750+ CAT RC (Reading Comprehension) Questions With Videos

Reading comprehension is an integral part of the VARC section of CAT. In the CAT exam, you will be given a passage followed by the questions asked based on the given passage. Practice the following CAT Reading comprehension sets from previous papers with detailed video solutions. Take them in a test format, or download all the questions in a PDF format. To get more detailed understanding go across CAT Previous Papers where you get a fair understanding of the exam. You can also get better understanding of these type of questions by taking numerous CAT mock tests. Click on the below link to download CAT reading comprehension questions with video solutions PDF for free. The best part is that the CAT experts explain all the questions in detail in the video solutions.

Mistakes To Avoid

Speed reading: Avoid speed reading, skimming, surfing, and other gimmicky techniques while taking an RC.

Reading the questions first: Reading the questions first will not be a good idea. Read the passage first and assimilate the information before moving on to the questions.

Maintain objectivity: Do not let your knowledge of a topic interfere with the information provided in the passage.

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    CAT Reading Comprehension Questions Weightage Over Past 6 Years

    Year

    Weightage (No. of Sets)

    202312

    2022

    12

    2021

    12

    2020

    12

    2019

    10

    2018

    10

    Tips to Improve Reading Comprehension for CAT

    Develop a Reading Habit: Read as much and as frequently as possible. A proper reading habit will strengthen your vocabulary and rapidly develop your comprehension capability.

    Start Reading That Makes You Interested: You must persistently maintain your initial reading streak and let it form a routine.

    Write the summary: To summarize what the article intends to convey in your own words. Analyze why the author has included the paragraph in the passage and how the paragraph is linked to the central idea of the RC passage

      CAT 2023 Reading Comprehension questions

      Instruction for set 1:

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

      Over the past four centuries liberalism has been so successful that it has driven all its opponents off the battlefield. Now it is disintegrating, destroyed by a mix of hubris and internal contradictions, according to Patrick Deneen, a professor of politics at the University of Notre Dame. . . . Equality of opportunity has produced a new meritocratic aristocracy that has all the aloofness of the old aristocracy with none of its sense of noblesse oblige. Democracy has degenerated into a theatre of the absurd. And technological advances are reducing ever more areas of work into meaningless drudgery. “The gap between liberalism’s claims about itself and the lived reality of the citizenry” is now so wide that “the lie can no longer be accepted,” Mr Deneen writes. What better proof of this than the vision of 1,000 private planes whisking their occupants to Davos to discuss the question of “creating a shared future in a fragmented world”? . . .

      Deneen does an impressive job of capturing the current mood of disillusionment, echoing leftwing complaints about rampant commercialism, right-wing complaints about narcissistic and bullying students, and general worries about atomisation and selfishness. But when he concludes that all this adds up to a failure of liberalism, is his argument convincing? . . . He argues that the essence of liberalism lies in freeing individuals from constraints. In fact, liberalism contains a wide range of intellectual traditions which provide different answers to the question of how to trade off the relative claims of rights and responsibilities, individual expression and social ties. . . . liberals experimented with a range of ideas from devolving power from the centre to creating national education systems.

      Mr Deneen’s fixation on the essence of liberalism leads to the second big problem of his book: his failure to recognise liberalism’s ability to reform itself and address its internal problems. The late 19th century saw America suffering from many of the problems that are reappearing today, including the creation of a business aristocracy, the rise of vast companies, the corruption of politics and the sense that society was dividing into winners and losers. But a wide variety of reformers, working within the liberal tradition, tackled these problems head on. Theodore Roosevelt took on the trusts. Progressives cleaned up government corruption. University reformers modernised academic syllabuses and built ladders of opportunity. Rather than dying, liberalism reformed itself.

      Mr Deneen is right to point out that the record of liberalism in recent years has been dismal. He is also right to assert that the world has much to learn from the premodern notions of liberty as self-mastery and self-denial. The biggest enemy of liberalism is not so much atomisation but old-fashioned greed, as members of the Davos elite pile their plates ever higher with perks and share options. But he is wrong to argue that the only way for people to liberate themselves from the contradictions of liberalism is “liberation from liberalism itself”. The best way to read “Why Liberalism Failed” is not as a funeral oration but as a call to action: up your game, or else.

      Question 1

      The author of the passage refers to “the Davos elite” to illustrate his views on:


      Instruction for set 1:

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

      Over the past four centuries liberalism has been so successful that it has driven all its opponents off the battlefield. Now it is disintegrating, destroyed by a mix of hubris and internal contradictions, according to Patrick Deneen, a professor of politics at the University of Notre Dame. . . . Equality of opportunity has produced a new meritocratic aristocracy that has all the aloofness of the old aristocracy with none of its sense of noblesse oblige. Democracy has degenerated into a theatre of the absurd. And technological advances are reducing ever more areas of work into meaningless drudgery. “The gap between liberalism’s claims about itself and the lived reality of the citizenry” is now so wide that “the lie can no longer be accepted,” Mr Deneen writes. What better proof of this than the vision of 1,000 private planes whisking their occupants to Davos to discuss the question of “creating a shared future in a fragmented world”? . . .

      Deneen does an impressive job of capturing the current mood of disillusionment, echoing leftwing complaints about rampant commercialism, right-wing complaints about narcissistic and bullying students, and general worries about atomisation and selfishness. But when he concludes that all this adds up to a failure of liberalism, is his argument convincing? . . . He argues that the essence of liberalism lies in freeing individuals from constraints. In fact, liberalism contains a wide range of intellectual traditions which provide different answers to the question of how to trade off the relative claims of rights and responsibilities, individual expression and social ties. . . . liberals experimented with a range of ideas from devolving power from the centre to creating national education systems.

