CAT 2023 Question Paper Slot 2


The passage below is accompanied by four questions. Based on the passage, choose the best answer for each question.

The Positivists, anxious to stake out their claim for history as a science, contributed the weight of their influence to the cult of facts. First ascertain the facts, said the positivists, then draw your conclusions from them. . . . This is what may [be] called the common-sense view of history. History consists of a corpus of  ascertained facts. The facts are available to the historian in documents, inscriptions, and so on . . . [Sir George Clark] contrasted the "hard core of facts" in history with the surrounding pulp of disputable interpretation forgetting perhaps that the pulpy part of the fruit is more rewarding than the hard core. . . . It recalls the favourite dictum of the great liberal journalist C. P. Scott: "Facts are sacred, opinion is free.". . .

What is a historical fact? . . . According to the common-sense view, there are certain basic facts which are the same for all historians and which form, so to speak, the backbone of history—the fact, for example, that the Battle of Hastings was fought in 1066. But this view calls for two observations. In the first place, it is not with facts like these that the historian is primarily concerned. It is no doubt important to know that the great battle was fought in 1066 and not in 1065 or 1067, and that it was fought at Hastings and not at Eastbourne or Brighton. The historian must not get these things wrong. But [to] praise a historian for his accuracy is like praising an architect for using well-seasoned timber or properly mixed concrete in his building. It is a necessary condition of his work, but not his essential function. It is precisely for matters of this kind that the historian is entitled to rely on what have been called the "auxiliary sciences" of history—archaeology, epigraphy, numismatics, chronology, and so forth. . . .

The second observation is that the necessity to establish these basic facts rests not on any quality in the facts themselves, but on an apriori decision of the historian. In spite of C. P. Scott's motto, every journalist knows today that the most effective way to influence opinion is by the selection and arrangement of the appropriate facts. It used to be said that facts speak for themselves. This is, of course, untrue. The facts speak only when the historian calls on them: it is he who decides to which facts to give the floor, and in what order or context. . . . The only reason why we are interested to know that the battle was fought at Hastings in 1066 is that historians regard it as a major historical event. . . . Professor Talcott Parsons once called [science] "a selective system of cognitive orientations to reality." It might perhaps have been put more simply. But history is, among other things, that. The historian is necessarily selective. The belief in a hard core of historical facts existing objectively and independently of the interpretation of the historian is a preposterous fallacy, but one which it is very hard to eradicate.

Question 1

According to this passage, which one of the following statements best describes the significance of archaeology for historians?

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Question 2

All of the following, if true, can weaken the passage’s claim that facts do not speak for themselves, EXCEPT:

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Question 3

If the author of the passage were to write a book on the Battle of Hastings along the lines of his/her own reasoning, the focus of the historical account would be on:

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Question 4

All of the following describe the “common-sense view” of history, EXCEPT:

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The passage below is accompanied by four questions. Based on the passage, choose the best answer for each question.

Umberto Eco, an Italian writer, was right when he said the language of Europe is translation. Netflix and other deep-pocketed global firms speak it well. Just as the EU employs a small army of translators and interpreters to turn intricate laws or impassioned speeches of Romanian MEPs into the EU’s 24 official languages, so do the likes of Netflix. It now offers dubbing in 34 languages and subtitling in a few more. . . .

The economics of European productions are more appealing, too. American audiences are more willing than before to give dubbed or subtitled viewing a chance. This means shows such as “Lupin”, a French crime caper on Netflix, can become global hits. . . . In 2015, about 75% of Netflix’s original content was American; now the figure is half, according to Ampere, a media-analysis company. Netflix has about 100 productions under way in Europe, which is more than big public broadcasters in France or Germany. . . .

Not everything works across borders. Comedy sometimes struggles. Whodunits and bloodthirsty maelstroms between arch Romans and uppity tribesmen have a more universal appeal. Some do it better than others. Barbarians aside, German television is not always built for export, says one executive, being polite. A bigger problem is that national broadcasters still dominate. Streaming services, such as Netflix or Disney+, account for about a third of all viewing hours, even in markets where they are well-established. Europe is an ageing continent. The generation of teens staring at phones is outnumbered by their elders who prefer to gawp at the box.

