Preptest 15/section 2/question 20

schand
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Preptest 15/section 2/question 20

Postby schand » Thu May 13, 2010 11:14 am

Can anyone explain this question? Thank you!

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Atlas LSAT Teacher
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Re: Preptest 15/section 2/question 20

Postby Atlas LSAT Teacher » Thu May 13, 2010 5:33 pm

What a fun question!

Our job is to find a flaw in the argument. S.R. Evan's conclusion is that certain critics' judgments should be rejected. Why? Because those critics are not great poets (Evans says "true"), and only true poets can tell if poetry is great. How does Evans know that the critics are not great poets? Because, S.R. Evans explains, she (?) does not find their work to be great.

(BTW, I'm using "great" and "bad" instead of "true", as it's easier to digest the argument that way.)

What a strange argument! It would be valid if we knew for sure that Evans herself is a true poet. We could then apply the principle -- that good poets can tell if a poet is good -- allowing us to trust her judgment of poetry, and then when she tells us the critics have bad poetry, we would believe her, and we would know that those wannabe poet/critics are not qualified to critique poetry (since only true poets can). However, if it turns out that Evans is a crappy poet, then why would we believe her assessment of the critics' poems? And so those critics might actually be great poets, and thus they might be qualified to judge Evans' work (as crappy).

(A) explains this problem with the argument. Evans assumes she herself is a great poet, since otherwise why would she suggest we should accept her assessment of the critics?

(B) is incorrect as there is no distinction made between critics and poets that is relevant to the argument.
(C) is out of scope -- there is no discussion of "the standing of a poet."
(D) is similar to (B) in that it refers to a distinction that is not relevant.
(E) is out of scope - "improve their poetry"?

Does that clear it up?

If a diagram would help:

The argument is: Critics write bad poetry --> critics are not great poet --> critics not qualified to say my poetry sucks

But "Critics write bad poetry", according to the principle stated (judge poetry --> great poet), requires that Evans is a great poet, which is the big IF (assumption) of this argument.

And if a picture would help: Image

schand
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Re: Preptest 15/section 2/question 20

Postby schand » Sun May 16, 2010 10:54 am

lol Thanks for the explanation and the picture!

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jesuis
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Re: Preptest 15/section 2/question 20

Postby jesuis » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:21 pm

I just did this problem and got the right answer, but I'm not very comfortable with the diagram of the argument, specifically, distinguishing what's sufficient/necessary in the second premise (and the only true poets)...

For the sake of not plagiarizing LSAC, put in different context "the only great writers are those whose books are published"
From my example, is it: (great writer -> books are published) ?

I know that typically, "only" introduces and modifies the necessary/independent condition, but in my example, it seems that being published is required for being a great writer, so that "great writer"' cannot stand alone and is therefore the dependent condition.

Thanks in advance for your input!

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jesuis
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Re: Preptest 15/section 2/question 20

Postby jesuis » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:26 pm

Hm, well based on AtlasLSATTeacher's response, it seems that my understanding is correct. Thank you Atlas for your elaborate explanation :P


Can anyone confirm the trend that I've observed with "the only" introducing the sufficient condition. I saw an entire thread dedicated to it, but I'm not quite convinced, but maybe I should be.

I would appreciate any input on the subject!

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Sh@keNb@ke
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Re: Preptest 15/section 2/question 20

Postby Sh@keNb@ke » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:15 am

"The Only" ALWAYS introduces a sufficient condition. "Only" introduces a necessary one. That "the" in the front is a game changer!

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Atlas LSAT Teacher
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Re: Preptest 15/section 2/question 20

Postby Atlas LSAT Teacher » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:53 am

Tom is the only one who can sing. S --> T

The only one who can sing is Tom. S --> T

Only Tom can sing. S --> T

There will be singing only if Tom does it. S --> T

The only thing that Tom does is sing. T --> S

While there are definite patterns, I think it's best to not be formulaic about the approach with conditional statements and become intuitively clear about what is the required element in a given statement.

The game "if/then" works this skill: http://www.atlaslsat.com/arcade/




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