LSAT Question (Principle)

Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:19 pm

LSAT Question (Principle)

Postby josemnz83 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:03 pm

Can someone please read over this LSAT question and explain to me if I'm thinking about problem correctly?

If an act of civil disobedience -willfully breaking a law in order to bring about legal reform- is done out of self-interest alone and not out of concern for others, it cannot be justified. But one is justified in performing an act of civil disobedience if one's conscience requires one to do so.

Here is my diagramming:

SIA---> -J
J ------> - SIA

CR-----> J
-J -----> -CR

Which of the following judgments conforms most closely to the principles stated above?

B) Janice's protest against a law that forbade labor strikes was motivated solely by a desire to help local mine workers obtain fair wages. But her conscience did not require her to protest this law, so Janice did not perform an act of justified civil disobedience.

I understand why the correct answer to this problem was D. However I want to make sure that I understand why answer B (above) is incorrect. My reasoning is that B is stating that -CR----> -J. And that this is not the same thing as the principle above which was
-J ----> -CR. Can someone please explain if I'm thinking about this problem correctly?


User avatar
Posts: 602
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: LSAT Question (Principle)

Postby cc.celina » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:09 pm

I remember having trouble with this question. Yeah, you're essentially right. CR is a sufficient condition to bring about J, and all we know is that Janice didn't fulfill CR. So it could still be J for a different reason.

If it rains, the ground will be wet.
R --> W
~W --> ~R

The ground is wet. Therefore it rained.
^ This statement can't be concluded from the premise above, because who knows, maybe there's been a drought so someone opened a fire hydrant.

Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:19 pm

Re: LSAT Question (Principle)

Postby josemnz83 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:21 pm


Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:20 pm

Re: LSAT Question (Principle)

Postby TylerJonesMPLS » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:43 pm

You are both absolutely right that CR ----> J is not the same as -CR ----> -J. And, -CR ----> -J does not follow from CR ----> J. Actually, this is one of the LSAT tricks that shows up on lots of questions. In ordinary English we often assume that, for instance, “If you get to class on time, then you will get a gold star” implies that if you don’t get to class on time, then you won’t get a gold star. But in fact there is no implication. You might get a gold star for something else.

I have a little different take on it.

There are two sufficient conditionals in the passage. In one of them, CR ----> J, CR is a sufficient condition for being justified. In the other conditional, SIA ----> -J, SIA is a sufficient condition for NOT being justified.

(B) tells us two things about Janet. 1) She is not acting out of self-interest alone. So, Janet -SIA. 2) Janet’s conscience does not require her to protest, even though she does. So, Janet -CR. But -SIA and -CR are not sufficient conditions for either conditional or either of their contrapositives. So nothing follows from the fact that Janet -SIA and -CR. And this is the reason why (B) does not conform closely to the principles/conditionals. The premises given in (B) are not relevant to the principles/conditionals, and you can’t conclude anything from them.

To make what I’m saying clearer, suppose that Janet’s conscience did require her to protest. In that case, Janet -SIA and CR. CR is the sufficient condition of CR --- > J, so J follows. It would look like this:
CR ----> J
Therefore J

But, since Janet’s conscience did not require her to protest, Janet -CR, so nothing at all follows. It would look like this:
CR ----> J
Therefore…. nothing.

You seem to be taking (B) as supplying another conditional. But I don’t think that’s right. Not all premises are conditionals. Janet -SIA and Janet -CR are given by (B) as premises in addition to the two conditional premises in the passage. But Janet -SIA and Janet -CR are not themselves conditionals.

bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: LSAT Question (Principle)

Postby bp shinners » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:26 pm

At Blueprint, we call these Soft Must Be True principle questions. You're given a few rules (which you almost always diagram), then you find the answer that complies with the rules.

As such, while everything you wrote seems correct (I just browsed it), you did too much work.

For these, they'll always have a value judgment of some type - justified/unjustified, right/wrong, moral/amoral, nice day/oppressive day.

Whatever those dichotomous value judgments are, you should get them on the necessary condition side.

Here, we have:
1) Self Interest Alone -> not Justified
2) Conscious Requires -> Justified

I'm not going to take the contrapositive because that's not going to help me find an answer. Each answer choice will either tell me the act was justified or not justified. If the answer says it was justified, I look to rule 2) (to see if the person's conscious required it); if it says it wasn't justified, I look to rule 1) (to see if it was motivated by self-interest alone). I only have to reference one rule for each answer choice; I don't look at the one that draws the opposite conclusion, because it won't help me evaluate that argument (i.e. 1) doesn't ever tell me when something is justified; just when it isn't).

B tells me that her act was not justified. To say that, I need to know that it was done out of self interest alone. Here, it wasn't done out of self interest alone. I don't have the sufficient condition for not justified, so I can't come to that conclusion.

Posts: 279
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:29 am

Re: LSAT Question (Principle)

Postby JohnV » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:20 pm

First of all, how are you guys doing all this diagramming in LR? It seems very confusing to me and seems much easier to just look at the questions and reason out the answer.

Anyways, this question confused me for a bit too but then I realized that the conclusion was inaccurate. It only says that "if ... then it is justified" but it doesn't say that condition has to be met to be justified.

Posts: 9189
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:14 am

Re: LSAT Question (Principle)

Postby 03152016 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:51 pm

Last edited by 03152016 on Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Posts: 454
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:44 am

Re: LSAT Question (Principle)

Postby sashafierce » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:37 pm

sashafierce wrote:SupreprepC S3 Q16 Principle Conform question

So the principle was

Act Responsibly-----> Use Accurate and Complete Info

The explanation is saying we don't know what guarantees that someone "Acted Responsibly" so you can eliminate any answer choice that conclude that. We only know what is required so we can deduce:

Did not use Accurate or Complete info----> Did not Act Responsibly

(The contrapositive of the principle)

I understand that BUT my question is if the Principle was

Use Accurate and Complete Info---> Act Responsibly

In this case we know what guarantees that someone Acted Responsibly so we can make a judgement of someone "Acted Responsibly". However, can we make any judgements about someone Not Acting Responsibly i.e the contrapositive?

Not Act Responsibly-----> Did not use Accurate or Complete Info

I am assuming the answer is NO because we do not know what guarantees that someone did Not Act Responsibly.. Arghhh these questions are so frustrating sometimes :x

I think I found the answer to my question above after reading bpsinners response. The contrapositive of the statement was needed becuase we needed to make the "Value Judgement" the necessary condition. Should the lesson that I take away from this question simply be: make the value judgement the necessary condition

Return to “LSAT Prep and Discussion Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: goblue18, Instrumental, mintme, Yahoo [Bot] and 15 guests