We should recognize this as a strengthening question, since the stem states: Which one of the following, if true, most strengthens the teacher’s argument?
Our stimulus takes the form of a dialogue between a student and teacher, and we are tasked with strengthening the teacher’s argument.
The teacher argues that journalists who don’t disclose the identity of their source stake their reputation on the ‘logic of anecdotes’. Basically, you judge their reporting, and consequently their reputation, on a similar basis to how you judge an anecdote. He supports this claim with some more specific information comparing anonymously sourced reports and anecdotes. It is necessary for an anonymous report to be published, and an anecdote to be good, that they be highly plausible, original, or interesting. The student responds by saying that if this were true, journalists wouldn’t need actual sources, since it wouldn’t be hard for a resourceful journalist to just invent plausible, original, or interesting stories. We want to support the Teacher’s claim that journalist stake their reputation on the logic of anecdotes when they use anonymous sources. On to the answer choices:
Correct Answer Choice (A) This connects our journalists premise about the requirements to be published with his conclusion about reputation.
Answer Choice (B) Our teacher’s argument is about anonymous sources; this isn’t relevant.
Answer Choice (C) This wouldn’t affect whether they get published, and hence whether the journalist stakes his reputation.
Answer Choice (D) This does nothing for us.
Answer Choice (E) We are interested in their reputation, and whether they stake it, not whether they are valued by their publishers.
This is a flaw/descriptive-weakening question and we know this because of the question stem: The reasoning above is flawed because it...
The argument starts out by giving us a reason for why typed passwords are a security risk because they’re easy to guess or steal. There is a new system that relies on voice authentication and in a trial, we’re told that the system never gave access to someone who wasn’t supposed to have access; in other words, it kept unauthorized users out. The argument concludes that if this result above can be repeated, then there will be a way to give access to authorized people and no one else.
This kind of error pops up now and again on the LSAT. It’s basically a confusing granting access and refusing access, and how many times it does each correct. In other words, if the system denies someone who isn’t supposed to have access every single time, that doesn’t mean that the system grants access to the people who are allowed access.
Answer Choice (A) is not descriptively accurate because the comparison is not faulty. The author says that typed passwords can be taken, but someone’s voice can’t be stolen. This is out.
Answer Choice (B) is trying to be a sample size flaw - and while it is descriptively accurate, it’s not a flaw. How big does the sample size need to be for this “general” conclusion, assuming that the conclusion that “voice recognition will work” is a general conclusion in the first place.
Answer Choice (C) is descriptively accurate but it’s not a flaw. It’s just additional information on the usefulness of this feature.
Correct Answer Choice (D) is descriptively accurate and it is the flaw. While you’re not giving access to unauthorized users, what about the accuracy of giving access to people who are authorized? We need to know this latter statistic before we make the conclusion.
Answer Choice (E) is not descriptively accurate; there is nothing to suggest that the conclusion is “heavily” qualified in any way.
This is a strengthening question, as the stem states: Which one of the following principles, if established, most strongly supports the argument?
This is a nice and short stimulus. Our author concludes purely on the basis that cigarette smoking has been found to be a health hazard, all smoking advertisements should be banned. We want a principle that justifies this conclusion about what ought to happen. On to the answers:
Answer Choice (A) This is bait answer, and what makes this question particularly difficult. What we have to infer is that there are other ways of promoting smoking besides showing people smoking.
Answer Choice (B) Again, we want a reason to ban all advertisements that promote smoking; not just the ones that are misleading.
Answer Choice (C) Ok, but even if they did our author still believes they should be banned.
Answer Choice (D) We’ve been told nothing about government standards.
Correct Answer Choice (E) Bingo! What we need to catch on to is the contrapositive of this answer; if a product is unhealthy (i.e a health hazard) then it shouldn’t be promoted by advertisements. It would follow from this principle and the fact cigarette smoking has been shown to be unhealthy that cigarettes should not be promoted, which would support the government banning such promotions.