      Mr Deneen’s fixation on the essence of liberalism leads to the second big problem of his book: his failure to recognise liberalism’s ability to reform itself and address its internal problems. The late 19th century saw America suffering from many of the problems that are reappearing today, including the creation of a business aristocracy, the rise of vast companies, the corruption of politics and the sense that society was dividing into winners and losers. But a wide variety of reformers, working within the liberal tradition, tackled these problems head on. Theodore Roosevelt took on the trusts. Progressives cleaned up government corruption. University reformers modernised academic syllabuses and built ladders of opportunity. Rather than dying, liberalism reformed itself.

      Mr Deneen is right to point out that the record of liberalism in recent years has been dismal. He is also right to assert that the world has much to learn from the premodern notions of liberty as self-mastery and self-denial. The biggest enemy of liberalism is not so much atomisation but old-fashioned greed, as members of the Davos elite pile their plates ever higher with perks and share options. But he is wrong to argue that the only way for people to liberate themselves from the contradictions of liberalism is “liberation from liberalism itself”. The best way to read “Why Liberalism Failed” is not as a funeral oration but as a call to action: up your game, or else.

      Question 2

      All of the following statements are evidence of the decline of liberalism today, EXCEPT:


      Instruction for set 1:

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

      Over the past four centuries liberalism has been so successful that it has driven all its opponents off the battlefield. Now it is disintegrating, destroyed by a mix of hubris and internal contradictions, according to Patrick Deneen, a professor of politics at the University of Notre Dame. . . . Equality of opportunity has produced a new meritocratic aristocracy that has all the aloofness of the old aristocracy with none of its sense of noblesse oblige. Democracy has degenerated into a theatre of the absurd. And technological advances are reducing ever more areas of work into meaningless drudgery. “The gap between liberalism’s claims about itself and the lived reality of the citizenry” is now so wide that “the lie can no longer be accepted,” Mr Deneen writes. What better proof of this than the vision of 1,000 private planes whisking their occupants to Davos to discuss the question of “creating a shared future in a fragmented world”? . . .

      Deneen does an impressive job of capturing the current mood of disillusionment, echoing leftwing complaints about rampant commercialism, right-wing complaints about narcissistic and bullying students, and general worries about atomisation and selfishness. But when he concludes that all this adds up to a failure of liberalism, is his argument convincing? . . . He argues that the essence of liberalism lies in freeing individuals from constraints. In fact, liberalism contains a wide range of intellectual traditions which provide different answers to the question of how to trade off the relative claims of rights and responsibilities, individual expression and social ties. . . . liberals experimented with a range of ideas from devolving power from the centre to creating national education systems.

      Mr Deneen’s fixation on the essence of liberalism leads to the second big problem of his book: his failure to recognise liberalism’s ability to reform itself and address its internal problems. The late 19th century saw America suffering from many of the problems that are reappearing today, including the creation of a business aristocracy, the rise of vast companies, the corruption of politics and the sense that society was dividing into winners and losers. But a wide variety of reformers, working within the liberal tradition, tackled these problems head on. Theodore Roosevelt took on the trusts. Progressives cleaned up government corruption. University reformers modernised academic syllabuses and built ladders of opportunity. Rather than dying, liberalism reformed itself.

      Mr Deneen is right to point out that the record of liberalism in recent years has been dismal. He is also right to assert that the world has much to learn from the premodern notions of liberty as self-mastery and self-denial. The biggest enemy of liberalism is not so much atomisation but old-fashioned greed, as members of the Davos elite pile their plates ever higher with perks and share options. But he is wrong to argue that the only way for people to liberate themselves from the contradictions of liberalism is “liberation from liberalism itself”. The best way to read “Why Liberalism Failed” is not as a funeral oration but as a call to action: up your game, or else.

      Question 3

      The author of the passage is likely to disagree with all of the following statements, EXCEPT:


      Instruction for set 1:

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

      Over the past four centuries liberalism has been so successful that it has driven all its opponents off the battlefield. Now it is disintegrating, destroyed by a mix of hubris and internal contradictions, according to Patrick Deneen, a professor of politics at the University of Notre Dame. . . . Equality of opportunity has produced a new meritocratic aristocracy that has all the aloofness of the old aristocracy with none of its sense of noblesse oblige. Democracy has degenerated into a theatre of the absurd. And technological advances are reducing ever more areas of work into meaningless drudgery. “The gap between liberalism’s claims about itself and the lived reality of the citizenry” is now so wide that “the lie can no longer be accepted,” Mr Deneen writes. What better proof of this than the vision of 1,000 private planes whisking their occupants to Davos to discuss the question of “creating a shared future in a fragmented world”? . . .

      Deneen does an impressive job of capturing the current mood of disillusionment, echoing leftwing complaints about rampant commercialism, right-wing complaints about narcissistic and bullying students, and general worries about atomisation and selfishness. But when he concludes that all this adds up to a failure of liberalism, is his argument convincing? . . . He argues that the essence of liberalism lies in freeing individuals from constraints. In fact, liberalism contains a wide range of intellectual traditions which provide different answers to the question of how to trade off the relative claims of rights and responsibilities, individual expression and social ties. . . . liberals experimented with a range of ideas from devolving power from the centre to creating national education systems.

      Mr Deneen’s fixation on the essence of liberalism leads to the second big problem of his book: his failure to recognise liberalism’s ability to reform itself and address its internal problems. The late 19th century saw America suffering from many of the problems that are reappearing today, including the creation of a business aristocracy, the rise of vast companies, the corruption of politics and the sense that society was dividing into winners and losers. But a wide variety of reformers, working within the liberal tradition, tackled these problems head on. Theodore Roosevelt took on the trusts. Progressives cleaned up government corruption. University reformers modernised academic syllabuses and built ladders of opportunity. Rather than dying, liberalism reformed itself.

