what's "get involved" in the argument?

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what's "get involved" in the argument?

Postby wanderlust » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:37 am

I found the advice to get involved in the argument/passage in LSAT prep book, but not sure how it's done.
Aren't we supposed to be open minded and unbiased (not taking any side) towards the argument?
Could anyone pls give an example of how he or she get involve in the argument/passage?

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Sloth Hero

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Re: what's "get involved" in the argument?

Postby Sloth Hero » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:19 am

I don't know if you can but simultaneously sympathetic and skeptical, but you need to be close.

You need to actively engage the author. Don't read as if you need to spit out the sentences later on, because you won't need to. It's not really the content of what they said, more of 'how' they said it.

If you have herd the phrase 'read critically', well this is what you need to do. You need to figure out what the author is up to, how the author is up to this, and what (if any) are some flaws in the Authors argument.

I used to do a lot of debate tournaments, so I read LR stimulus as if someone is making an argument during a debate competition, but I don't know whether or not this person is on my team. I might need to support their argument, I might need to weaken it, I might need to use it for an analogy, I might need to restate its main point later -- regardless I need to focus on 'how' they said it, not 'what' they said.

I'll break one down. Here's from Prep test #13, S2 Q 24. I happen to be reviewing this test atm.

24. 1st sentence: "A certain airport security scanner designed to detect explosives in luggage will alert the scanner's operator whenever the piece of luggage passing under the scanner contains an explosive."

Critical evaluation: You should evaluate this sentence. It seems to be only an empirical claim. We have no reason to believe it to be false or contradictory, so we accept it as true and move on. Note that this will probably be necessary for the author to reach his conclusion, if one exists.

2nd sentence: "The scanner will erroneously alert the operator for only one percent of the pieces of luggage that contain no explosives"

Critical evaluation: The author used the term 'percent' so sirens should be going off in your LSAT brain, especially since (and if you were looking at the actal stimulus you would know) there is only one sentence left after this. So you should make sure you are clear on what the "percentage claim" involves; 'erroneously alert', 'one percent of luggage that contain no explosives'.

3rd sentence: Thus in ninety-nine out of a hundred alerts, explosives will actually be present.

Critical evaluation: The conclusion involves a percent claim, how does this tie in with the other percent claim? Well there is a group shift, you cannot reason from claims about 1/100 clean luggage to claims about x/100 cases luggage overall. It could be the case that 0 people try to go through security with explosives, or it could be the case that EVERYONE does, or whatever.
Of course you don't have to think to yourself in depth, but these general thought processes should be forming as you read. And if you are successfully 'involving yourself', it should come naturally, and be easily manageable.

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Re: what's "get involved" in the argument?

Postby McFly » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:35 pm


nevermind. i'm a dummy.

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