! Interesting questions!In Order To
The phrase "in order to" is often grammatically unnecessary, and actually does not have any strict logical meaning all on its own. Typically, can easily replace the phrase with a simple "to" and convey identical meaning - and that meaning is essentially 'as a way of achieving a particular outcome'.
So, if I say "in order to get to Bob's house, you need to take the train", I could have just as easily said "to get to Bob's house...." Notice that if we remove the "in order" from the first sentence of this stimulus, nothing changes logically:
To maintain a healthy back, it's important to exercise the muscles equally
The thing that matters, here, is which item is important for
the other thing. [Grammar nerd note: I'm quite sure that they included "in order" here because without it, it's easy to misread the sentence as saying "it is important to maintain a healthy back, (in order) to exercise the muscles..." - the comma after 'important' SHOULD tell you not to do that, but it would be an unnecessarily confusing word order. Misreading it that way would have you thinking that the healthy back maintenance is important for exercising muscles, instead of the other way around.
So, if "in order to" just clarifies the element I have a purpose about, how do we know there's a conditional relationship? It's as you said above: the other words tell us. Your example "in order to ace the LSAT, you must study" gives us a conditional only because of the word "must".
"In order to ace the LSAT, you can study", however, does not. Simplifying the syntax a tad: "To ace the LSAT, you can study" might help us see that no promises, or guarantees are being made. I'm giving you one possible route to LSAT-acing, but it's not a sure thing. Consider the statement "to get to Hawaii, you can take a cruise". This is not a promise that taking a cruise will definitely, absolutely get you to Hawaii!! Rather, I'm just giving you one way that is possible.
The way to create a conditional with "in order to" as the necessary, you'd need some clear 'sufficient' language on the other side - something like "In order to ace the LSAT, it is enough to simply study." THAT would tell you (S-->A). It's kind of an awkward construction, but it would get the job done.
So, let's return back to the conclusion of the argument in June2007-3-17
. "To maintain a healthy back, it's important to exercise the muscles equally." Does 'important' give us a strict conditional? Technically no. It's giving us what I sometimes think of a 'soft conditional' - it's following the essential format of a conditional (and it's best to treat is as one for the most part), but it does fall just shy of making an absolute guarantee.
Fortunately, the correct answer uses the exact same sort of 'soft conditional' language, with "X tends to lead to Y". You can absolutely get away
with treating both the conclusion and the correct answer as conditionals, and that's the easiest way to break down this problem - but it is good to be aware that technically speaking, they are not perfect guarantees.Provided That
Whenever you're tackling a conditional you're not 100% sure how to translate (or even whether it IS a conditional), it's best to return to the essential question: is there a promise here? If so, what is the thing getting promised
(necessary), and what is the situation where the promise is active
"Provided that you study, you'll ace the LSAT."
What's getting promised here? I'm promising that you will ace the LSAT
. But I'm not making a blanket promise - I'm only making that promise in a certain universe. "Provided that" might be thought of as saying "As long as it's true that" or "on the condition that". So, I'm making this promise to you, but only on the condition that
In other words, I'm saying "If you study, then you'll ace the LSAT". "Provided that" introduces the sufficient
condition, by suggesting that whatever promise I'm about to make to you only applies if
certain conditions have been met.
So, to sum up: "in order to" has no intrinsic conditional meaning, and "provided that" is giving a sufficient condition.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on all this!