LSAT 11 – Section 2 – Question 08

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT11 S2 Q08
Method of reasoning or descriptive +Method
+Easier 148.469 +SubsectionMedium
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We can identify this question as Method of Reasoning because of the question stem: “T responds to S by showing that…”

When dealing with a Method of Reasoning question, we know we are looking for an answer choice that correctly describes the structure of our entire argument. Our correct answer is going to fit the argument exactly. Our wrong answer choices likely explain argument structures we are familiar with, but that simply don’t apply to the specific question we are looking at. Knowing what the right and wrong answers are going to do, we can jump into the stimulus.

Immediately we should make note of the two speakers at play. This means we could possibly be dealing with two different conclusions with different levels of support. Our first speaker, S, begins with their conclusion; S’s nation is becoming too averse for risk. We know this is the conclusion because our “why” follows - why is the nation too risk averse? Well, S tells us, that is because modern society will boycott foods despite the minimal risk of toxic chemical exposure. S assets that Columbus never would have sailed west with this attitude, circling back to our mail point - the nation is too risk averse.

In making this argument S is making an assumption about what it means to embrace risk. According to our first speaker, if you boycott these toxic foods you won’t think like Columbus and as a result become too risk averse. But simply because the public is not adventurous like Columbus (his questionable ethics aside) S cannot say the public is overall too averse to risk. Perhaps the risk taken by Columbus only his crew and the native people compared to contaminated foods which may be sold throughout the whole globe. But let us see what our second speaker has to say about this.

In response, T points out the assumption of our first speaker’s argument. It is not the case that being risk averse in one single way translates to being risk averse in all ways. As T points out, it could be that Columbus did sail the ocean blue in 1492 and also would have been on the boycott bandwagon of toxic foods.

Knowing we are looking for the answer choice that identifies the strict definition S is applying to risk averse we can jump into answer choice elimination.

Answer Choice (A) This answer sounds good at first by telling us that a distinction about risk should be made. But, not the distinction we want. We don’t care whether the risks are avoidable or not - but whether people are just going to embrace them generally.

Correct Answer Choice (B) This is exactly what we are looking for. This is the only answer choice that identifies that what is defined as “risk” depends on the context of the situation.

Answer Choice (C) This answer choice accuses our second speaker of making a conclusion about something confusing the minds of the public. Without referring to the confusion on the people specifically (rather than simply in the disagreement between our speakers) we can eliminate this answer choice.

Answer Choice (D) The topic of math does arise in S’s argument, but it is not a concern in speaker T’s discussion. So, we can eliminate this answer choice.

Answer Choice (E) almost seems to be a contender with the mention of a definition. We know the definition of risk averse is at odds between the speakers. However, our speakers are not concerned in establishing the perceived probable “benefit” of taking risks.


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