      Mr Deneen is right to point out that the record of liberalism in recent years has been dismal. He is also right to assert that the world has much to learn from the premodern notions of liberty as self-mastery and self-denial. The biggest enemy of liberalism is not so much atomisation but old-fashioned greed, as members of the Davos elite pile their plates ever higher with perks and share options. But he is wrong to argue that the only way for people to liberate themselves from the contradictions of liberalism is “liberation from liberalism itself”. The best way to read “Why Liberalism Failed” is not as a funeral oration but as a call to action: up your game, or else.

      Question 4

      The author of the passage faults Deneen’s conclusions for all of the following reasons, EXCEPT:


      Instruction for set 2:

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

      RESIDENTS of Lozère, a hilly department in southern France, recite complaints familiar to many rural corners of Europe. In remote hamlets and villages, with names such as Le Bacon and Le Bacon Vieux, mayors grumble about a lack of local schools, jobs, or phone and internet connections. Farmers of grazing animals add another concern: the return of wolves. Eradicated from France last century, the predators are gradually creeping back to more forests and hillsides. “The wolf must be taken in hand,” said an aspiring parliamentarian, Francis Palombi, when pressed by voters in an election campaign early this summer. Tourists enjoy visiting a wolf park in Lozère, but farmers fret over their livestock and their livelihoods. .
      . .

      As early as the ninth century, the royal office of the Luparii—wolf-catchers—was created in France to tackle the predators. Those official hunters (and others) completed their job in the 1930s, when the last wolf disappeared from the mainland. Active hunting and improved technology such as rifles in the 19th century, plus the use of poison such as strychnine later on, caused the population collapse. But in the early 1990s the animals reappeared. They crossed the Alps from Italy, upsetting sheep farmers on the French side of the border. Wolves have since spread to areas such as Lozère, delighting environmentalists, who see the predators’ presence as a sign of wider ecological health. Farmers, who say the wolves cause the deaths of thousands of sheep and other grazing animals, are less cheerful. They grumble that green activists and politically correct urban types have allowed the return of an old enemy.

      Various factors explain the changes of the past few decades. Rural depopulation is part of the story. In Lozère, for example, farming and a once-flourishing mining industry supported a population of over 140,000 residents in the mid-19th century. Today the department has fewer than 80,000 people, many in its towns. As humans withdraw, forests are expanding. In France, between 1990 and 2015, forest cover increased by an average of 102,000 hectares each year, as more fields were given over to trees. Now, nearly one-third of mainland France is covered by woodland of some sort. The decline of hunting as a sport also means more forests fall quiet. In the mid-to-late 20th century over 2m hunters regularly spent winter weekends tramping in woodland, seeking boars, birds and other prey. Today the Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs, the national body, claims 1.1m people hold hunting licences, though the number of active hunters is probably lower. The mostly protected status of the wolf in Europe—hunting them is now forbidden, other than when occasional culls are sanctioned by the state—plus the efforts of NGOs to track and count the animals, also contribute to the recovery of wolf populations.

      As the lupine population of Europe spreads westwards, with occasional reports of wolves seen closer to urban areas, expect to hear of more clashes between farmers and those who celebrate the predators’ return. Farmers’ losses are real, but are not the only economic story. Tourist venues, such as parks where wolves are kept and the animals’ spread is discussed, also generate income and jobs in rural areas.

      Question 5

      The inhabitants of Lozère have to grapple with all of the following problems, EXCEPT:


      Instruction for set 2:

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

      RESIDENTS of Lozère, a hilly department in southern France, recite complaints familiar to many rural corners of Europe. In remote hamlets and villages, with names such as Le Bacon and Le Bacon Vieux, mayors grumble about a lack of local schools, jobs, or phone and internet connections. Farmers of grazing animals add another concern: the return of wolves. Eradicated from France last century, the predators are gradually creeping back to more forests and hillsides. “The wolf must be taken in hand,” said an aspiring parliamentarian, Francis Palombi, when pressed by voters in an election campaign early this summer. Tourists enjoy visiting a wolf park in Lozère, but farmers fret over their livestock and their livelihoods. .
      . .

      As early as the ninth century, the royal office of the Luparii—wolf-catchers—was created in France to tackle the predators. Those official hunters (and others) completed their job in the 1930s, when the last wolf disappeared from the mainland. Active hunting and improved technology such as rifles in the 19th century, plus the use of poison such as strychnine later on, caused the population collapse. But in the early 1990s the animals reappeared. They crossed the Alps from Italy, upsetting sheep farmers on the French side of the border. Wolves have since spread to areas such as Lozère, delighting environmentalists, who see the predators’ presence as a sign of wider ecological health. Farmers, who say the wolves cause the deaths of thousands of sheep and other grazing animals, are less cheerful. They grumble that green activists and politically correct urban types have allowed the return of an old enemy.

      Various factors explain the changes of the past few decades. Rural depopulation is part of the story. In Lozère, for example, farming and a once-flourishing mining industry supported a population of over 140,000 residents in the mid-19th century. Today the department has fewer than 80,000 people, many in its towns. As humans withdraw, forests are expanding. In France, between 1990 and 2015, forest cover increased by an average of 102,000 hectares each year, as more fields were given over to trees. Now, nearly one-third of mainland France is covered by woodland of some sort. The decline of hunting as a sport also means more forests fall quiet. In the mid-to-late 20th century over 2m hunters regularly spent winter weekends tramping in woodland, seeking boars, birds and other prey. Today the Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs, the national body, claims 1.1m people hold hunting licences, though the number of active hunters is probably lower. The mostly protected status of the wolf in Europe—hunting them is now forbidden, other than when occasional culls are sanctioned by the state—plus the efforts of NGOs to track and count the animals, also contribute to the recovery of wolf populations.

