## "only because"

Prepare for the LSAT or discuss it with others in this forum.

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### "only because"

Does anyone know how to diagram "only because" according to formal logic rules?
does it introduce sufficient or necessary?

thank you !!!

dowu

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### Re: "only because"

Last edited by dowu on Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 147
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:56 pm

### Re: "only because"

to be completely honest, i dont know where i saw it anymore... i made a note of it during my study session but foolishly didn't take note of the page number.
could i make one up? haha.. i will take the LSAT only because i want to go to law school (?)

dowu

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### Re: "only because"

Edited for a far better response below.
Last edited by dowu on Tue May 22, 2012 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

airbud

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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:01 pm

### Re: "only because"

"If and only if" indicates BOTH a sufficient and necessary condition, which, when diagrammed, makes a double arrow. For example, "A if and only if B" really means "If A, then B" AND "If B, then A". Combined, it looks like:

A<---->B

"If and only if" is not the same thing as "only because".

"Only because" is an interesting phrase because despite the fact that it contains a common necessary condition indicator ("only"), it is actually is a CAUSAL phrase. "Only" modifies the "because" and suggests that the thing referred to is the ONLY CAUSE of the given effect. For example, "People sleep better after eating large meals. Nutritionists hypothesize that this is only because the digestive process uses the blood and energy needed to keep the brain alert, and not the result of sugar depletion". The digestive process is a posited cause for the given effect of sleeping better. In this case, it's hypothesized to be the only cause.

You can diagram a cause-effect relationship, but it cannot be treated as a conditional relationship. I suppose "only because" could be used in a conditional sense, but I doubt it, since the word "because" is a huge red flag for cause-effect.

Hope this helps!

omegaomega

Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:00 am

### Re: "only because"

airbud wrote:"If and only if" indicates BOTH a sufficient and necessary condition, which, when diagrammed, makes a double arrow. For example, "A if and only if B" really means "If A, then B" AND "If B, then A". Combined, it looks like:

A<---->B

"If and only if" is not the same thing as "only because".

"Only because" is an interesting phrase because despite the fact that it contains a common necessary condition indicator ("only"), it is actually is a CAUSAL phrase. "Only" modifies the "because" and suggests that the thing referred to is the ONLY CAUSE of the given effect. For example, "People sleep better after eating large meals. Nutritionists hypothesize that this is only because the digestive process uses the blood and energy needed to keep the brain alert, and not the result of sugar depletion". The digestive process is a posited cause for the given effect of sleeping better. In this case, it's hypothesized to be the only cause.

You can diagram a cause-effect relationship, but it cannot be treated as a conditional relationship. I suppose "only because" could be used in a conditional sense, but I doubt it, since the word "because" is a huge red flag for cause-effect.

Hope this helps!

Hi, this is great explanation, thanks!

But I'm a bit confused by the distinction between cause-effect relationship and conditional relationship.

If A causes B, can I diagram the following?
A-->B

The interpretation of this diagram as conditional relationship (if there is A, there must be B; if there is B, there may or may not be A), in my opinion, is consistent with "A causes B".

In the past, I have not treat conditional and causal relationship differently, and it seemed not to cause me any trouble (not that I am aware of!). Can you recall some of the situations where mixing them up lead to mistaken answer?

Thanks a lot!

Lyov Myshkin

Posts: 218
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:28 pm

### Re: "only because"

omegaomega wrote:In the past, I have not treat conditional and causal relationship differently, and it seemed not to cause me any trouble (not that I am aware of!). Can you recall some of the situations where mixing them up lead to mistaken answer?

Thanks a lot!

smoking cigarettes causes cancer.

Smoke -> Cancer

if this were a conditional statement, we could do this

If you haven't gotten cancer (or won't get cancer, phrasing is weird with causal statements because of the temporal aspect), then you aren't smoking cigarettes. (which is clearly a false statement)

I personally believe that the temporal aspect of causal statements make them not as logically rigorous as pure conditional statements. But I've read a lot of Kant, so that could be biasing me.

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Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:56 pm

### Re: "only because"

i'm still a bit confused...
So cause statements can't be reduced to conditional?
And "only because" is a cause statement without conditional inferences?

Mr.Binks

Posts: 574
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:49 pm

### Re: "only because"

Lyov Myshkin wrote:
omegaomega wrote:In the past, I have not treat conditional and causal relationship differently, and it seemed not to cause me any trouble (not that I am aware of!). Can you recall some of the situations where mixing them up lead to mistaken answer?

Thanks a lot!

smoking cigarettes causes cancer.

Smoke -> Cancer

if this were a conditional statement, we could do this

If you haven't gotten cancer (or won't get cancer, phrasing is weird with causal statements because of the temporal aspect), then you aren't smoking cigarettes. (which is clearly a false statement)

I personally believe that the temporal aspect of causal statements make them not as logically rigorous as pure conditional statements. But I've read a lot of Kant, so that could be biasing me.

180

Lyov Myshkin

Posts: 218
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:28 pm

### Re: "only because"

Mr.Binks wrote:
Lyov Myshkin wrote:But I've read a lot of Kant, so that could be biasing me.

180

haha
lawschoolplease1 wrote:i'm still a bit confused...
So cause statements can't be reduced to conditional?
And "only because" is a cause statement without conditional inferences?

the term 'because' doesn't necessarily indicate a causal relationship. it just indicates a premise.

for example:

that syllogism is valid because its argumentative structure is 'modus tollens'. <- doesn't really indicate a causal relationship. it definitely is an argument with a supporting idea which is the basis for the concluding idea. but with causality it all gets a bit fuzzy.

look, i think the best way to interpret weird phrases like 'only because' is basically to put it in the context of something that makes sense to you. i mean, you must have heard someone say that to you before. the key is to extract the context in which they said that to you. once you understand the situational context, you know when it can and cannot be used.

for me, i would ask myself the following question: 'in what scenario does it make sense to use the phrase "only because"..' and I would start making up scenarios, like..

A republican governor was elected governor of California, despite the fact that California has pretty much always been a blue state, only because the Democratic governor was playing chicken with california's budget.

Then, I would think of what that scenario actually means, which I think to be the following: If the democratic governor had not been playing chicken with the budget then there would be a snowball's chance in hell for a republican to be elected governor, even if that republican was once the terminator.

You're inevitably going to run into phrases that don't make sense to you. It's not enough to know what this one means, you have to learn how to be able to make an educated guess about what a phrase means on the spot.. at least, that's what I think it takes to really excel at this test. They love throwing weird curveballs, and they'll keep doing it.

Posts: 147
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:56 pm

### Re: "only because"

oh wow, thank you so so much!
I didn't realize there was a difference between cause and conditional statements!!!
thank you!

Lyov Myshkin

Posts: 218
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:28 pm

### Re: "only because"

lawschoolplease1 wrote:oh wow, thank you so so much!
I didn't realize there was a difference between cause and conditional statements!!!
thank you!