Question about answers to Weaken questions

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californihuh
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Question about answers to Weaken questions

Postby californihuh » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:03 pm

In nearly all of my PTs, I've been getting nearly one weaken/flaw question wrong. I was going over a certain weaken-question yesterday (PT 27, Sec 4, #18 if anyone's interested), when I think I discovered something I didn't really take into account.

The question reads that if the following answers were true, which would most likely weaken the argument. Sure, we've all seen it before, but I don't think it's really occurred to me 100% of what the question was actually implying.

Answers (A), (C), and (D) all seem to be weakening the conclusion in some way or another. The correct answer choice, (B), explains how fewer quality books were written. (I ignored this answer in an instant thinking that the LSAT was equivocating between "intrinsic" books and "quality" books... wrong thinking?)

Anyways, in hindsight, sure, with that jump from intrinsic->quality, it would weaken the argument. I, however, chose (A) thinking that it would weaken the conclusion and perhaps even destroy it. If they were always interested in profits, then you can't claim that they are now "more than ever" interested in profits. If you think otherwise, due to the drop in publication of unprofitable books of intrinsic quality, then why would they have even published them in the first place? Maybe they were just taking a risk. Or maybe they just felt like it.

My question is this: I've heard the saying that the correct answer to weaken questions need not DESTROY the conclusion. It just needs to weaken the argument. So are we just to ignore all the answers that weaken the end-result (conclusion) of the argument? To me, this seems very... odd to say the least. I'm not sure if I'm even making sense right now.. perhaps you need to take a look at the question I'm referring to to understand.

All this time, I've been focused on negating/proving the conclusion to an argument (I blame necessary assumption questions). Am I approaching this the wrong way with weaken questions?

Are there any questions in LSAT history that reads, "Which one of the following if true, would weaken the conclusion?" Or do they primarily focus on weakening the argument (like my example above)?

Thanks.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Question about answers to Weaken questions

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:12 pm

Best Answer choice weakens the conclusion and argument.
If you can't find that you go with this: one that weakens just the conclusion
if you don't have that then an answer choice that weakens only the argument would come after these choices.

If you have an answer that weakens the argument only and answer that weakens the conclusion only you would go with the answer that weakens the conclusion.

dkb17xzx
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Re: Question about answers to Weaken questions

Postby dkb17xzx » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:59 pm

californihuh wrote:
Are there any questions in LSAT history that reads, "Which one of the following if true, would weaken the conclusion?" Or do they primarily focus on weakening the argument (like my example above)?

Thanks.


PT 2, S2, Q14
PT 2, S4, Q16
PT 3, S4, Q2
PT 12, S4, Q4
PT 31, S2, Q6

There are more - too lazy. But in response, yea, there are questions ask you to undermine the conclusion

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Ded Precedent
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Re: Question about answers to Weaken questions

Postby Ded Precedent » Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:18 pm

All of the other answer choices either strengthen the argument or are irrelevant. Answer choice A is irrelevant because publishers could have always been very interested in money AND published unprofitable books that were intrinsically merited. It doesn't say that publishers were always interested ONLY in money.

The wording of the answer choice intentionally leaves some wiggle room for the publishers to publish unprofitable books.

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Micdiddy
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Re: Question about answers to Weaken questions

Postby Micdiddy » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:53 am

Ded Precedent wrote:All of the other answer choices either strengthen the argument or are irrelevant. Answer choice A is irrelevant because publishers could have always been very interested in money AND published unprofitable books that were intrinsically merited. It doesn't say that publishers were always interested ONLY in money.

The wording of the answer choice intentionally leaves some wiggle room for the publishers to publish unprofitable books.



This.

And what the first guy said. The best answer choice weakens everything, but mainly the conclusion needs to be weakened.
In this case, A is irrelevant for the above stated reasons. C would have no effect, since it specifies these profits were "unpredictable" so how are publishers supposed to react? If they try to publish a book for unpredictable success, then by definition they are not publishing it just for the intrinsic value, so these books won't fit into the category being discussed anyway.
D is irrelevant. It may describe why less of these books are published now, if more of these authors now exist, but 1) they would have nothing to do with the publisher wanting to make more money and 2) we have to make an extra assumption for this answer choice to work (that more of these authors exist), which means we cannot pick it.
E also requires extra assumptions for it to make sense, like "if profits are decreasing then publishers must focus their efforts only on books that will make money," AND "publishers can only publish a limited amount of books pushing out the room usually reserved for books with intrinsic value." Obviously, we should not make these extra assumptions and just eliminate the choice.

Finally, B make sense on its own. If there are less quality books, then the publishers publish less of them.




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