Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

michaelt
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Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

Postby michaelt » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:57 pm

I am aware of two meanings for "after all":

1) In spite of circumstances, nevertheless: "I told him I would not come. Then something changed. After all, I attended the class"
2) "Consider this:", e.g. "The president cannot be stupid. After all, he scored 175 on LSAT"

Does anybody know of any other meanings ?

So far these two definitions worked great. Then I found some weird use of it in one of LR tests (specifically, PT 35, section 1, question 16). The argument goes like this: newly discovered evidence shows X. Therefore, Y happened. After all, Y could have been caused by either A or B"

The use of "after all" does not fit any of the definitions above. It appears to me that here "after all" mean "therefore" (or "thus"), and then the last sentence would be a conclusion (and the second sentence is a sub-conclusion). But no, the explanation in Kaplan says that the second sentence is the conclusion BECAUSE "after all" could never be followed by a conclusion. If I buy this explanation, I cannot understand the role of the last sentence. What is this then? From the structure of the argument, the last sentence couldn't play any role other than a conclusion.

I am just curious what other people think. :?
Last edited by michaelt on Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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OVOXO
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Re: Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

Postby OVOXO » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:14 pm

I actually made a note about this today. Based on what I’ve seen on LR, “after all” always implies either a premise for a single conclusion or an intermediate conclusion (which is just a premise in disguise anyways).

Open to being wrong, of course.

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dowu
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Re: Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

Postby dowu » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:19 pm

Yeah dude, in both those examples you gave, after all was used to explain why something else happened.

Something changed. (Conclusion)

Why?

I told him I would not go to class. (Premise)

After all, I told him I would attend class. (Premise)

----------------------------------------------

President is not dumb. (Conclusion)

Why?

Because he scored a 175. (Premise)

See what I mean?

michaelt
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Re: Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

Postby michaelt » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:25 pm

It appears the test makers did a simply trick here. First, they made an argument with a sub-conclusion and a conclusion. And then they simply added "After All" to the conclusion, and this made the conclusion to be a redundant piece, and the sub-conclusion had no choice but to become a conclusion.

The worst part is that understanding "after all" as a conclusion kills not just one, but two points (16 & 17). Both 16 and 17 have "incorrect" answers that perfectly fit for the "after all" conclusion.

This trick is simple, but seems to me too dirty.
Last edited by michaelt on Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dowu
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Re: Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

Postby dowu » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:27 pm

Wait, so am I wrong? I read the part after "after all" as a premise in both of those arguments.

michaelt
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Re: Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

Postby michaelt » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:30 pm

dowu wrote:Wait, so am I wrong? I read the part after "after all" as a premise in both of those arguments.


That's the point. The third sentence is not really a premise, because it doesn't support anything. It is an outcome from the conclusion, yet it's not a conclusion by itself BECAUSE it uses "after all" (at least this is how Kaplan explanation goes).

bp shinners
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Re: Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

Postby bp shinners » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:48 pm

michaelt wrote:
dowu wrote:Wait, so am I wrong? I read the part after "after all" as a premise in both of those arguments.


That's the point. The third sentence is not really a premise, because it doesn't support anything. It is an outcome from the conclusion, yet it's not a conclusion by itself BECAUSE it uses "after all" (at least this is how Kaplan explanation goes).


In that third sentence, "after all" is being used to state a possibility that would explain how the conclusion might be true. It is a premise, but it's not a fact supporting a conclusion - rather an explanation of how the conclusion is possible.

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dowu
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Re: Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

Postby dowu » Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:15 pm

bp shinners wrote:
michaelt wrote:
dowu wrote:Wait, so am I wrong? I read the part after "after all" as a premise in both of those arguments.


That's the point. The third sentence is not really a premise, because it doesn't support anything. It is an outcome from the conclusion, yet it's not a conclusion by itself BECAUSE it uses "after all" (at least this is how Kaplan explanation goes).


In that third sentence, "after all" is being used to state a possibility that would explain how the conclusion might be true. It is a premise, but it's not a fact supporting a conclusion - rather an explanation of how the conclusion is possible.

Yeah, and that's how I interpreted it. Thanks bp.

michaelt
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Re: Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

Postby michaelt » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:48 pm

bp shinners wrote:In that third sentence, "after all" is being used to state a possibility that would explain how the conclusion might be true. It is a premise, but it's not a fact supporting a conclusion - rather an explanation of how the conclusion is possible.


But the conclusion is also an explanation (of the evidence) on its own. We have evidence X that is explained by Y which, in turn, is explained by A or B. How do we decide which explanation (Y, or A/B) is the main conclusion? Kaplan solution is based solely on the fact that "after all" cannot be followed by the conclusion, therefore, Y must be the conclusion.

While this might be a good lesson about "after all" in particular, it opens the door to another topic. Look at this:
#1: Newly discovered evidence shows X. Therefore, Y happened. After all, Y could have been caused by either A or B.
#2: Newly discovered evidence shows X. Therefore, Y happened. Y could have been caused by either A or B.
#3: Newly discovered evidence shows X. Therefore, Y happened. Thus, we conclude either A or B must have happened.


Are all three arguments about the same? I don't see much difference. Do you think the main conclusion is the one that directly connected to the main evidence (i.e. Y), or is the one that is heavily emphasized (e.g. "we conclude...") ?

My point is that perhaps the conclusion would be more correctly determined by how close it is related to the main evidence presented. If the argument explains something, and then proceeds by subsequent inference(s), then all those inferences are not the main conclusion (as long as they are not directly connected to the original point). The solution of Kaplan did not emphasize this, and merely relied on "after all" structure (which to me seems questionable). Here are two examples:

A law school X requires LSAT scores to be above 160. A person Y was admitted to X.

1) Therefore, Y must have spent at least 3 months practicing on LR. After all, his LSAT score is above 160.
2) Therefore, his LSAT score is above 160. After all, Y must have spent at least 3 months practicing on LR.

In both cases the main conclusion is that Y's LSAT score is above 160 (because this is directly related to the the main evidence). The point that Y must have spent at least 3 months practicing on LR is an inference, that is not directly related to the main evidence.

What do you think?

jd2121
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Re: Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

Postby jd2121 » Sat Oct 12, 2013 2:42 am

"after all" is commonly used as a sort of premise (or conclusion )booster; it will typically strengthen, or reinforce, the sentence that immediately precedes it.

for example:

John has a way with the ladies. After all, he smashed nearly half of the cheerleading team.

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SecondWind
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Re: Can "after all" ever imply a conclusion?

Postby SecondWind » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:12 pm

jd2121 wrote: John has a way with the ladies. After all, he smashed nearly half of the cheerleading team.


We might have to start a thread called "The Best Examples."

10052014
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Postby 10052014 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:41 pm

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