Conditional reasoning beginner needs your help

agility
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:12 pm

Conditional reasoning beginner needs your help

Postby agility » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:16 pm

All,

In the rare case where a sentence is missing a conditional reasoning indicator (if, then, without, must, etc.) how do you distinguish between a sufficient condition and a necessary condition?

For instance, here's the last sentence of prep test 5 LR2 #22: "It is clear than with either a shortage of nurses or lowered entrance standards for the profession, the current high quality of health care cannot be maintained."

As you can see, there is no conditional reasoning indicator (or am I missing something?), but it is clearly a conditional statement. So what I tried to do was to think about what is necessary and what is sufficient in the sentence by fitting my own conditional indicators both ways to see which makes more sense between "If there is either a shortage of nurses or lowered entrance standards for the profession, then the current high quality of health care cannot be maintained," which sounds just as reasonable as, "If the current high quality of health care cannot be maintained, then there is either a shortage of nurses or lowered entrance standards for the profession." And is it not the case that it is entirely up to the author of the statement to decide which condition is necessary and which is sufficient?

The answer, if you were wondering, is the former: "either a shortage of nurses or lowered entrance standards for the profession" is the sufficient condition. But why is this so?

Cheers.

VasaVasori
Posts: 573
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:36 pm

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Postby VasaVasori » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:53 pm

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Last edited by VasaVasori on Sat May 02, 2015 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

agility
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:12 pm

Re: Conditional reasoning beginner needs your help

Postby agility » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:29 am

VasaVasori wrote:In this specific example:

"It is clear than with either a shortage of nurses or lowered entrance standards for the profession, the current high quality of health care cannot be maintained."

It says that with (if there exists) either a shortage of nurses or with (if there exists) a lowered entrance standard for the profession, (then) the current high quality of health care cannot be maintained.

In this case, you can think of the with as an if. It's saying with X, Y will happen; the world, with X, will necessitate Y, and so it tells you what the world will be like with X, if X exists.

It also might be helpful to think of this in the contrapositive. When I first read this, I actually diagrammed it as:

CQHCM -> ~SN & ~LES

Then, deduced from that that: SN v LES -> ~CQHCM

I thought this was easier to figure out, because considering the statement, it's clear that if the current quality of healthcare is maintained it is absolutely necessary that it not be the case that there is a shortage of nurses or a lowering of entrance standards.

I hope this helps... I know it's a little bit confusing. Another way to go about it is to just memorize the words that are indicators of conditionality. There's a list at http://lsatblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/wo ... ssary.html, and I think in this case the "with" is most analogous to "when".

Another way to look at it: you had two options that you were considering:

"If there is either a shortage of nurses or lowered entrance standards for the profession, then the current high quality of health care cannot be maintained

"If the current high quality of health care cannot be maintained, then there is either a shortage of nurses or lowered entrance standards for the profession."

Under the second example, note that it is impossible for there to be neither a shortage of nurses or lowered entrance standards. However, in the author's statement, with a shortage of nurses or lowered entrance standards for the profession the quality cannot be maintained. It doesn't, though, tell you anything about what happens when there is neither a shortage of nurses nor lowered entrance standards: it could be the case that there are abundant nurses and high entrance standards, but the quality still cannot be maintained for some other, unspecified, reason. Then again, I could be said to be begging the question, but you hopefully get where I'm going.



I fully understand now. I must say when I first saw "with" I automatically decided this is a necessary condition indicator, just like "without".

Very happy that my first post here was answered so quickly and thoroughly. Hope to do the same by the end of my own LSAT prep. I really appreciate your help.




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