CAT 2020 Question Paper | VARC Slot 2

CAT Previous Year Paper | CAT VARC Questions | Question 21

Para Summary is a part of the Verbal ability section(VA) of the CAT Exam. Many will be very sceptical to attempt para summary as it carries negative marking but if done right, it will fetch you additional marks. The best way to approach para summary is to try and eliminate all the extreme/exaggerated options. This is a medium to hard level question. The summary is quite dense and verbose. Try out the above strategy and check out the solution for this question.
To practice more such para summary questions, check out our CAT Question Bank. If you want to have a daily reading recommendation, be sure to check out Bharath's Reading List.

Question 21 : The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.

With the Treaty of Westphalia, the papacy had been confined to ecclesiastical functions, and the doctrine of sovereign equality reigned. What political theory could then explain the origin and justify the functions of secular political order? In his Leviathan, published in 1651, three years after the Peace of Westphalia, Thomas Hobbes provided such a theory. He imagined a “state of nature” in the past when the absence of authority produced a “war of all against all.” To escape such intolerable insecurity, he theorized, people delivered their rights to a sovereign power in return for the sovereign’s provision of security for all within the state’s border. The sovereign state’s monopoly on power was established as the only way to overcome the perpetual fear of violent death and war.

  1. Thomas Hobbes theorized the voluntary surrender of rights by people as essential for emergence of sovereign states.
  2. Thomas Hobbes theorized the emergence of sovereign states as a form of transactional governance to limit the power of the papacy.
  3. Thomas Hobbes theorized the emergence of sovereign states based on a transactional relationship between people and sovereign state that was necessitated by a sense of insecurity of the people.
  4. Thomas Hobbes theorized that sovereign states emerged out of people’s voluntary desire to overcome the sense of insecurity and establish the doctrine of sovereign equality.

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Explanatory Answer

The main point of the paragraph is that the secular political order emerged because people, in order to escape the insecurity of death and war, delivered their rights to a sovereign power in return for the sovereign’s provision of security. Option C captures all key ideas.

Option A does not mention the people's sense of insecurity, which, according to the paragraph, was the main motive. Option B incorrectly states the motive as limiting the power of the papacy. Option D incorrectly attributes an additional motive--the establishment of the doctrine of sovereign equality-- to the people.


The answer is, "Thomas Hobbes theorized the emergence of sovereign states based on a transactional relationship between people and sovereign state that was necessitated by a sense of insecurity of the people."

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