Preptest 68 section 3 #16 (LR)

june2014
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:14 am

Preptest 68 section 3 #16 (LR)

Postby june2014 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:03 pm

From my understanding, the argument reverses logic, but the way (A) is worded confuses me and I don't think I completely understand what the stimulus is saying. Can anyone with a full grasp of the stimulus explain how (A) is the answer? Thanks!

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:41 pm

Re: Preptest 68 section 3 #16 (LR)

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:26 pm

You're right that this is essentially a problem of reversed logic.

Let's take a simpler example.

Premise: If I stay up all night playing video games, I will oversleep.
Conclusion: The fact that I overslept last night is entirely due to video games.

This is classic reversed logic. Another way to say that, though, is that the argument assumes there's no other possible reason for me to oversleep. In reality, while late-night video game playing is one trigger than will result in my oversleeping, there may be many others.

(A) is saying the same thing - that the argument assumes there's no other possible cause of the result other than the trigger.

Does that help?

june2014
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:14 am

Re: Preptest 68 section 3 #16 (LR)

Postby june2014 » Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:13 am

Christine (MLSAT) wrote:You're right that this is essentially a problem of reversed logic.

Let's take a simpler example.

Premise: If I stay up all night playing video games, I will oversleep.
Conclusion: The fact that I overslept last night is entirely due to video games.

This is classic reversed logic. Another way to say that, though, is that the argument assumes there's no other possible reason for me to oversleep. In reality, while late-night video game playing is one trigger than will result in my oversleeping, there may be many others.

(A) is saying the same thing - that the argument assumes there's no other possible cause of the result other than the trigger.

Does that help?



Thank you for your explanation. I understand that the stimulus commits a mistaken reversal, however I'm still having a hard time understanding how the stimulus matches up with answer choice (A). How does "growing conviction that politicians cannot solve the most important problems" = "belief that few important problems can be solved by government action"? I feel that because of the "the" in front of "most important problems", the sentence doesn't mean the same thing as what (A) claims that the stimulus is concluding.

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Christine (MLSAT)
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Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:41 pm

Re: Preptest 68 section 3 #16 (LR)

Postby Christine (MLSAT) » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:00 pm

june2014, my apologies! I misunderstood your original question. I thought you meant that you knew the argument contained a reversal problem, but you didn't understand how the language of (A) WAS that reversal! Now I understand your question better! You are concerned that even though (A) contains reversal language, that language does not quite match up to the conclusion. And you are completely right that it doesn't.

So here's the deal. This argument is riddled with flaws, and each one of these flaws could have been tested, independent of the others. So let's sort out what they are.

    PREMISE: if people believe (important problems only solved by group attitude change) AND (gov't action generally can't make group attitude change) ...

Yikes. Let's simplify that trigger. That premise is essentially:

    PREMISE: if (people believe most of the important problems can't be solved by gov't action) --> (unenthusiastic about voting).
    CONCLUSION: (decreasing voter turnout) due entirely to (growing conviction that politicians can't solve the most important problems)

This argument makes a few different types of errors.

    1) reversal of conditional logic in premise.
    2) extreme language 'entirely'.
    3) term shift from gov't action to 'politicians'
    4) term shift from 'most of the important problems' to 'the most important problems'
    5) term shift from 'unenthusiastic about voting' to 'decreased voter turnout'

If this answer choice had address the reversal ALONE, it might have read something like this:
presumes, without providing justification, that decreased enthusiasm about voting must be caused by the belief that few important problems can be solved by government action. This is a reversal of the premise logic, and it doesn't match the conclusion because of all the other term shift errors the argument makes.

Answer choice (A) addresses the reversal, but it also exchanges the premise's 'unenthusiastic about voting' for the conclusion's term 'decreased voter turnout'. However, the language of 'few important problems can be solved' still matches to the premise term, not the shifted conclusion version 'the most important problems'. But that's okay. The author has to be making this error in addition to making the term shift error from 'most of the important' to 'the most important'!

If there had been no term shift in describing the problems between premise and conclusion, and/or (A) matched neither premise nor conclusion, then it would be problematic in the way you're concerned about. But since the language of (A) matches the language of the premise, and the author must be reversing the conditional logic in the premise in addition to making a bunch of term shift errors, this is still an accurate pinpointing of author flaw.

Does that help?

june2014
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:14 am

Re: Preptest 68 section 3 #16 (LR)

Postby june2014 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:47 am

Christine (MLSAT) wrote:june2014, my apologies! I misunderstood your original question. I thought you meant that you knew the argument contained a reversal problem, but you didn't understand how the language of (A) WAS that reversal! Now I understand your question better! You are concerned that even though (A) contains reversal language, that language does not quite match up to the conclusion. And you are completely right that it doesn't.

So here's the deal. This argument is riddled with flaws, and each one of these flaws could have been tested, independent of the others. So let's sort out what they are.

    PREMISE: if people believe (important problems only solved by group attitude change) AND (gov't action generally can't make group attitude change) ...

Yikes. Let's simplify that trigger. That premise is essentially:

    PREMISE: if (people believe most of the important problems can't be solved by gov't action) --> (unenthusiastic about voting).
    CONCLUSION: (decreasing voter turnout) due entirely to (growing conviction that politicians can't solve the most important problems)

This argument makes a few different types of errors.

    1) reversal of conditional logic in premise.
    2) extreme language 'entirely'.
    3) term shift from gov't action to 'politicians'
    4) term shift from 'most of the important problems' to 'the most important problems'
    5) term shift from 'unenthusiastic about voting' to 'decreased voter turnout'

If this answer choice had address the reversal ALONE, it might have read something like this:
presumes, without providing justification, that decreased enthusiasm about voting must be caused by the belief that few important problems can be solved by government action. This is a reversal of the premise logic, and it doesn't match the conclusion because of all the other term shift errors the argument makes.

Answer choice (A) addresses the reversal, but it also exchanges the premise's 'unenthusiastic about voting' for the conclusion's term 'decreased voter turnout'. However, the language of 'few important problems can be solved' still matches to the premise term, not the shifted conclusion version 'the most important problems'. But that's okay. The author has to be making this error in addition to making the term shift error from 'most of the important' to 'the most important'!

If there had been no term shift in describing the problems between premise and conclusion, and/or (A) matched neither premise nor conclusion, then it would be problematic in the way you're concerned about. But since the language of (A) matches the language of the premise, and the author must be reversing the conditional logic in the premise in addition to making a bunch of term shift errors, this is still an accurate pinpointing of author flaw.

Does that help?


Wow that was really helpful! I finally get it, and after reading your explanation I have a much better understanding of how to approach flaw questions that have more than one flaw like this one. Thank you so much! :D




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