The question stem reads: The reasoning in the argument is most vulnerable to criticism on grounds that the argument fails to consider the possibility that… This is a Flaw question.

The author begins with context, claiming that people who need to decrease their fat intake and consume fewer calories often turn to fat substitutes, especially zero calory sweeteners such as N5. Next, we turn to the author’s argument with the context indicator “but.” The author concludes, “Studies indicate N5 is of no use to such people (people who need to decrease their fat intake and consume fewer calories).” As evidence, the author cites that subjects who ate foods prepared with N5 felt hungrier than those who ate foods prepared with real fat. Because they felt hungrier, those who used N5 consumed more calories, and their extra calories made up for the calories initially saved. So while preparing food with N5 might save you calories for that meal, you do not reduce the total calories consumed.

The study suggests that replacing fat with N5 would not save you calories in the long run. However, if we turn to the author’s conclusion, we see that the author said N5 was useless to both people who needed to save calories and reduce fat intake. While the study claims that subjects who used N5 did not reduce caloric intake, perhaps the subjects reduced total fat intake. They replaced fat with N5, and even though they ate more later, perhaps they ate fat-free foods. The calories that would have been spent on fat instead get spent on carbs and protein. As a result, N5 might be useful to people who need to reduce fat and consumer fewer calories, but only with respect to N5’s ability to reduce fat intake. Now that we have our flaws let’s move to the answer choices.

Answer Choice (A) is arbitrary. What foods can be prepared with N5 does not affect the argument. Additionally, (A) mildly helps the argument. As we increase the number of foods that cannot be prepared with N5, the less useful N5 becomes

Answer Choice (B) is arbitrary. The side effects of N5 are arbitrary to the argument. Similar to (A), (B) would mildly help the argument. As we increase the number of unpleasant side effects of N5, the less useful N5 becomes.

Answer Choice (C) is arbitrary. The argument is only concerned with people who need to reduce fat intake and consume fewer calories.

Answer Choice (D) is incorrect. (D) says that of the people who consumed food with N5, those who knew N5 contained zero calories tended to consume more food than those who didn’t know N5 was calorie-free. However, both groups are subsets of a superset: people who eat foods prepared with N5. And we know that people who ate N5 saved no calories in the long run. So while those who did not know N5 contained zero calories ate less food, they still will not have saved any calories.

Correct Answer Choice (E) is what we prephrased. While the N5 subjects might not have saved any calories, they were able to decrease fat intake. So even though they did not accomplish their goal of reducing calories, N5 was able to help them accomplish their other goal: reducing fat.

The question stem reads: The music historian's statements, if true, most strongly support which one of the following? This is a Most Strongly Supported question.

The historian claims that impoverished post-war recording studios forced bebop musicians to record extremely short solos, which is a fact that some critics find upsetting. Those critics find it upsetting because the short solo is a "misrepresentation" of their music. However, the historian counters that claim by explaining that the extreme shortness of the solos makes them "superb artistic works instead of mere representations of their live music." In other words, the historian actually thinks that short solos are not just a shortened version of the bebop musicians' live music, but that the short recordings stand on their own as beautiful music. The historian continues by saying that the concise characteristic of the early (post-war) bebop musicians' solo recording influenced the "compactness" of their live music, which the following generation of bebop musicians lacks. What makes music compact? We’re not sure, but according to the historian, live postwar bebop music had “compactness,” while later live bebop music did not. To recap, post-war bebop solo recordings were short because the studios didn't have money. The short solos were pretty good because they were beautifully concise. The short recordings of solos influenced a "compactness" to post-war live music. The later generations' bebop music was not compact.

Answer Choice (A) is incorrect because the stimulus does not suggest that representations of live solos are bad, only that the short live recordings were quite good. Furthermore, even if the stimulus claimed that representations of bebop live solos were bad, (A) would still be incorrect for drawing a general rule (about all music) from a specific instance (claims about bebop music).

Correct Answer Choice (B) claims that the post-war conditions had some beneficial consequences for bebop. The post-war conditions forced the recordings of solos to be short. The recordings, which were quite good on their own, influenced the compactness of the live music. So on the historian's account, the postwar conditions did benefit bebop.

