PT June 2007.S2.Q22 - editorialist: news media

NotMyNameNotMyName Alum Member Sage
edited June 2017 in Logical Reasoning 5320 karma

Sharing this because while eliminating AC E, I was forced to question the difference between causation and sufficiency as well as the danger of using Lawgic as shorthand when you're not actually dealing with conditional statements.

Most Strongly Supported

Argument Summary:
Premise 1: Media rarely cover local politics thoroughly.
Premise 2: Local politics is usually conducted secretly.
Major premise: Local politicians tend to be isolated from their electorates as a result of each of these factors.
Conclusion: Chance of a particular act of resident participation receiving official response is lower, discouraging resident participation.

Not really sure where they are going with this. MSS questions are difficult to prephrase for anyway.

Answer Choices:
A- Nah. Invalid reversal. We don’t know what is sufficient to bring about a likelihood of official response. Eliminate.

B- A -> B therefore /A ->/B. Invalid. Eliminate.

C- Most important??? Eliminate.

D- The current state of media coverage contributes to the isolation. Improving this coverage would reduce that contributor but would not necessarily cause any change. Correct!

E- Isolated -> Reduced chance of official response -> discourages participation. /C -> Less A. Hm. I think the issue here is with the word “causation”. “Imply” and “Cause” are not synonymous and if you contrapose a conditional statement, I don’t believe we can just switch the direction of causation. “If I am disrespectful to my parents, that discourages them to let me go out on friday nights. But if they were encouraged to let me go out on friday nights, does that cause me to be less disrespectful of them?” We are dealing with terms like "influence" and "discourage". I use Lawgic as a shorthand to deal with these ideas, but that doesn't make them conditional statements and so we definitely can't assume causation. Eliminate.


  • Zachary_PZachary_P Member
    edited June 2017 659 karma

    Good catch, @jkatz1488. I've found that every once in awhile you can treat causation as conditional logic, but for the amount of times that it'll get you in to trouble - like the above question - it's almost not worth it. That's probably because they are not the same thing, as you well know.

    I think it's especially important to trust our instincts and causation studies on the "softer" LR questions. By "softer" I mean questions that typically rely less on formal lawgic at their core, e.g. MP, MSS, RRE, Princ., and some NA. While SA, MBT, MBT, Para, and PF can use both either causation or conditional logic, it's often easier to see which one is at play which can help us diagram, or as you said, using lawgic as shorthand.

  • OlamHafuchOlamHafuch Alum Member
    2326 karma

    Yes, very good catch, @jkatz1488 !
    Since this is such an important point, I'll just try to restate it in one sentence: If A causes B, then you know that if you don't have B, then you won't have A, but you cannot infer that not having B will cause not having A.
    [Of course, even the first part of the above is true only for absolute causality, i.e., A always causes B. If A merely tends to cause B, then you can't even infer that if not B, then not A.]

  • meletzyoshermeletzyosher Free Trial Member
    66 karma

    Just want to clarify something here. Taking the Causal statement that isolated politicians causes discouragement in resident participation, can I logically conclude that if there were no sediments of discouragement, then local politicians must have not been isolated? I'm seeing on other forums this idea of Causal statements versus Conditional. It seems that people are saying you cannot contrapose a Causal statement. Why not? If I'm missing the effect, am I not necessarily missing the cause?
    I understand why E is incorrect; one, it infers the no discouragement CAUSES the original cause to be missing and two, discouragement doesn't necessitate that I was discouraged. Therefore, I cannot infer that if I was not discouraged then I received no discouragement.

  • LSAT2019-2LSAT2019-2 Alum Member
    126 karma

    Is there a video explaining causal statements versus conditional? I chose E for the MSS question in the subject line because I contraposed the causal statement as well. I was deciding between D and E, and with E I thought something was not right with the word "cause". I think if "then" was substituted for "cause", Answer choice E would be correct.

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