Practice Questions on Reading Comprehension
Verbal Test Questions and Answers

Common Information

Newton’s surprising success at developing the laws of motion, as well as the development and refinement of other physical laws, led to the idea of scientific determinism. The first expression of this principle was in the beginning of the nineteenth century by Laplace, a French scientist. Laplace argued that if one knew the position and velocity of all the particles in the universe at a given time, the laws of physics would be able to predict the future state of the universe.

Scientific determinism held sway over a great many scientists until the early twentieth century, when the quantum mechanics revolution occurred. Quantum mechanics introduced the world to the idea of the uncertainty principle, which stated that it was impossible to accurately measure both the position and the velocity of a particle at one time. Because Laplace’s omniscience could never occur, even in theory, the principle of scientific determinism was thrown into doubt. However, quantum mechanics does allow for a reduced form of scientific determinism. Even though physicists are unable to know precisely where a particle is and what its velocity is, they can determine certain probabilities about its position and velocity. These probabilities are called wave functions. By use of a formula known as the Schrodinger equation, a scientist with the wave function of a particle at a given time can calculate the particle’s future wave function. These calculations can give the particle’s position or velocity, but not both. Thus, the physicist is in possession of exactly half of the information needed to satisfy Laplace’s view of determinism. Unfortunately, under modern physics theories, that is far as any researcher can go in predicting the future.

Easy Reading Comprehension Question - 36

Q36.

Common Information Question: 4/4

Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the author’s conclusion in the passage’s final sentence?

A.

Some physicists believe quantum mechanics will eventually be discarded in favour of a new theory.

B.

Physicists still use Newton’s laws of motion to calculate the velocities and positions of planets and stars.

C.

Even if the position and velocity of a particle were known, predicting the future would be impossible because there are too many other variables to calculate.

D.

There is little to no chance that the modern theory of quantum mechanics will be overturned by another theory.

E.

No scientists are pursuing studies in the field of determinism.

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Common Information

Western analytical philosophy has contributed two major elements to the theory of the political good. It is unfortunate that the value of the first element, personalism, has been diluted by its close association with the second element, valuational solipsism. 

Personalism was developed in response to the belief that nations, states, religions, or any other corporate entity have interests that transcend the interests of the individuals that comprise them. The central tenet of personalism, therefore, is that institutions are good or bad insofar as they are good or bad for the individuals that are affected by them. Institutions are not good, for example, because they preserve the nation’s culture or because they protect the natural world, unless preserving the nation’s culture or protecting the natural world is good for the individual. As a philosophical assumption, personalism is most useful in countering arguments for practices that harm individuals in the name of "the greater good," or the "society at large." The personalist credo basically states that when it comes to interests, there are no interests but human interests.

However, an excessive devotion to the theory of personalism may lead one to fall into the trap of valuational solipsism. The word solipsism derives from the Latin for "lone self" and the theory of valuational solipsism takes the isolated individual as the sole judge of value. The problem with this viewpoint is obvious. By using the individual as the measure of the good, valuational solipsism neglects to consider the whole range of social values that are part of the political experience. These values include citizenship, status, and community, none of which can exist without reference to other individuals.

Instead, political theories are based entirely on non-social values such as happiness, material welfare, and utility, which are not dependent on interactions with others. Such a view obscures a fundamental quality of the political good.

Easy Reading Comprehension Question - 37

Q37.

Common Information Question: 1/4

The primary purpose of the passage is to:

A.

compare and contrast two important theories of the good in political philosophy

B.

defend a theory of the political good based on personalism from the attacks of valuational solipsists

C.

argue that an acceptance of personalism necessarily leads to an endorsement of valuational solipsism as well

D.

evaluate the impact that two major ideas have on the theory of good in political philosophy

E.

reject the theory of valuational solipsism as an appropriate way to arrive at the definition of the political good

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Easy Reading Comprehension Question - 38

Q38.

Common Information Question: 2/4

The passage suggests that a follower of personalism would be most likely to reject which one of the following policies?

A.

A union head decrees that all members must strike when the union strikes because it increases the power of the union.

B.

A politician intends to lower taxes on the middle class to put more of the workers’ money back into their hands.

C.

A school decides to abandon its uniform standards after the student body votes against them.

D.

The owner of a company decides to cancel the company insurance policy in order to increase his profit.

E.

The head of a religious institution announces that its members no longer have to give part of their incomes to the church.

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Easy Reading Comprehension Question - 39

Q39.

Common Information Question: 3/4

According to the passage, the author objects to which aspect of valuational solipsism?

A.

Adherents of it are less likely to recognize the contributions of personalism.

B.

It includes values such as happiness, material welfare, and utility.

C.

It fails to consider essential elements of the political good.

D.

It places too much value on the individual at the expense of the institution.

E.

It justifies policies that cause harm to individuals for the sake of the greater good.

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Easy Reading Comprehension Question - 40

Q40.

Common Information Question: 4/4

According to the passage, the primary value of the personalist assumption is:

A.

it refutes the belief that institutions have interests that transcend the interests of individuals

B.

it serves as a counterbalance to the excessive nature of valuational solipsism

C.

it demonstrates that institutions are incapable of being good or bad

D.

it aids in preserving a nation’s culture

E.

it provides an effective rejoinder to certain types of justifications

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