Answer Choice (C) is incorrect. The stimulus claims that during the postwar period, the solos of bebop recordings were short. We don't know if the duration of the entire song was shorter. Even if we conceded that the tracks themselves were shorter, (C) would still be incorrect. The historian does not compare short and long bebop recordings; she simply claims that the short recordings (of solos) were quite good. We do not know what the historians think of long recordings; it's possible that she might think that longer is always better.

Answer Choice (D) is incorrect because it makes too strong of a claim. The historian claims that the next generation of bebop music lacks "compactness." While it is plausible to assume that the historian believes "compactness" is good and the lack thereof is bad, "compactness" is only one characteristic of music. While the next generation falls short in compactness, they might make up for it in other parts of their music. This is an example of a fallacy of composition (part to whole).

Answer Choice (E) makes a similar mistake as (A) by drawing a general rule about musicians from specific claims about bebop music. Additionally, even if (E) made a more limited claim about bebop musicians, it would still be incorrect. We know that post-war bebop solo recordings were short due to the impoverished conditions of the studios. But maybe bebop musicians now choose to record short solos for aesthetic reasons.

1 comment

The question stem reads: Which one of the following, if assumed, enables the conclusion of the city councilperson's argument to be properly inferred? This is a Sufficient Assumption question.

The councilperson begins by stating that many residents oppose the city's proposal to purchase a stone edifice. The residents oppose the purchase because art critics are divided over whether the edifice qualifies as art. We then get the context indicator "but," indicating a turn to the author's argument. The councilperson claims that the purpose of art is to cause experts to debate ideas, including what counts as art. They then say, "Since the edifice has caused experts to debate about what constitutes art itself, it (the edifice) does qualify as art." The indicator "since" is usually attached to both a premise and a conclusion. So "the edifice has caused experts to debate" is a premise, and "the edifice does qualify as art" is our conclusion. Let's outline the argument:

P1: The purpose of art is to cause debate among experts

P2: The edifice has caused debate among experts

______________________________________________

C: The edifice qualifies as art.

We can make the inference P3 that the edifice has fulfilled the purpose of art since the edifice has caused debate among experts (which is the purpose of art). We now get

P1: The purpose of art is to cause debate among experts

P2: The edifice has caused debate among experts

P3 The edifice has fulfilled the purpose of art

______________________________________________

C: The edifice qualifies as art.

In the Core Curriculum, we discussed how ideas contained in the conclusion must also be contained in the premises. The councilperson's conclusion is that the edifice qualifies as art, but we have no premise to tell us what qualifies as art. So we need a conditional with "qualifies as art" in the necessary condition: ( _) -> qualifies as art. As a matter of "logic," any sufficient condition that is satisfied by the stimulus will complete the councilperson's argument. As a matter of what actually happens on the LSAT, the sufficient condition will usually be an inference we made using the premises. We made the inference that the edifice has fulfilled the purpose of art. So our most likely sufficient assumption will be:

P1: The purpose of art is to cause debate among experts

P2: The edifice has caused debate among experts

P3 The edifice has fulfilled the purpose of art

SA: fulfills the purpose of art -> qualifies as art

______________________________________________

C: The edifice qualifies as art.

I'll note that the sufficient condition does not have to be "fulfills the purpose of art," but we absolutely need "qualifies as art" in the necessary condition. We can screen the answer choices by asking ourselves: Does the AC have "qualifies as art" in the necessary? If yes, then Does sufficient get satisfied by the stimulus? Let's take a look at the AC's

Answer Choice (A) fails our test. Translated, we get: "qualifies as art -> causes debate." Here we have "qualifies as art" in the sufficient condition when we want it in the necessary condition.

Answer Choice (B) does not have the necessary condition we are looking for. You might think that (B) would contradict our conclusion. The sufficient condition is met, so we would get: "experts cannot be certain about whether the edifice qualifies as art." However, the fact that "experts cannot be certain about whether the edifice qualifies as art" does not affect whether or not the edifice actually qualifies as art. There is a distinction between what we think is true and what actually is true. In the past, people were not sure whether the Earth was the center of the universe. That did not mean the Earth was or was not the center of the universe. In any case, (B) is wrong. Don't pick it.

