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How to distinguish minor flaws from major/main flaws?

mdedios2mdedios2 Member
edited November 2021 in Logical Reasoning 24 karma

One of my biggest weaknesses at Flawed Method of Reasoning is distinguishing between a minor flaw and a major flaw in a stimulus that has multiple flaws, and the answer choices include both flaws. In the explanation video of PT19 S2 Q07, JYP was able to identify the minor flaw by hypothetically eliminating it and seeing if the conclusion is still logical. When it wasn't he identified that flaw as the minor flaw. However, can't this also be used for major flaws? If you eliminate the major flaw, the argument will still not be completely logical because the minor flaw is still there. So, to me it seems like that method does not really distinguish between minor and major flaws because applying it to both types of laws yield the argument as weak in both cases.

I'm really struggling with this and any advice is appreciated!

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  • julielamberthjulielamberth Free Trial Member
    12 karma

    I don't have access to the videos so I can't speak to what was done in this one, but remember there is only one right answer, and you don't need to compare. I think about the test makers making questions harder by including a less obvious flaw as the answer. But you won't have two answer choices, one that is minor and one that is major; the four wrong ones are not flaws in the argument. I also don't stress over predicting; I try, and if I don't see it I move on to the answer choices. On this question I'd say, ok, I've got evidence about the number of accidents caused by lefties vs righties, and a conclusion about how likely a lefty or righty is to cause an accident. The problem is I am going "backwards;" if lefties are 10% of the population but then cause 49% of accidents, they are still pretty dangerous. You know the argument is weak, as almost all arguments on the LSAT are, because there is a flaw question asked, so you know there is a gap.

    Do you have a question where you think there are both minor and major flaws in the answer choices? I am a firm believer in almost 20 years of LSAT that there is not a "best" answer, but one right four wrong, and therefore there is ONLY one flaw in the answer choices. But I'd be happy to look at a specific one if you have one!

  • mdedios2mdedios2 Member
    24 karma

    (I don't see a reply button but I hope you see this)

    @julielamberth Thank you so much for replying! Specifically I am talking about PT22 S2 Q25. I actually still am on blind review so I don't know the correct answer. I am stuck between A and B though. To me both are flaws, but I am not sure which is the main flaw. I am leaning towards B but I am not 100% sure because of my reasoning in my original post.

    (btw since I am still on blind review for this question please don't spoil the answer :smile: )

  • SamiSami Live Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    10774 karma

    Answer choice A is interesting.

    First, does the conclusion in the stimulus talk about general population? The conclusion just says "more people" but that could just mean the people that were polled.

    Moreover, even if the conclusion in the stimulus had drawn a conclusion about the general population based on the sample of people polled, is that a flaw? It's not. It is acceptable to use a sample to draw conclusion about the general population provided that there is nothing wrong with the sample such as it is not representative of the population, is too small etc.

    Often times we spend so much time in the stimulus but we rush through being careful in the answer choices as well. The LSAT writers love to be sneaky in answer choices as well and even if you understand the stimulus, they can write answer choices in a manner where if you are not careful they can sneak in and make it a trap.

    I hope this was helpful.

  • mattscrappymattscrappy Member
    138 karma

    I'm not is a spot to watch the video, but based only on your question:
    IMO calling them minor flaws/major flaws sounds like its more rhetorical than actually useful, so it may help to consider them "relevant flaws" vs. "irrelevant flaws"

    You could imagine that a major flaw is a gap in reasoning when you assume all the premises to be true. We won't contest that more accidents are caused by right handed people, but as AC B points out, that might not matter. It's a flaw with the logic that is presented, not because you didn't consider every single other hypothetical possibility under the Sun.

    A minor flaw might be "no, more accidents are caused be left-handed people." Sure, that might decimate the conclusion, but it isn't a flaw in the reasoning - just some bad evidence.

    In almost every LSAT question with a conclusion, there are essentially infinite hypothetical "did not consider this" sort of flaws, even if they aren't relevant. Did you consider that possibility people might not even exist? What if we're in a simulation and everything is predetermined? If that's true then then what does the argument become? It's, technically speaking, a flaw in the whole piece, but it certainly isn't the flaw in the reasoning inside the stimulus.

    Hope any of this helps!

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