lovejeb0729lovejeb0729 Core Member
edited March 27 in Logical Reasoning 120 karma



  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27710 karma

    If something other than a lawyer can even sometimes tailor a will to particular circumstances, then in those instances, a lawyer would not necessarily be worth paying for. Thus, a lawyer is not always worth paying for. It's the "always" that creates the major tension here. By making such a universal claim, the author exposes the argument to weakness if even a single instance counter to the claim is possible. Any universal claim will be vulnerable to such a single instance to the contrary:
    1. What goes up must come down. Nope: Voyager.
    2. I always walk my dogs first thing in the morning: Nope: I have boarded them while I traveled before.
    3. Birds migrate south for the winter. Nope: The African swallow is non-migratory.
    4. Lawyers are always worth the expense: Nope: much cheaper do-it-yourself software can do just as well.

    In NA questions, the premise can never be sufficient for the conclusion. That would create a valid argument, and valid arguments don't really have necessary assumptions. So the premise here absolutely is not sufficient. It's a flawed argument, as all NA stimuluses are.

    And you're absolutely right that this argument has tons of other necessary assumptions. Of course, only one can appear in the correct answer. We have no clue which one it might be, so you've got to be prepared to encounter assumptions in the AC's other than the one's you can pinpoint while processing the stimulus. Another NA here, for example, would be that I care about having a will tailored to my circumstances as much or more as I care about having medical advice tailored to my circumstances. Another: the expense of hiring a lawyer will not create an economic hardship for me which outweighs the benefits of having a will tailored to my circumstances. With most NA's, we could go on and on all day with these.

  • lovejeb0729lovejeb0729 Core Member
    120 karma

    Thanks for the response! I know this is late, but I had another question about causation-correlation.
    If the stimulus says:

    A is correlated with B, therefore A COULD cause B

    Does the conclusion open up the possibility that B could instead cause A? In other words, would an AC saying "the author fails to consider that B is the cause of A" be incorrect since the word "could" in the conclusion already accounts for such possibility? If so, what about an AC saying "the author fails to consider that B could cause A?" Would this be also incorrect since the word "could" in the conclusion already accounts for such possibility?

    To give you more context, pt. 68 s.2 q.24's stimulus claims:

    Hormones from tears = Hormones produced when stressed
    Shedding tears removes hormones
    Crying must have the effect of reducing stress

    In the above case, I am confused with "must have the effect." Does "must have the effect" mean that crying must be the one reducing stress? Doesn't "must have the effect" open up the possibility that there could be other factors that reduce stress? Doesn't "must have the effect" also open up the possibility that stress reduction causes crying too?

    Sorry for the lengthy questions and thanks in advance!

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27710 karma

    Really great analysis on the role of “could” here. It seems like an inconspicuous word, so pinpointing it is hard. From there, I think you’ve mostly got it though. Conclusions that establish probability/possibility rather than certainties are tricky. Where a single possibility to the contrary destroys an absolute claim like in the prior example, not so here. If you were to attack this argument with possible alternatives, it just wouldn’t work. These conclusions do allow for alternative explanations, so answers like "the author fails to consider that B could cause A" are incorrect because the word "could" in the conclusion accounts for such possibility. There is a great example of this at 88.2.24. The trap answer here initially just seems so perfect because it offers up an alternative explanation. Normally, an alternative explanation is a classic and straightforward right answer. But not here because the conclusion is only establishing a probability: "It is likely, therefore, that . . ." Really cleverly designed question, but you'd be absolutely correct in applying your reasoning here to it.

    The hormones question is hard for a lot of reasons. As for possible alternative explanations, that will depend on how strictly we treat the causation. But first things first: Is there a difference between "causing something" and "having the effect of something"? I think it may be different ways to say the same thing. If I cause something, that thing is the effect of the cause. So I think that to "have" an effect is to be the cause of that effect. This is a bit slippery though, so if I ever have a question about something like this, I'd treat different instances of this as unique and work it out rather than apply any blanket rule.

    With that established, we come back to how strictly we're treating causation. TBH, they're not always perfectly consistent with this. Here, however, they are very clearly establishing a causation argument. Since that is their clear intent, we know that we need to treat this very strictly and formally: No cause no effect; no effect no cause. If we see the cause, we know the effect must follow. If we see the effect, we know the cause must have preceded. So this conclusion does shut down these other possibilities. From there, it should be a straight line to the correlation doesn't equal causation answer. Still though, these AC's are a minefield and it can be really easy to get hung up. The whole concept of "causal contribution" or "causal influence" in AC C is particularly troublesome to me. When I worked this problem, to tell you the truth, I dealt with this more procedurally than substantively. I stuck a pin in C and decided not to work it out if I could avoid it. When I saw the right answer, I went with it and determined to leave C unresolved. So that's how I'd treat this under time. In analysis, I'm wondering if this is actually a nonsense answer choice. Since we're treating the causation formally here, we have to understand that causation does have a temporal component. Cause must always precede effect in time. So what does it mean for an effect to causally contribute to its own cause? This is some time traveler's kill-your-grandpa kind of thing. But that's a whole lot to process under timed conditions, and even harder to commit to confidently which is why I will routinely choose not to do this kind of work under timed conditions where I can. There may be more to this, but I think that's probably sufficient to address your question here.

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