Answer Choice (C) is irrelevant. If you picked (C), you likely thought the city councilperson was advocating for the purchase of the edifice. However, we do not know his position on that matter. What we do know is that he thinks the edifice is art. The councilperson may think the edifice qualifies as art and that the city should not purchase the edifice because it is too expensive. (C) is an example of why it is so vital to separate the context from the argument.

Correct Answer Choice (D) is our prephase. The edifice fulfills the purpose of art; therefore, it qualifies as art. Pick it and move.

Answer Choice (E) is incorrect for the same reason that (C) is: they are irrelevant. Again, the councilperson's argument has nothing to do with whether or not the city should purchase the edifice, only whether or not the edifice qualifies as art.

We start out with two sentences containing two distinct ideas: 1) in order to be intriguing one has to inspire the perpetual curiosity of others and 2) constantly expanding our abilities and expanding our intellectual depth will allow one to inspire said curiosity.

Ok, interesting! Actually I take that back, it’s not very interesting, is it? It’s pretty boring. But, what are you going to do? If I had a nickel for every time an LR stimulus was boring I’d have…an inconvenient quantity of nickels!

Ok back to the task at hand. We’ve got these two ideas that we laid out above. They’re very dry and abstract and it’s pretty hard, at first glance, to see if they support one another. Let’s take a closer look:

They do overlap on this one idea: inspiring the perpetual curiosity of others. The first sentence tells us that inspiring this curiosity is necessary in order to be an intriguing person; the second sentence tells us that broadening our abilities and extending intellectual reach can lead to that curiosity. These are two different facets of “the perpetual curiosity of others,” but there is no support relationship here. The second sentence is not an example of an idea put forward in the first sentence nor is it a reason to believe the first sentence, it is pivoting off a subject introduced in the first sentence (perpetual curiosity of others) and introducing a wholly unique idea.

Side note: I can’t tell if Perpetual Curiosity of Others sounds more like a novel or an indie band? What do you think? Actually, don’t answer that. We have a main conclusion to find!

So far, we have yet to identify support, so we can’t really say yet where we might have a premise or conclusion.

Moving on to the third sentence, we start with the word “for” which indicates that a premise is most likely lying in wait. After that we get the idea that “such a perpetual expansion of one’s mind” (referential for extending one’s intellectual reach) will make you a constant mystery to other. This is describing the mechanism through which the idea in the second sentence occurs. This third sentence is directly supporting our second sentence. What does that mean for us? It means that this third sentence is the premise and our second sentence is the main conclusion. We can therefore label our first sentence as context.

Before we go onto the answer choices let’s revisit our main conclusion: “Constantly broadening one’s abilities and extending one’s intellectual reach will enable one to inspire that curiosity [i.e. the perpetual curiosity of others]” Now let’s look for an answer choice that matches!

Answer Choice (A) This is a verbatim reproduction of our context. There’s not much more to say about this answer choice. If you correctly ID the conclusion, you’ll see that it’s wrong. If you mistakenly ID the first sentence as the conclusion, you’ll almost certainly fall for this trap answer.

Correct Answer Choice (B) This is (almost) a word-for-word reproduction of our conclusion. Again, there’s not much more to say about these first two answers. The difficulty for this question lies in correctly identifying the Main Conclusion within the stimulus–if you’ve done that correctly, you’ll almost certainly choose B over A.

Answer Choice (C) This is a description of our final sentence (i.e. our premise). Again, this choice only looks appealing if you’ve misidentified the main conclusion.

Answer Choice (D) This is tempting because it seems to be describing our main conclusion, but we have necessary/sufficient confusion. Our conclusion mapped out conditionally looks like this: broadening abilities + extending intellectual reach → enabled to inspire curiosity

This answer choice mapped out conditionally looks like this: inspire curiosity→BA + EIR. If we understand our conditional logic rules we know that the only way we can flip these conditions is if we negate them both to produce our contrapositive.

Answer Choice (E) The beginning of this AC is spot on: “If one constantly broadens one's abilities and extends one’s intellectual reach…” This is verbatim how our conclusion starts, but unfortunately it’s all downhill from there. We’re then told that one will “always have curiosity.” This argument is about inspiring curiosity in others. Nowhere in the stimulus do we get any information on our own curiosity, so this AC is totally inconsistent with our stimulus.