      As the lupine population of Europe spreads westwards, with occasional reports of wolves seen closer to urban areas, expect to hear of more clashes between farmers and those who celebrate the predators’ return. Farmers’ losses are real, but are not the only economic story. Tourist venues, such as parks where wolves are kept and the animals’ spread is discussed, also generate income and jobs in rural areas.

      Question 6

      Which one of the following statements, if true, would weaken the author’s claims?


      Instruction for set 2:

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

      RESIDENTS of Lozère, a hilly department in southern France, recite complaints familiar to many rural corners of Europe. In remote hamlets and villages, with names such as Le Bacon and Le Bacon Vieux, mayors grumble about a lack of local schools, jobs, or phone and internet connections. Farmers of grazing animals add another concern: the return of wolves. Eradicated from France last century, the predators are gradually creeping back to more forests and hillsides. “The wolf must be taken in hand,” said an aspiring parliamentarian, Francis Palombi, when pressed by voters in an election campaign early this summer. Tourists enjoy visiting a wolf park in Lozère, but farmers fret over their livestock and their livelihoods. .
      . .

      As early as the ninth century, the royal office of the Luparii—wolf-catchers—was created in France to tackle the predators. Those official hunters (and others) completed their job in the 1930s, when the last wolf disappeared from the mainland. Active hunting and improved technology such as rifles in the 19th century, plus the use of poison such as strychnine later on, caused the population collapse. But in the early 1990s the animals reappeared. They crossed the Alps from Italy, upsetting sheep farmers on the French side of the border. Wolves have since spread to areas such as Lozère, delighting environmentalists, who see the predators’ presence as a sign of wider ecological health. Farmers, who say the wolves cause the deaths of thousands of sheep and other grazing animals, are less cheerful. They grumble that green activists and politically correct urban types have allowed the return of an old enemy.

      Various factors explain the changes of the past few decades. Rural depopulation is part of the story. In Lozère, for example, farming and a once-flourishing mining industry supported a population of over 140,000 residents in the mid-19th century. Today the department has fewer than 80,000 people, many in its towns. As humans withdraw, forests are expanding. In France, between 1990 and 2015, forest cover increased by an average of 102,000 hectares each year, as more fields were given over to trees. Now, nearly one-third of mainland France is covered by woodland of some sort. The decline of hunting as a sport also means more forests fall quiet. In the mid-to-late 20th century over 2m hunters regularly spent winter weekends tramping in woodland, seeking boars, birds and other prey. Today the Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs, the national body, claims 1.1m people hold hunting licences, though the number of active hunters is probably lower. The mostly protected status of the wolf in Europe—hunting them is now forbidden, other than when occasional culls are sanctioned by the state—plus the efforts of NGOs to track and count the animals, also contribute to the recovery of wolf populations.

      As the lupine population of Europe spreads westwards, with occasional reports of wolves seen closer to urban areas, expect to hear of more clashes between farmers and those who celebrate the predators’ return. Farmers’ losses are real, but are not the only economic story. Tourist venues, such as parks where wolves are kept and the animals’ spread is discussed, also generate income and jobs in rural areas.

      Question 7

      The author presents a possible economic solution to an existing issue facing Lozère that takes into account the divergent and competing interests of:


      Instruction for set 2:

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

      RESIDENTS of Lozère, a hilly department in southern France, recite complaints familiar to many rural corners of Europe. In remote hamlets and villages, with names such as Le Bacon and Le Bacon Vieux, mayors grumble about a lack of local schools, jobs, or phone and internet connections. Farmers of grazing animals add another concern: the return of wolves. Eradicated from France last century, the predators are gradually creeping back to more forests and hillsides. “The wolf must be taken in hand,” said an aspiring parliamentarian, Francis Palombi, when pressed by voters in an election campaign early this summer. Tourists enjoy visiting a wolf park in Lozère, but farmers fret over their livestock and their livelihoods. .
      . .

      As early as the ninth century, the royal office of the Luparii—wolf-catchers—was created in France to tackle the predators. Those official hunters (and others) completed their job in the 1930s, when the last wolf disappeared from the mainland. Active hunting and improved technology such as rifles in the 19th century, plus the use of poison such as strychnine later on, caused the population collapse. But in the early 1990s the animals reappeared. They crossed the Alps from Italy, upsetting sheep farmers on the French side of the border. Wolves have since spread to areas such as Lozère, delighting environmentalists, who see the predators’ presence as a sign of wider ecological health. Farmers, who say the wolves cause the deaths of thousands of sheep and other grazing animals, are less cheerful. They grumble that green activists and politically correct urban types have allowed the return of an old enemy.

      Various factors explain the changes of the past few decades. Rural depopulation is part of the story. In Lozère, for example, farming and a once-flourishing mining industry supported a population of over 140,000 residents in the mid-19th century. Today the department has fewer than 80,000 people, many in its towns. As humans withdraw, forests are expanding. In France, between 1990 and 2015, forest cover increased by an average of 102,000 hectares each year, as more fields were given over to trees. Now, nearly one-third of mainland France is covered by woodland of some sort. The decline of hunting as a sport also means more forests fall quiet. In the mid-to-late 20th century over 2m hunters regularly spent winter weekends tramping in woodland, seeking boars, birds and other prey. Today the Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs, the national body, claims 1.1m people hold hunting licences, though the number of active hunters is probably lower. The mostly protected status of the wolf in Europe—hunting them is now forbidden, other than when occasional culls are sanctioned by the state—plus the efforts of NGOs to track and count the animals, also contribute to the recovery of wolf populations.

