Working on diagramming conditional statements....

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Working on diagramming conditional statements....

Postby WaltGrace83 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:23 pm

I am working on sufficient assumption questions and there definitely are tons of conditional logic stimuli. It seems that half of the ones I have been drilling are very very conditional logic based while almost every single one CAN BE put into conditional logic with some benefit. Thus, I am trying to firm up my skills in order to get these questions done faster.

First of all, I am devising a list of conditional logic "trigger words" so that I can make my response to conditional logic more automatic. Is my list forgetting any key players (or perhaps even minor players - every little bit helps)? I took the sufficient/necessary words from the LSAT trainer, the blog, and some other words I've found in stimuli. However, there is also this list of "guarantee" words that I found in the Trainer and I have been thinking about them. What is the deal with these? Are they "special" because they are always necessary conditions unless paired with another word indicating necessity? For example...

"John cannot go to the store today"
John → ~Store

"The LSAT cannot be mastered in a day"
LSAT → ~Mastered in a day


"John cannot go to the store without his car keys" (it seems in a way that the "cannot" doesn't matter anymore?)
Store → Car Keys
~Car Keys → ~Store

"The LSAT cannot be mastered in a day unless one received a 179 on his or her diagnostic"
Mastered → 179
~179 → ~Mastered

This is what I am thinking but please correct me if I am wrong! As for the "special considerations," I gleamed it from the LSAT blog as those are words that need a little bit of medication to the traditional cookie cutter mold we try to fit these phrases into:

"None of my friends understand the pain and glory of the LSAT"
Friend → ~Understand
Understand → ~Friend

"Dedicated people never take days off"
Dedicated person → ~Days off
Days off → ~Dedicated person

Code: Select all

•   All                  
•   Any                  
•   Every          
•   If                   
•   In order to    
•   The only        
•   To be         
•   When         
•   Whenever           
•   Each                     
•   Everyone   
•   If only   
•   Wherever   
•   Whoever   

•   Depends upon
•   Relies upon
•   Then
•   Only
•   Only if
•   Only when
•   Requires
•   Needs
•   Must
•   Necessitates
•   So

•   Cannot
•   Must
•   Are
•   Will be
•   Was
•   Invariably
•   Were
•   Always
•   Is

Special Considerations
•   Except
•   Unless
•   Until
•   Without
•   No
•   None
•   Cannot…without
•   Never
•   Nothing

Secondly, how do you go about conceptualizing double negatives? For example, I have this phrase:

"Nothing that one should not have desired in the first place fails to be a pleasure"

I guess I am just getting turned around the phrase "never" but I also noticed that I get turned around on the phrase "nothing" too.

~Desired --> Pleasure? Is this correct?

Let's say we have the phrase "Jenny is never not ready" (not the best grammar I know)
Is this Jenny --> Ready?

Do double negatives just become affirmative positives?


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Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:51 pm

Re: Working on diagramming conditional statements....

Postby BPlaura » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:41 pm

One of the things that I like about the Blueprint curriculum is that it teaches that "unless/until/without/except" should be replaced with "if not."

I wouldn't normally diagram the sentence "John can't go to the store today" unless it's part of a larger conditional argument (where, for instance, you already know that if someone can't go to the store, then X).

However, I would almost always diagram the sentence "John can't go to the store without his keys" (~keys --> ~store), because that's a true conditional statement.

As for your second question, LSAC definitely writes intentionally tricky questions and answer choices that involve double negatives. Let's take a look at your example:

"Nothing that one should not have desired in the first place fails to be a pleasure"

We call this a "no" statement (my go-to example is "No artists are rich" - artist --> ~rich). The "no" (or in this case, the "nothing" - which I break apart in my head as "no thing") negates the necessary condition:

should not have desired ---> doesn't fail to be a pleasure.

And yes, just like in math, a double negative can be interpreted as a positive:

should not have desired ---> pleasure

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