PT33, S1, Q19 and out of scope/similar terms

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Louis1127
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PT33, S1, Q19 and out of scope/similar terms

Postby Louis1127 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:37 am

I am having some trouble with NA questions. Specifically, PT33, S1, Q19:

The correct answer is D. When I was going through the answer choices, I crossed out D because I thought it was out of scope. The author never mentions legitimate or illegitimate calls for reform, even if he/she does mention "true reformers" and "mere opportunists".

Am I supposed to assume that "mere opportunists" are illegitimate and "true reformers" are legitimate? If not, is this one of those questions that I shouldn't worry about too much because they LSAT wasn't as tightly-written during this time (for some questions) as it is today?

Any other general advice for distinguishing between out of scope answers and answers that are not out of scope because they use similar terms would be appreciated because clearly I don't understand it.

Walrus
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Re: PT33, S1, Q19 and out of scope/similar terms

Postby Walrus » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:13 pm

I will try to help.

Am I supposed to assume that "mere opportunists" are illegitimate and "true reformers" are legitimate?


On harder questions LSAC likes to use slightly different wording in AC than in the original argument. In my opinion on NA questions the key to success is to distinguish flaws before jumping to answer choices. In this particular argument we have two premises, intermediate conclusion and main conclusion. And there is a strong tension between premises and intermediate conclusion.

P: However, widespread literacy invariably emerges before any comprehensive system of education
IC: Thus, in the interim, the populace is vulnerable to clever demagogues calling for change.

What is the point to say that in the interim populace is vulnerable to clever demagogues calling for change if lack of general education doesn't affect the ability to differentiate between legit and illegit calls for reform? If this was true, then the populace would be vulnerable to clever demagogues not only in "the interim" but also when comprehensive system of education is at place. So distinction made in IC would not follow logically.

If you keep in mind this gap, then "D" will look more attractive.

In case if you didn't spot the gap you should skim answer choices in hope that they would reveal NA.

If this didn't help then start eliminating wrong answers using negation test.

The author never mentions legitimate or illegitimate calls for reform, even if he/she does mention "true reformers" and "mere opportunists".


Author mentioned true reformers like an opposite of mere opportunists. Further author mentioned "clever demagogues calling for change." Therefore it is not a big stretch to say that author treats mere opportunists and clever demagogues like closely related categories. "Clever demagogues calling for change" is a close match to "Illegitimate calls for reform."

At this point I think that LSAC assumes that we know what demagogue is - a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

All this together makes it reasonable to assume that "mere opportunists" make illegitimate calls for reform and "true reformers" make legitimate calls.

BPlaura
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Re: PT33, S1, Q19 and out of scope/similar terms

Postby BPlaura » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:39 pm

Louis1127 wrote:Am I supposed to assume that "mere opportunists" are illegitimate and "true reformers" are legitimate?


Yup. It's great that you're thinking critically about this type of thing, but an opportunist is someone who is pushing for something for his or her own gain, so if an opportunist is pushing for reform, it's safe to call that reform "illegitimate."

More broadly, I'd be careful with NA questions and eliminating answer choices only because they seem to be outside the scope of the conclusion. Sometimes they really will be out of scope, but sometimes the correct answer might seem completely random and out of scope. If something seems out of scope you should scrutinize it especially carefully, but not necessarily automatically eliminate it.

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Re: PT33, S1, Q19 and out of scope/similar terms

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:15 pm

"Out of scope" is an extremely useful, but extremely dangerous elimination. It is probably the reason most often used to eliminate correct answers. This happens if you fall into a pattern of asking, simply, 'did the author mention this idea?', instead of 'does this idea have an *impact* on the argument?'.

There are many situations where an idea that was not explicitly mentioned will affect the argument in question in some way. Here, it happens because "true reformers" can be thought of as a subset of "legitimate calls for reform", while "mere opportunists" are a subset of "illegitimate calls for reform". Note, though, that this doesn't really require a new assumption - it only requires an understanding of the definitions of these words.

The fact, though, that one term is a subset of the other doesn't automatically make it in scope. The next step, as Walrus points out, is to apply the negation test: if the lack of general education did NOT affect the ability to differentiate the larger categories of legit vs illegit reforms, then it couldn't possibly affect the ability to differentiate between the subsets (true reformers vs mere opportunists) and then BOOM the argument falls apart.

This is just one way that seeming 'out of scopeness' can be misleading. Many Necessary Assumptions are ruling out an alternate possibility/explanation/etc, and that ruled out possibility may feel wildly out of scope. (The argument assumes that aliens will not kidnap the bears before they can repopulate the forest...) Additionally, strengthen/weaken answers oftne bring up new information not explicitly discussed in the stimulus.

"Out of scope" is a valid elimination justification, but only when the answer truly has no bearing on the argument - and that doesn't always line up with 'things not mentioned', precisely.

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Louis1127
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Re: PT33, S1, Q19 and out of scope/similar terms

Postby Louis1127 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:41 am

Walrus, Laura, and Christine: Thank you all so much for your responses. I now know that many less answers can be out of scope for NA questions, and that it is ok to apply basic definitions if they do not carry with them new assumptions. Hopefully I will become a NA and LR master at some point. Thanks again.




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