In Brussels and national capitals, the prospect of Netflix as a cultural hegemon is seen as a threat. “Cultural sovereignty” is the watchword of European executives worried that the Americans will eat their lunch. To be fair, Netflix content sometimes seems stuck in an uncanny valley somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, with local quirks stripped out. Netflix originals tend to have fewer specific cultural references than shows produced by domestic rivals, according to Enders, a market analyst. The company used to have an imperial model of commissioning, with executives in Los Angeles cooking up ideas French people might like. Now Netflix has offices across Europe. But ultimately the big decisions rest with American executives. This makes European politicians nervous.

They should not be. An irony of European integration is that it is often American companies that facilitate it. Google Translate makes European newspapers comprehensible, even if a little clunky, for the continent’s non-polyglots. American social-media companies make it easier for Europeans to talk politics across borders. (That they do not always like to hear what they say about each other is another matter.) Now Netflix and friends pump the same content into homes across a continent, making culture a cross-border endeavour, too. If Europeans are to share a currency, bail each other out in times of financial need and share vaccines in a pandemic, then they need to have something in common—even if it is just bingeing on the same series. Watching fictitious northern and southern Europeans tear each other apart 2,000 years ago beats doing so in reality.

Question 5

Based on information provided in the passage, all of the following are true, EXCEPT:

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Question 6

The author sees the rise of Netflix in Europe as:

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Question 7

Based only on information provided in the passage, which one of the following hypothetical Netflix shows would be most successful with audiences across the EU?

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Question 8

Which one of the following research findings would weaken the author’s conclusion in the final paragraph?

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The passage below is accompanied by four questions. Based on the passage, choose the best answer for each question.

The Second Hand September campaign, led by Oxfam . . . seeks to encourage shopping at local organisations and charities as alternatives to fast fashion brands such as Primark and Boohoo in the name of saving our planet. As innocent as mindless scrolling through online shops may seem, such consumers are unintentionally—or perhaps even knowingly —contributing to an industry that uses more energy than aviation. . . .

Brits buy more garments than any other country in Europe, so it comes as no shock that many of those clothes end up in UK landfills each year: 300,000 tonnes of them, to be exact. This waste of clothing is destructive to our planet, releasing greenhouse gasses as clothes are burnt as well as bleeding toxins and dyes into the surrounding soil and water. As ecologist Chelsea Rochman bluntly put it, “The mismanagement of our waste has even come back to haunt us on our dinner plate.”

It’s not surprising, then, that people are scrambling for a solution, the most common of which is second-hand shopping. Retailers selling consigned clothing are currently expanding at a rapid rate . . . If everyone bought just one used item in a year, it would save 449 million lbs of waste, equivalent to the weight of 1 million Polar bears. “Thrifting” has increasingly become a trendy practice. London is home to many second-hand, or more commonly coined ‘vintage’, shops across the city from Bayswater to Brixton.

So you’re cool and you care about the planet; you’ve killed two birds with one stone. But do people simply purchase a second-hand item, flash it on Instagram with #vintage and call it a day without considering whether what they are doing is actually effective?

According to a study commissioned by Patagonia, for instance, older clothes shed more microfibres. These can end up in our rivers and seas after just one wash due to the worn material, thus contributing to microfibre pollution. To break it down, the amount of microfibres released by laundering 100,000 fleece jackets is equivalent to as many as 11,900 plastic grocery bags, and up to 40 per cent of that ends up in our oceans. . . . So where does this leave second-hand consumers? [They would be well advised to buy] high-quality items that shed less and last longer [as this] combats both microfibre pollution and excess garments ending up in landfills. . . .

Luxury brands would rather not circulate their latest season stock around the globe to be sold at a cheaper price, which is why companies like ThredUP, a US fashion resale marketplace, have not yet caught on in the UK. There will always be a market for consignment but there is also a whole generation of people who have been taught that only buying new products is the norm; second-hand luxury goods are not in their psyche. Ben Whitaker, director at Liquidation Firm B-Stock, told Prospect that unless recycling becomes cost-effective and filters into mass production, with the right technology to partner it, “high-end retailers would rather put brand before sustainability.”

Question 9

The central idea of the passage would be undermined if:

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Question 10

According to the author, companies like ThredUP have not caught on in the UK for all of the following reasons EXCEPT that:

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