      As the lupine population of Europe spreads westwards, with occasional reports of wolves seen closer to urban areas, expect to hear of more clashes between farmers and those who celebrate the predators’ return. Farmers’ losses are real, but are not the only economic story. Tourist venues, such as parks where wolves are kept and the animals’ spread is discussed, also generate income and jobs in rural areas.

      Question 8

      Which one of the following has NOT contributed to the growing wolf population in Lozère?


      Instruction for set 3:

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

      For early postcolonial literature, the world of the novel was often the nation. Postcolonial novels were usually [concerned with] national questions. Sometimes the whole story of the novel was taken as an allegory of the nation, whether India or Tanzania. This was important for supporting anti-colonial nationalism, but could also be limiting - land-focused and inward-looking.

      My new book “Writing Ocean Worlds” explores another kind of world of the novel: not the village or nation, but the Indian Ocean world. The book describes a set of novels in which the Indian Ocean is at the centre of the story. It focuses on the novelists Amitav Ghosh, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Lindsey Collen and Joseph Conrad [who have] centred the Indian Ocean world in the majority of their novels. . . . Their work reveals a world that is outward-looking - full of movement, border-crossing and south-south interconnection. They are all very different - from colonially inclined (Conrad) to radically anti-capitalist (Collen), but together draw on and shape a wider sense of Indian Ocean space through themes, images, metaphors and language. This has the effect of remapping the world in the reader’s mind, as centred in the interconnected global south. . . .

      The Indian Ocean world is a term used to describe the very long-lasting connections among the coasts of East Africa, the Arab coasts, and South and East Asia. These connections were made possible by the geography of the Indian Ocean. For much of history, travel by sea was much easier than by land, which meant that port cities very far apart were often more easily connected to each other than to much closer inland cities. Historical and archaeological evidence suggests that what we now call globalisation first appeared in the Indian Ocean. This is the interconnected oceanic world referenced and produced by the novels in my book. . . .

      For their part Ghosh, Gurnah, Collen and even Conrad reference a different set of histories and geographies than the ones most commonly found in fiction in English. Those [commonly found ones] are mostly centred in Europe or the US, assume a background of Christianity and whiteness, and mention places like Paris and New York. The novels in [my] book highlight instead a largely Islamic space, feature characters of colour and centralise the ports of Malindi, Mombasa, Aden, Java and Bombay. . . . It is a densely imagined, richly sensory image of a southern cosmopolitan culture which provides for an enlarged sense of place in the world.

      This remapping is particularly powerful for the representation of Africa. In the fiction, sailors and travellers are not all European. . . . African, as well as Indian and Arab characters, are traders, nakhodas (dhow ship captains), runaways, villains, missionaries and activists. This does not mean that Indian Ocean Africa is romanticised. Migration is often a matter of force; travel is portrayed as abandonment rather than adventure, freedoms are kept from women and slavery is rife. What it does mean is that the African part of the Indian Ocean world plays an active role in its long, rich history and therefore in that of the wider world.

      Question 9

      Which one of the following statements is not true about migration in the Indian Ocean world?


      Instruction for set 3:

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

      For early postcolonial literature, the world of the novel was often the nation. Postcolonial novels were usually [concerned with] national questions. Sometimes the whole story of the novel was taken as an allegory of the nation, whether India or Tanzania. This was important for supporting anti-colonial nationalism, but could also be limiting - land-focused and inward-looking.

      My new book “Writing Ocean Worlds” explores another kind of world of the novel: not the village or nation, but the Indian Ocean world. The book describes a set of novels in which the Indian Ocean is at the centre of the story. It focuses on the novelists Amitav Ghosh, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Lindsey Collen and Joseph Conrad [who have] centred the Indian Ocean world in the majority of their novels. . . . Their work reveals a world that is outward-looking - full of movement, border-crossing and south-south interconnection. They are all very different - from colonially inclined (Conrad) to radically anti-capitalist (Collen), but together draw on and shape a wider sense of Indian Ocean space through themes, images, metaphors and language. This has the effect of remapping the world in the reader’s mind, as centred in the interconnected global south. . . .

      The Indian Ocean world is a term used to describe the very long-lasting connections among the coasts of East Africa, the Arab coasts, and South and East Asia. These connections were made possible by the geography of the Indian Ocean. For much of history, travel by sea was much easier than by land, which meant that port cities very far apart were often more easily connected to each other than to much closer inland cities. Historical and archaeological evidence suggests that what we now call globalisation first appeared in the Indian Ocean. This is the interconnected oceanic world referenced and produced by the novels in my book. . . .

      For their part Ghosh, Gurnah, Collen and even Conrad reference a different set of histories and geographies than the ones most commonly found in fiction in English. Those [commonly found ones] are mostly centred in Europe or the US, assume a background of Christianity and whiteness, and mention places like Paris and New York. The novels in [my] book highlight instead a largely Islamic space, feature characters of colour and centralise the ports of Malindi, Mombasa, Aden, Java and Bombay. . . . It is a densely imagined, richly sensory image of a southern cosmopolitan culture which provides for an enlarged sense of place in the world.

