PT68.S3.Q16 - political scientist: people become unenthusiastic

stcaitmokyustcaitmokyu Member
edited August 2016 in Logical Reasoning 68 karma
So I was not sure about the term switching..."the most important problems" in the conclusion and "important problems" in the premise. So I expected to see something related to that in the correct answer...but is this actually not an important switching?
And that's why I was not sure about the term "few important problems" in A...and thought B is correct because it contains "the most important problems."


  • runiggyrunruniggyrun Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2481 karma
    You are right to notice the switch from "important" to "most important". That attention to detail will yield dividends in a lot of cases. However, in this case, because people think politicians can't solve "important problems" in general, that includes "most important problems" as well, so in this case the switch is not the main issue.
    The glaring gap is that the author identifies ONE thing that can make people unenthusiastic about voting, but then concludes that decreased voter turnout is EXCLUSIVELY due to this issue. It's can't possibly be due to more women working and not being able to take Tuesdays off to vote, or politics becoming so dirty that people are disgusted with the whole thing, or that people prefer to catch Pokemons in the park instead of voting. No, the author says, it's due EXCLUSIVELY to people not believing government/politicians can solve their problems.
    That's essentially what answer A is saying - he's excluding other things that could be contributing to decreased voter turnout. It's a bit tricky in wording, especially because "few problems can be solved" is a negation of the stimulus "problems cannot be solved unless attitudes change, and generally that doesn't happen through government action" so you have to figure out that it does mean the same thing.
    LSAT writers often use such disguises to make the correct answer trickier to spot, because it won't exactly match your pre-phrasing of the issue.
  • stcaitmokyustcaitmokyu Member
    68 karma
    Thanks for the reply---so term shift isn't important if one of them includes the other I guess? Is this true for every cases?
    And just want to make sure...(A) is the negation of the premise and in this stimulus, the author only takes P as the only cause but (A) points out there can be other causes right?
  • runiggyrunruniggyrun Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    2481 karma
    I would be weary of making generalizations about this being true of every case, or not being true. It is important if it changes the argument in a substantive way (I know that's a wishy washy answer, but it's best to think through each problem rather than rely on shortcuts about what's allegedly "always" the case).
    In a lot of cases the correct answer hinges on a shift - it would certainly be one of the first places I'd look. In this case, once you read through the answers you realize that none of them talk about that shift, so whether or not it's important to the validity of the argument becomes kind of irrelevant. You could spend time thinking about whether or not it's a shift that damages the argument (and I believe it doesn't, in this case, because if you can't solve any problems you definitely can't solve the most important ones), but that's not time well spent. Instead you need to quickly regroup, realize that the answer you were looking for is not in the 5 answers provided, and move on to identify which one of them does address a real flaw.

    And yes, you are correct, A is the negation/ contrapositive of the premise ("problems can generally not be solved" becomes "few problems can be solved") and the author thinks that's the only cause, while A says that there can be others.

    Just as an aside, A could have gone a step further and said "The author doesn't take into account the fact that more people chasing Pokemons could also be a factor in decreasing voter turnout" and it would have been correct, because it would address exactly the same flaw: the premise is not THE ONLY possible cause.
  • stcaitmokyustcaitmokyu Member
    68 karma
    Wait, I thought negation and contrapositive do not mean the same it?
    I thought contrapositive involves conditional statement and negation is just...negating something.
    Could you elaborate a bit why it's contrapositive and negation? Thanks!
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