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Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2 Notes | Study Level-wise Tests for CAT - CAT

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Passage - 1

Directions: Read the following passage and answer the question based on the passage.
Facts conscientiously observed lead by induction to the enunciation of a certain number of laws or general hypotheses which, in turn, lead to the formation of principal hypotheses. These principal hypotheses are, in the eyes of a physicist, legitimate generalizations, the consequences of which we shall be able at once to check by the experiments from which they issue.

Among the principles almost universally adopted until lately figure prominently those of mechanics - such as the principle of relativity, and the principle of the equality of action and reaction. Point to note here is how recent theories on the phenomena of electricity have shaken the confidence of physicists in them and have led certain scholars to doubt their absolute value.

The principle of Lavoisier, or principle of the conservation of mass, presents itself under two different aspects according to whether mass is looked upon as the coefficient of the inertia of matter or as the factor which intervenes in the phenomena of universal attraction, and particularly in gravitation. We have been led to suppose that inertia depended on velocity and even on direction. If this conception were exact, the principle of the invariability of mass would naturally be destroyed. Considered as a factor of attraction, is mass really indestructible?

A few years ago such a question would have seemed singularly audacious. And yet the law of Lavoisier is so far from self-evident that for centuries it escaped the notice of physicists and chemists. But its great apparent simplicity and its high character of generality, when enunciated at the end of the eighteenth century, rapidly gave it such an authority that no one was able to any longer dispute it unless he desired the reputation of an oddity inclined to paradoxical ideas.

It is important, however, to remark that, under fallacious metaphysical appearances, we are in reality using empty words when we repeat the aphorism, "Nothing can be lost, nothing can be created," and deduce from it the indestructibility of matter. This indestructibility, in truth, is an experimental fact, and the principle depends on experiment. It may even seem, at first sight, more singular than not that the weight of a bodily system in a given place, or the quotient of this weight by that of the standard mass - that is to say, the mass of these bodies - remains invariable, both when the temperature changes and when chemical reagents cause the original materials to disappear and to be replaced by new ones. We may certainly consider that in chemical phenomenon annihilations and creations of matter are really produced; but the experimental law teaches us that there is compensation in certain respects.

The discovery of the radioactive bodies has, in some sort, rendered popular the speculations of physicists on the phenomena of the indestructible nature of matter. We shall have to seek the exact meaning which ought to be given to the experiments on the emanation of these bodies, and to discover whether these experiments really imperil the law of Lavoisier.

For some years different experimenters have also effected many very precise measurements of the weight of diver’s bodies both before and after chemical reactions between these bodies. Two highly experienced and cautious physicists, Professors Landolt and Heydweiller, have not hesitated to announce the sensational result that in certain circumstances the weight is no longer the same after as before the reaction. In particular, the weight of a solution of salts of copper in water is not the exact sum of the joint weights of the salt and the water. Such experiments are evidently very delicate; they have been disputed, and they cannot be considered as sufficient for conviction. It follows nevertheless that it is no longer forbidden to regard the law of Lavoisier as only an approximate law; according to Sandford and Ray, this approximation would be about 1/2,400,000. This is also the result reached by Professor Poynting in experiments regarding the possible action of temperature on the weight of a body; and if this be really so, we may reassure ourselves, and from the point of view of practical application may continue to look upon matter as indestructible.

Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:What can be the suitable title of the passage?
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Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:What is the main point of criticism of Lavoisier given by the author?
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Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:How according to the author, do principal hypotheses become legitimate generalizations?
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Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:The author would agree with which of the following?
I. Law of Lavoisier can be utilized for practical application.
II. To start with, Law of Lavoisier was not subjected to closer scrutiny because of its simplistic and universal character.
III. Facts independently and fastidiously tested and verified in the support of a set of laws lead to the formulation of hypotheses.
IV. Inertia is directly proportional to velocity and direction.
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Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:The author considers the aphorism, Nothing can be lost, nothing can be created, to be empty words, because
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Passage - 2

Directions: Read the following passage and answer the question based on the passage.
God appeared to man, then, as a pure and permanent essence, placing himself before him as a monarch before his servant, and expressing himself now through the mouth of poets, legislators, and soothsayers, musa, nomos, numen; now through the popular voice. This may serve, among other things, to explain the existence of true and false oracles; why individuals secluded from birth do not attain of themselves to the idea of God, while they eagerly grasp it as soon as it is presented to them by the collective mind; why, finally, stationary races, like the Chinese, end by losing it.