      This remapping is particularly powerful for the representation of Africa. In the fiction, sailors and travellers are not all European. . . . African, as well as Indian and Arab characters, are traders, nakhodas (dhow ship captains), runaways, villains, missionaries and activists. This does not mean that Indian Ocean Africa is romanticised. Migration is often a matter of force; travel is portrayed as abandonment rather than adventure, freedoms are kept from women and slavery is rife. What it does mean is that the African part of the Indian Ocean world plays an active role in its long, rich history and therefore in that of the wider world.

      Question 10

      On the basis of the nature of the relationship between the items in each pair below, choose the odd pair out:


      Instruction for set 3:

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

      For early postcolonial literature, the world of the novel was often the nation. Postcolonial novels were usually [concerned with] national questions. Sometimes the whole story of the novel was taken as an allegory of the nation, whether India or Tanzania. This was important for supporting anti-colonial nationalism, but could also be limiting - land-focused and inward-looking.

      My new book “Writing Ocean Worlds” explores another kind of world of the novel: not the village or nation, but the Indian Ocean world. The book describes a set of novels in which the Indian Ocean is at the centre of the story. It focuses on the novelists Amitav Ghosh, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Lindsey Collen and Joseph Conrad [who have] centred the Indian Ocean world in the majority of their novels. . . . Their work reveals a world that is outward-looking - full of movement, border-crossing and south-south interconnection. They are all very different - from colonially inclined (Conrad) to radically anti-capitalist (Collen), but together draw on and shape a wider sense of Indian Ocean space through themes, images, metaphors and language. This has the effect of remapping the world in the reader’s mind, as centred in the interconnected global south. . . .

      The Indian Ocean world is a term used to describe the very long-lasting connections among the coasts of East Africa, the Arab coasts, and South and East Asia. These connections were made possible by the geography of the Indian Ocean. For much of history, travel by sea was much easier than by land, which meant that port cities very far apart were often more easily connected to each other than to much closer inland cities. Historical and archaeological evidence suggests that what we now call globalisation first appeared in the Indian Ocean. This is the interconnected oceanic world referenced and produced by the novels in my book. . . .

      For their part Ghosh, Gurnah, Collen and even Conrad reference a different set of histories and geographies than the ones most commonly found in fiction in English. Those [commonly found ones] are mostly centred in Europe or the US, assume a background of Christianity and whiteness, and mention places like Paris and New York. The novels in [my] book highlight instead a largely Islamic space, feature characters of colour and centralise the ports of Malindi, Mombasa, Aden, Java and Bombay. . . . It is a densely imagined, richly sensory image of a southern cosmopolitan culture which provides for an enlarged sense of place in the world.

      This remapping is particularly powerful for the representation of Africa. In the fiction, sailors and travellers are not all European. . . . African, as well as Indian and Arab characters, are traders, nakhodas (dhow ship captains), runaways, villains, missionaries and activists. This does not mean that Indian Ocean Africa is romanticised. Migration is often a matter of force; travel is portrayed as abandonment rather than adventure, freedoms are kept from women and slavery is rife. What it does mean is that the African part of the Indian Ocean world plays an active role in its long, rich history and therefore in that of the wider world.

      Question 11

      All of the following statements, if true, would weaken the passage’s claim about the relationship between mainstream English-language fiction and Indian Ocean novels EXCEPT:


      Instruction for set 3:

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

      For early postcolonial literature, the world of the novel was often the nation. Postcolonial novels were usually [concerned with] national questions. Sometimes the whole story of the novel was taken as an allegory of the nation, whether India or Tanzania. This was important for supporting anti-colonial nationalism, but could also be limiting - land-focused and inward-looking.

      My new book “Writing Ocean Worlds” explores another kind of world of the novel: not the village or nation, but the Indian Ocean world. The book describes a set of novels in which the Indian Ocean is at the centre of the story. It focuses on the novelists Amitav Ghosh, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Lindsey Collen and Joseph Conrad [who have] centred the Indian Ocean world in the majority of their novels. . . . Their work reveals a world that is outward-looking - full of movement, border-crossing and south-south interconnection. They are all very different - from colonially inclined (Conrad) to radically anti-capitalist (Collen), but together draw on and shape a wider sense of Indian Ocean space through themes, images, metaphors and language. This has the effect of remapping the world in the reader’s mind, as centred in the interconnected global south. . . .

      The Indian Ocean world is a term used to describe the very long-lasting connections among the coasts of East Africa, the Arab coasts, and South and East Asia. These connections were made possible by the geography of the Indian Ocean. For much of history, travel by sea was much easier than by land, which meant that port cities very far apart were often more easily connected to each other than to much closer inland cities. Historical and archaeological evidence suggests that what we now call globalisation first appeared in the Indian Ocean. This is the interconnected oceanic world referenced and produced by the novels in my book. . . .

      For their part Ghosh, Gurnah, Collen and even Conrad reference a different set of histories and geographies than the ones most commonly found in fiction in English. Those [commonly found ones] are mostly centred in Europe or the US, assume a background of Christianity and whiteness, and mention places like Paris and New York. The novels in [my] book highlight instead a largely Islamic space, feature characters of colour and centralise the ports of Malindi, Mombasa, Aden, Java and Bombay. . . . It is a densely imagined, richly sensory image of a southern cosmopolitan culture which provides for an enlarged sense of place in the world.

      This remapping is particularly powerful for the representation of Africa. In the fiction, sailors and travellers are not all European. . . . African, as well as Indian and Arab characters, are traders, nakhodas (dhow ship captains), runaways, villains, missionaries and activists. This does not mean that Indian Ocean Africa is romanticised. Migration is often a matter of force; travel is portrayed as abandonment rather than adventure, freedoms are kept from women and slavery is rife. What it does mean is that the African part of the Indian Ocean world plays an active role in its long, rich history and therefore in that of the wider world.

