SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 41: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 41

11. According to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, only philosophy can provide ------- understanding because it ------- assumptions that other areas of study merely take for granted.

A. faulty . . probes
B. reliable . . concedes
C. genuine . . scrutinizes
D. abstract . . lauds
E. veiled . . divulges

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Skill: Understanding the content, form, and function of sentences

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "Genuine" means authentic. "Scrutinizes" means examines or questions. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "According to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, only philosophy can provide genuine understanding because it scrutinizes assumptions that other areas of study merely take for granted." The word "only" establishes that Plato believed that philosophy provides a type of understanding that is distinctively different from what is found in other branches of study. The word "because" indicates that this difference is due to the fact that philosophy does something to assumptions that other areas of study "take for granted." "Scrutinizing," or examining, assumptions is the opposite of taking them for granted, and it is logical to conclude that this action would provide "genuine" understanding.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Faulty" means flawed or out of order. "Probes" means questions or explores. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "According to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, only philosophy can provide faulty understanding because it probes assumptions that other areas of study merely take for granted." Philosophy may "probe" assumptions, but it is very unlikely that such exploration would result in "faulty," or flawed, understanding.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Reliable" means dependable. "Concedes" means accepts as true, often hesitantly. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "According to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, only philosophy can provide reliable understanding because it concedes assumptions that other areas of study merely take for granted." If philosophy "concedes," or accepts the same assumptions promoted by other fields of study, then it would be illogical to claim that "only philosophy can provide reliable understanding."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Abstract" means theoretical or general. "Lauds" means praises. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "According to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, only philosophy can provide abstract understanding because it lauds assumptions that other areas of study merely take for granted." There is no inherent connection between the claim that philosophy is the only field to provide general understanding and the claim that philosophy praises the assumptions accepted by other areas of study.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Veiled" means hidden. "Divulges" means reveals. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "According to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, only philosophy can provide veiled understanding because it divulges assumptions that other areas of study merely take for granted." These terms create a somewhat contradictory statement. A field that "divulges," or reveals, assumptions is actually unveiling information rather than hiding it.

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