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Cookie Cutter Argument Form: Cost Benefit

Lucas CarterLucas Carter Alum Member


I noticed a repeating pattern of argument structure that some may find useful. I call the form "Cost Benefit”, below I will discuss how it functions and why it matters.

The argument structure offers one benefit as a premise and concludes from this that the benefit is compelling to make a statement about the original “thing” being good overall.

Let me give an example:

The Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner has the most efficient suction system out of any vacuum on the market, moreover, the Dirt Devil is the most cost effective option on the market. Therefore if you are in the market for a vacuum, look no further than the Dirt Devil.

Here our premise holds 2 benefits (most efficient suction system, most cost effective) out to conclude that the Dirt Devil is the best to buy.

The assumption here and with every “Cost Benefit” argument is that there is not a cost being overlooked that outweighs these benefits.


To Weaken such an argument: Introduce a cost that may outweigh the benefit

To Strengthen: Block out the possibility of potential costs, introduce another benefit, or emphasize the importance/relevance of the benefit.

Additionally, this argument structure is often used for Necessary Assumption questions. The NA simply stating something to the effect of: “The benefit is not outweighed by certain costs” or “The benefit is not unimportant to making a judgement about the original thing”.

The “Cost Benefit” argument also has another cookie cutter form. It uses a cost as a premise and then concludes that something is not good or we should not do something. This argument structure works the same way as the above one, except the assumption is that there is not an overriding benefit.

Cookie cutter arguments matter because patterns of reasoning are finite and LSAC re uses many of the same forms, just dressed up with confusing subject matter. For example to make a “Cost Benefit” argument more difficult, they may make the subject matter abstract or create an argument that makes perfect sense intuitively.

Boiling questions down to empirical structure is like distilling their blue prints and from there you can think about how new questions may spawn from them. Hopefully this is helpful, if so I will make some similar posts in the future!


    162 karma

    Super helpful! Thanks for your time in typing it all out :)

  • Chris NguyenChris Nguyen Member Administrator Sage 7Sage Tutor
    4474 karma

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  • BumblebeeBumblebee Member
    640 karma

    Super helpful!!!
    A very critical concept that is repeated in LR.

    Knowing this cookie cutter argument form by heart will save your time, conserve your brain energy, and thus boost your LR score.

    Thank you so much for posting this!
    Look forward to reading about other cookie cutter argument forms!

  • shirley333shirley333 Alum Member
    15 karma

    Thank you so much for posting this! It's helpful.

  • AudaciousRedAudaciousRed Alum Member
    2689 karma

    This was very well stated.

  • sl6001sl6001 Member
    9 karma

    Very helpful. Thank you!

  • Lolo1996Lolo1996 Member
    498 karma

    Thank you for posting this!

    Do you happen to have a list of cookie cutter questions where you debrief them like this? Or know where I can find a good/comprehensive one?

  • pvlsatpvpvlsatpv Alum Member
    31 karma

    My first comment, super helpful!! Thank you!

  • rbrevillerbreville Alum Member
    67 karma

    What PT did you find this on?

  • thedramallamathedramallama Member
    103 karma

    Thank you so much! As someone mentioned above, do you have a list of cookie cutter arguments?

  • Mike_RossMike_Ross Monthly Member Sage
    2989 karma

    Nice! Ah the ol dirt devil vacuum

  • Lucas CarterLucas Carter Alum Member
    2798 karma

    @Lolo1996 said:
    Thank you for posting this!

    Do you happen to have a list of cookie cutter questions where you debrief them like this? Or know where I can find a good/comprehensive one?

    Hey, I do plan on making some more of these posts. I will also try to find a format where I can compile all of them, like a master guide!

    @rbreville said:
    What PT did you find this on?

    I made this particular example up, but, I do think the LSAT has brought up the Dirt Devil before.

  • fycw2068fycw2068 Alum Member
    404 karma

    This is very helpful! If you end up compiling the master guide, can you update via comment on this thread? I bookmarked this discussion so get notifications when people comment. I check the discussions about once a week so could easily miss a new post :) Thanks much!!!

  • gabes900-1gabes900-1 Alum Member
    855 karma

    This is a wonderful post I have found very helpful.

    Thank you @"Lucas Carter" for the post.

  • JooxoxoxoJooxoxoxo Monthly Member
    46 karma

    So healpful! Thank you!

  • McCormickangela-1McCormickangela-1 Monthly + Live Member
    16 karma

    We discussed this today in JY's overview of PT93. This posting helped me to clearly understand the discussion today. Thanks!

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