      Question 12

      All of the following claims contribute to the “remapping” discussed by the passage,
      EXCEPT:


      Instruction for set 4:

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

      [Fifty] years after its publication in English [in 1972], and just a year since [Marshall] Sahlins himself died—we may ask: why did [his essay] “Original Affluent Society” have such an impact, and how has it fared since? . . . Sahlins’s principal argument was simple but counterintuitive: before being driven into marginal environments by colonial powers, hunter-gatherers, or foragers, were not engaged in a desperate struggle for meager survival. Quite the contrary, they satisfied their needs with far less work than people in agricultural and industrial societies, leaving them more time to use as they wished. Hunters, he quipped, keep bankers’ hours. Refusing to maximize, many were “more concerned with games of chance than with chances of game.” . . . The so-called Neolithic Revolution, rather than improving life, imposed a harsher work regime and set in motion the long history of growing inequality . . .

      Moreover, foragers had other options. The contemporary Hadza of Tanzania, who had long been surrounded by farmers, knew they had alternatives and rejected them. To Sahlins, this showed that foragers are not simply examples of human diversity or victimhood but something more profound: they demonstrated that societies make real choices. Culture, a way of living oriented around a distinctive set of values, manifests a fundamental principle of collective self-determination. . . .

      But the point [of the essay] is not so much the empirical validity of the data—the real interest for most readers, after all, is not in foragers either today or in the Paleolithic—but rather its conceptual challenge to contemporary economic life and bourgeois individualism. The empirical served a philosophical and political project, a thought experiment and stimulus to the imagination of possibilities.

      With its title’s nod toward The Affluent Society (1958), economist John Kenneth Galbraith’s famously skeptical portrait of America’s postwar prosperity and inequality, and dripping with New Left contempt for consumerism, “The Original Affluent Society” brought this critical perspective to bear on the contemporary world. It did so through the classic anthropological move of showing that radical alternatives to the readers’ lives really exist. If the capitalist world seeks wealth through ever greater material production to meet infinitely expansive desires, foraging societies follow “the Zen road to affluence”: not by getting more, but by wanting less. If it seems that foragers have been left behind by “progress,” this is due only to the ethnocentric self-congratulation of the West. Rather than accumulate material goods, these societies are guided by other values: leisure, mobility, and above all, freedom. . . .

      Viewed in today’s context, of course, not every aspect of the essay has aged well. While acknowledging the violence of colonialism, racism, and dispossession, it does not thematize them as heavily as we might today. Rebuking evolutionary anthropologists for treating present-day foragers as “left behind” by progress, it too can succumb to the temptation to use them as proxies for the Paleolithic. Yet these characteristics should not distract us from appreciating Sahlins’s effort to show that if we want to conjure new possibilities, we need to learn about actually inhabitable worlds.

      Question 13

      We can infer that Sahlins's main goal in writing his essay was to:


      Instruction for set 4:

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

      [Fifty] years after its publication in English [in 1972], and just a year since [Marshall] Sahlins himself died—we may ask: why did [his essay] “Original Affluent Society” have such an impact, and how has it fared since? . . . Sahlins’s principal argument was simple but counterintuitive: before being driven into marginal environments by colonial powers, hunter-gatherers, or foragers, were not engaged in a desperate struggle for meager survival. Quite the contrary, they satisfied their needs with far less work than people in agricultural and industrial societies, leaving them more time to use as they wished. Hunters, he quipped, keep bankers’ hours. Refusing to maximize, many were “more concerned with games of chance than with chances of game.” . . . The so-called Neolithic Revolution, rather than improving life, imposed a harsher work regime and set in motion the long history of growing inequality . . .

      Moreover, foragers had other options. The contemporary Hadza of Tanzania, who had long been surrounded by farmers, knew they had alternatives and rejected them. To Sahlins, this showed that foragers are not simply examples of human diversity or victimhood but something more profound: they demonstrated that societies make real choices. Culture, a way of living oriented around a distinctive set of values, manifests a fundamental principle of collective self-determination. . . .

      But the point [of the essay] is not so much the empirical validity of the data—the real interest for most readers, after all, is not in foragers either today or in the Paleolithic—but rather its conceptual challenge to contemporary economic life and bourgeois individualism. The empirical served a philosophical and political project, a thought experiment and stimulus to the imagination of possibilities.

      With its title’s nod toward The Affluent Society (1958), economist John Kenneth Galbraith’s famously skeptical portrait of America’s postwar prosperity and inequality, and dripping with New Left contempt for consumerism, “The Original Affluent Society” brought this critical perspective to bear on the contemporary world. It did so through the classic anthropological move of showing that radical alternatives to the readers’ lives really exist. If the capitalist world seeks wealth through ever greater material production to meet infinitely expansive desires, foraging societies follow “the Zen road to affluence”: not by getting more, but by wanting less. If it seems that foragers have been left behind by “progress,” this is due only to the ethnocentric self-congratulation of the West. Rather than accumulate material goods, these societies are guided by other values: leisure, mobility, and above all, freedom. . . .

      Viewed in today’s context, of course, not every aspect of the essay has aged well. While acknowledging the violence of colonialism, racism, and dispossession, it does not thematize them as heavily as we might today. Rebuking evolutionary anthropologists for treating present-day foragers as “left behind” by progress, it too can succumb to the temptation to use them as proxies for the Paleolithic. Yet these characteristics should not distract us from appreciating Sahlins’s effort to show that if we want to conjure new possibilities, we need to learn about actually inhabitable worlds.

