Preptest #9 Section 4 Question #5

nonameee
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:47 am

Preptest #9 Section 4 Question #5

Postby nonameee » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:59 am

I have some reservations regarding the OA:

You can get the correct answer by POE. However, I don't understand why the author is not allowed to believe that the factor he mentioned is the only factor (E)?

What I am concerned about is the wording of (E). If (E) provided an alternative explanation to the observed phenomena, then it would be clear. But (E) only states that he considers only one factor. So what? Why can't he consider only one factor?

Please explain.

Thanks a lot.

PS
Are you allowed to post the exact question from the test?

KapTeacherBobby
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:15 pm

Re: Preptest #9 Section 4 Question #5

Postby KapTeacherBobby » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:26 am

Okay, so let's think about an easier argument to see why the structure of this one is flawed (and why (e) is right!)

Eating chocolate is known to cause acne. Therefore, my acne is due to my chocolate-eating.

Would you accept that that argument is solid or would you object to it on the grounds that there may be other causes?

The structure of this argument is the exact same:

Physiological deterioration diminishes as we get older so it could be the cause of older kids' inability to distinguish sounds in other languages, so that must be the cause for their inability. (paraphrasing the argument's core ideas).

Can we mount the same objection?

If (e) provided an alternative explanation, then it would directly weaken the argument. But there is a difference between weaken and flaw questions and it is this. Weaken questions ask you to see what would hurt the argument while flaw questions ask you what's already wrong with the argument.

Certainly, the author is "allowed" to consider only one factor just as you or I are "allowed" to think about whatever we want. The flaw, though, is in thinking that this one factor "must" be the cause of the phenomenon. His evidence never ruled out the possibility of other causes. So, for him to think that one possible cause is the necessary cause is flawed reasoning. This scope shift from possible cause to certain cause is a classic LSAT flaw.

Let me know what follow-up questions you have :)

nonameee
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:47 am

Re: Preptest #9 Section 4 Question #5

Postby nonameee » Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:55 am

Thanks a lot for your reply. I guess that this sentence explains it:

Weaken questions ask you to see what would hurt the argument while flaw questions ask you what's already wrong with the argument.


However, I still don't quite understand what's the difference between the formulation of (E) in this question and the formulation of (E) in LSAT #7 Feb '93, Section 2, Q19. In that question (E) is wrong. Both questions are of a "flaw in the argument" type.
Last edited by nonameee on Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

nonameee
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:47 am

Re: Preptest #9 Section 4 Question #5

Postby nonameee » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:20 am

Bobby, I think I've figured that out.

LSAT #7 Feb '93, Section 2, Q19:

The stimulus says: ...the newspaper story that forced the finance minister to resign...

(E) says: treating evidence that a given action (= publishing the story and eventually its disclosure by someone) contributed to bringing about a certain effect (= PM's resignation) as though that evidence (=Without information that could only have come from someone present at the secret meeting between the finance minister and the leader of the opposition party) established that the given action (= publishing the story and eventually its disclosure by someone) by itself was sufficient to bring about that effect (=PM’s resignation).

The last part is wrong because the stimulus clearly established that the publishing of the story was the reason that caused the PM's resignation. So the author had all the right to claim that the disclosure of the information was the ultimate cause of PM's downfall




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