Assumption Questions

Younks
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Assumption Questions

Postby Younks » Tue May 28, 2013 5:51 pm

Hey everyone,

I'm quite frustrated with assumption questions. It seems that some problems on the LSAT do not use perfect logic in their stimulus (even on questions that imply that they are - meaning not just "Find a flaw in the reasoning" type questions). For example, take PT7, S1, Q20 - about Dr. Esposito running in the election - just because Krasman doesn't run doesn't mean that no one else will run either.

Does anyone have some insight that perhaps I'm missing on here?

Younks
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Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:12 pm

Re: Assumption Questions

Postby Younks » Tue May 28, 2013 6:01 pm

It seems like what one should do with assumption-type questions is find the "Cause and effect" of the stimulus. Yet how does one know what is just background information?

Younks
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Re: Assumption Questions

Postby Younks » Tue May 28, 2013 6:04 pm

Or on PT7 S4 Q20 - the book I'm using (Manhattan LSAT) states that the argument core is

(People can change their handwriting characteristics) ---> (Graphologists must hold that people can change their permanent character traits)

Yet those are not the only variable affecting how this one plays out. Without the information that "Graphologists claim that it is possible to detect permanent character traits by examining people's handwriting", we wouldn't arrive at that conclusion, so why wouldn't that be included in the argument's core?

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Micdiddy
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Re: Assumption Questions

Postby Micdiddy » Tue May 28, 2013 6:20 pm

Younks wrote:Hey everyone,

I'm quite frustrated with assumption questions. It seems that some problems on the LSAT do not use perfect logic in their stimulus (even on questions that imply that they are - meaning not just "Find a flaw in the reasoning" type questions). For example, take PT7, S1, Q20 - about Dr. Esposito running in the election - just because Krasman doesn't run doesn't mean that no one else will run either.

Does anyone have some insight that perhaps I'm missing on here?


I don't think there's a single LSAT question stem that has ever implied it's using perfect logic (even when it is). And many, many questions actually imply the opposite (including every assumption question or strengthen question).
If it is an assumption question and you see why the stimulus is flawed, chances are you're on the right track for the correct response.

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Micdiddy
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Re: Assumption Questions

Postby Micdiddy » Tue May 28, 2013 6:24 pm

Younks wrote:It seems like what one should do with assumption-type questions is find the "Cause and effect" of the stimulus. Yet how does one know what is just background information?


Not every assumption question has something to do with cause-and-effect, and you should be able to know when something is relevant or when something is "background information" (I.e. irrelevant).
It sounds like you should go back and look at argument structure (how to determine when something is a premise, conclusion, etc.), before you worry about evaluating arguments.

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mlansky
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Re: Assumption Questions

Postby mlansky » Tue May 28, 2013 6:42 pm

Younks wrote:Or on PT7 S4 Q20 - the book I'm using (Manhattan LSAT) states that the argument core is

(People can change their handwriting characteristics) ---> (Graphologists must hold that people can change their permanent character traits)

Yet those are not the only variable affecting how this one plays out. Without the information that "Graphologists claim that it is possible to detect permanent character traits by examining people's handwriting", we wouldn't arrive at that conclusion, so why wouldn't that be included in the argument's core?


I actually just diagrammed this core an hour ago or so, because I'm going through ch.2 of MLSAT LR too. My diagram was

1. Graphologists believe that permanent character traits are reflected in handwriting;
2. You can change your handwriting;
Therefore
3(C). Graphologists believe that you can change your permanent character traits.

I was a bit surprised when my Premise 1 wasn't included in their diagram too, but I don't think that the idea of an "Argument Core" is meant to be so cut-and-dried, though. One could just as easily say that the tenets of graphology are just presented here as background information since a lot of people wouldn't know what graphology is, but its role in the stimulus is one of definition and exposition, not argumentation. Either way you diagrammed it, the point is to understand the underlying argument, which you do.

Daily_Double
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Re: Assumption Questions

Postby Daily_Double » Tue May 28, 2013 6:48 pm

To begin with, I'm of the opinion that the logic and language has gotten more rigid on recent tests, thus eliminating your issue. However, I'm not implying, by any means, that old questions are illogical, just that the recent tests follow a very predictable pattern of logic, and it is almost always airtight, whereas the older tests are less predictable, but I haven't looked at old tests in a very long time so I could also be wrong here. But let's take a look at your example, which I assume illustrates your issue with the question type.

PT 7, S1, Q20: Parallel Flaw

Stimulus:

People say A will do something
If A does this action ---> ~(B will take same action)
_____________________________
No one but A will do this action

The flaw here, well I guess there's many, first, it assumes that these sources are not incaccurate, second it assumes that Dr. Esposito will in fact run, third it assumes that there do not exist other candidates who will run no matter what Esposito does. I'm betting the third is the flaw we should replicate in the answers.

Just by skimming the answers, on my first pass, I leave A, eliminate C, D, and E, then return to A and B. I start with B because I like to do my second pass from the bottom upwards. I analyze B, note that it has the same flaw and would have selected it and moved on. Let's check out A though. A's conclusion is off. I'm now completely confident that B is the correct answer.


Younks wrote:Does anyone have some insight that perhaps I'm missing on here?


I don't understand your issue here. Yes, the stimulus is flawed. The whole point of this question type is to find the flaw in the stimulus and find the corresponding flaw in the answer choices.

Manhattan LSAT Noah
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Re: Assumption Questions

Postby Manhattan LSAT Noah » Tue May 28, 2013 7:37 pm

Younks wrote:Hey everyone,

I'm quite frustrated with assumption questions. It seems that some problems on the LSAT do not use perfect logic in their stimulus (even on questions that imply that they are - meaning not just "Find a flaw in the reasoning" type questions). For example, take PT7, S1, Q20 - about Dr. Esposito running in the election - just because Krasman doesn't run doesn't mean that no one else will run either.

Does anyone have some insight that perhaps I'm missing on here?

I think you might be combining question type frustrations! For assumption family questions, you actually know that the logic will always be flawed--that's how they squeeze an assumption in there that the answer capitalizes on in some way.

PT7, S1, Q20 is actually from a match the flaw question, but we put it into the drill to help you practice seeing the core of the argument. The idea of finding the core is that you simplify the stimulus so that you can see the gap. Yes, it's flawed--that's how we like our assumption family questions!

For PT7, S4, Q20, while you do need to know the graphologists idea about handwriting but we could also consider it context. I'd say on that one, I could go either way in terms of whether it's worth considering that in the core--(nice work questioning what should go in the core and what shouldn't--this is exactly what you should be thinking about right now). Since the fact is used/given by both sides of the core, it's unlikely it's relevant to evaluating the argument's logic (and, for the record, we stole that stimulus from a question about how the argument proceeds).

I think you may be also referring to match the reasoning questions which ask us to match flawed reasoning but don't tell us its flawed. That happens--but once you get to that chapter, you'll see that you often can answer those questions pretty easily without worrying too much about that.




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