In the first place, as to oracles, it is clear that all their accuracy depends upon the universal conscience which inspires them; and, as to the idea of God, it is easily seen why isolation and status quo are alike fatal to it. On the one hand, absence of communication keeps the mind absorbed in animal self-contemplation; on the other, absence of motion, gradually changing social life into mechanical routine, finally eliminates the idea of will and providence.

The Chinese have preserved in their traditions the remembrance of a religion which had ceased to exist among them five or six centuries before our era. More surprising still is it that this singular people, in losing its primitive faith, seems to have understood that divinity is simply the collective me of humanity: so that, more than two thousand years ago, China had reached, in its commonly-accepted belief, the latest results of the philosophy of the Occident. "What Heaven sees and understands," it is written in the Shu-king, "is only that which the people see and understand. What the people deem worthy of reward and punishment is that which Heaven wishes to punish and reward”. Confucius expressed:  "Gain the affection of the people, and you gain empire.  Lose the affection of the people, and you lose empire." There, then, general reason was regarded as queen of the world, a distinction which elsewhere has been bestowed upon revelations. The Tao-te-king is still more explicit. In this work, which is but an outline criticism of pure reason, the philosopher Lao-tse continually identifies, under the name of Tao, universal reason and the infinite being; and all the obscurity of the book of Lao-tse consists, in my opinion, of this constant identification of principles which our religious and metaphysical habits have so widely separated.

Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:What is the central idea of the passage?
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Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:Which of the following regarding Confucius is true as per the passage?
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Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:What can be the suitable title for the passage?
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Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:Which of the following cannot be inferred from the passage?
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Passage - 3

Directions: Read the following passage and answer the question based on the passage.

If we apprehend the spirit of the 'Origin of Species' rightly, then nothing can be more entirely and absolutely opposed to teleology, as it is commonly understood, than the Darwinian Theory. So far from being a "teleologist in the fullest sense of the word," we would deny that he is a teleologist in the ordinary sense at all; and we should say that, apart from his merits as a naturalist, he has rendered a most remarkable service to philosophical thought by enabling the student of nature to recognise, to their fullest extent, those adaptations to purpose which are so striking in the organic world, and which teleology has done good service in keeping before our minds, without being false to the fundamental principles of a scientific conception of the universe. The apparently diverging teachings of the teleologist and of the morphologist are reconciled by the Darwinian hypothesis.

But leaving our own impressions of the 'Origin of Species,' and turning to those passages especially cited by Professor Kolliker, we cannot admit that they bear the interpretation he puts upon them. Darwin, if we read him rightly, does 'not' affirm that every detail in the structure of an animal has been created for its benefit.  His words are, "The foregoing remarks lead me to say a few words on the protest lately made by some naturalists against the utilitarian doctrine that every detail of structure has been produced for the good of its possessor. They believe that very many structures have been created for beauty in the eyes of man, or for mere variety. This doctrine, if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory -- yet I fully admit that many structures are of no direct use to their possessor."

And after sundry illustrations and qualifications, he concludes, "Hence every detail of structure in every living creature (making some little allowance for the direct action of physical conditions) may be viewed either as having been of special use to some ancestral form, or as being now of special use to the descendants of this form—either directly, or indirectly, through the complex laws of growth."

But it is one thing to say, Darwinically, that every detail observed in an animal's structure is of use to it, or has been of use to its ancestors; and quite another to affirm, teleologically, that every detail of an animal's structure has been created for its benefit. On the former hypothesis, for example, the teeth of the foetal Balaena have a meaning; on the latter, none. So far as we are aware, there is not a phrase in the 'Origin of Species', inconsistent with Professor Kolliker's position that "varieties arise irrespectively of the notion of purpose, or of utility, according to general laws of nature, and may be either useful, or hurtful, or indifferent."

Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:What does 'teleology' mean in the context of the passage?
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Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:How are the diverging teachings of the teleologist and of the morphologist reconciled by the Darwinian hypothesis?
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Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:According to the passage, Dr. Kollicker should be a
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Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:What is the approach of Darwin vis-à-vis teleology?
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Question for Reading Comprehension for CAT - 2
Try yourself:What is Darwin's approach towards naturalists who are against utilitarian doctrine?
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