      Question 14

      The author mentions Tanzania’s Hadza community to illustrate:


      Instruction for set 4:

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

      [Fifty] years after its publication in English [in 1972], and just a year since [Marshall] Sahlins himself died—we may ask: why did [his essay] “Original Affluent Society” have such an impact, and how has it fared since? . . . Sahlins’s principal argument was simple but counterintuitive: before being driven into marginal environments by colonial powers, hunter-gatherers, or foragers, were not engaged in a desperate struggle for meager survival. Quite the contrary, they satisfied their needs with far less work than people in agricultural and industrial societies, leaving them more time to use as they wished. Hunters, he quipped, keep bankers’ hours. Refusing to maximize, many were “more concerned with games of chance than with chances of game.” . . . The so-called Neolithic Revolution, rather than improving life, imposed a harsher work regime and set in motion the long history of growing inequality . . .

      Moreover, foragers had other options. The contemporary Hadza of Tanzania, who had long been surrounded by farmers, knew they had alternatives and rejected them. To Sahlins, this showed that foragers are not simply examples of human diversity or victimhood but something more profound: they demonstrated that societies make real choices. Culture, a way of living oriented around a distinctive set of values, manifests a fundamental principle of collective self-determination. . . .

      But the point [of the essay] is not so much the empirical validity of the data—the real interest for most readers, after all, is not in foragers either today or in the Paleolithic—but rather its conceptual challenge to contemporary economic life and bourgeois individualism. The empirical served a philosophical and political project, a thought experiment and stimulus to the imagination of possibilities.

      With its title’s nod toward The Affluent Society (1958), economist John Kenneth Galbraith’s famously skeptical portrait of America’s postwar prosperity and inequality, and dripping with New Left contempt for consumerism, “The Original Affluent Society” brought this critical perspective to bear on the contemporary world. It did so through the classic anthropological move of showing that radical alternatives to the readers’ lives really exist. If the capitalist world seeks wealth through ever greater material production to meet infinitely expansive desires, foraging societies follow “the Zen road to affluence”: not by getting more, but by wanting less. If it seems that foragers have been left behind by “progress,” this is due only to the ethnocentric self-congratulation of the West. Rather than accumulate material goods, these societies are guided by other values: leisure, mobility, and above all, freedom. . . .

      Viewed in today’s context, of course, not every aspect of the essay has aged well. While acknowledging the violence of colonialism, racism, and dispossession, it does not thematize them as heavily as we might today. Rebuking evolutionary anthropologists for treating present-day foragers as “left behind” by progress, it too can succumb to the temptation to use them as proxies for the Paleolithic. Yet these characteristics should not distract us from appreciating Sahlins’s effort to show that if we want to conjure new possibilities, we need to learn about actually inhabitable worlds.

      Question 15

      The author of the passage mentions Galbraith’s “The Affluent Society” to:


      Instruction for set 4:

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

      [Fifty] years after its publication in English [in 1972], and just a year since [Marshall] Sahlins himself died—we may ask: why did [his essay] “Original Affluent Society” have such an impact, and how has it fared since? . . . Sahlins’s principal argument was simple but counterintuitive: before being driven into marginal environments by colonial powers, hunter-gatherers, or foragers, were not engaged in a desperate struggle for meager survival. Quite the contrary, they satisfied their needs with far less work than people in agricultural and industrial societies, leaving them more time to use as they wished. Hunters, he quipped, keep bankers’ hours. Refusing to maximize, many were “more concerned with games of chance than with chances of game.” . . . The so-called Neolithic Revolution, rather than improving life, imposed a harsher work regime and set in motion the long history of growing inequality . . .

      Moreover, foragers had other options. The contemporary Hadza of Tanzania, who had long been surrounded by farmers, knew they had alternatives and rejected them. To Sahlins, this showed that foragers are not simply examples of human diversity or victimhood but something more profound: they demonstrated that societies make real choices. Culture, a way of living oriented around a distinctive set of values, manifests a fundamental principle of collective self-determination. . . .

      But the point [of the essay] is not so much the empirical validity of the data—the real interest for most readers, after all, is not in foragers either today or in the Paleolithic—but rather its conceptual challenge to contemporary economic life and bourgeois individualism. The empirical served a philosophical and political project, a thought experiment and stimulus to the imagination of possibilities.

      With its title’s nod toward The Affluent Society (1958), economist John Kenneth Galbraith’s famously skeptical portrait of America’s postwar prosperity and inequality, and dripping with New Left contempt for consumerism, “The Original Affluent Society” brought this critical perspective to bear on the contemporary world. It did so through the classic anthropological move of showing that radical alternatives to the readers’ lives really exist. If the capitalist world seeks wealth through ever greater material production to meet infinitely expansive desires, foraging societies follow “the Zen road to affluence”: not by getting more, but by wanting less. If it seems that foragers have been left behind by “progress,” this is due only to the ethnocentric self-congratulation of the West. Rather than accumulate material goods, these societies are guided by other values: leisure, mobility, and above all, freedom. . . .

      Viewed in today’s context, of course, not every aspect of the essay has aged well. While acknowledging the violence of colonialism, racism, and dispossession, it does not thematize them as heavily as we might today. Rebuking evolutionary anthropologists for treating present-day foragers as “left behind” by progress, it too can succumb to the temptation to use them as proxies for the Paleolithic. Yet these characteristics should not distract us from appreciating Sahlins’s effort to show that if we want to conjure new possibilities, we need to learn about actually inhabitable worlds.

      Question 16

      The author of the passage criticises Sahlins’s essay for its:


      Instruction for set 5:

      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 17

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


      Instruction for set 5:

      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 18

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


      Instruction for set 5:

      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 19

      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:


      Instruction for set 5:

      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 20

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

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