artists must be responsible for the painting's creation. One of the artists died one week after the painting had been commissioned while the other died 13 years later. Because in those days oil paintings usually took a long time to complete, it was probably the artist who died later who painted the Copper Butterfly.

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the hypothesis that the Copper Butterfly was painted by the artist who died later?

Incorrect.

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This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the author's hypothesis. The cause of the artists' death is irrelevant in proving which of them painted the Copper Butterfly since it doesn't rule either of them out.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the author's hypothesis. The fact that the artist who died earlier finished a painting one week before Copper Butterfly was commissioned is irrelevant in proving which of them painted it.

For instance, if that artist started the other painting two weeks before the Copper Butterfly was commissioned, then he completed it in a week, which suggests he could have done the same with the Copper Butterfly. If he started the other painting earlier, he didn't. We simply do not have enough information.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice neither weakens nor strengthens the author's hypothesis. It is possible that Both artists could didn't paint another picture for the person who commissioned the Copper Butterfly: the artist who died earlier because, well, he would probably be dead; and the artist who died later because the person simply didn't commission another painting from him (or any other reason).

Incorrect.

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This answer choice weakens the author's hypothesis. Remember, we're looking to prove that the artist who died later was the one who painted the Copper Butterfly. The fact that the artist who died earlier usually left his paintings unsigned coupled with the fact that the Copper Butterfly was unsigned, undermines the theory that the artist who died later was responsible for it.

Fabulous work!

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This answer choice proves without doubt that the artist who died later painted the Copper Butterfly, thus strengthening the conclusion. If the artist who died earlier only had one week to work, and the paint-creation process took 11 days, it becomes clear that he would not have had enough time to complete the painting.

The artist who died later was murdered whereas the artist who died earlier passed away after contracting a disease that was plaguing the area.

The artist who died earlier completed a different oil painting one week before the Copper Butterfly was commissioned.

The oil paint used 520 years ago was produced by the artists themselves for each painting, in a chemical reaction that took eleven days to prepare.

The artist who painted the Copper Butterfly did not paint another picture for the person who commissioned it.

The artist who died earlier was known for leaving his paintings unsigned.