LSAT 11 – Section 2 – Question 14

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT11 S2 Q14
Method of reasoning or descriptive +Method
+Medium 148.469 +SubsectionMedium
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We can identify this question as Method of Reasoning because of the question stem: “Which one of the following most accurately characterizes Dr. Santos’ response to the hypothesis advanced by Dr. Libokov?”

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, Dr. Libokov, tells us about the “S” reptile (whose technical name is far too long to recall). The speaker explains that the S reptile has disappeared throughout the rest of the world with the exception of a few islands around New Zealand. Dr. L concludes the explanation for this is simple, on account of the development of mammal species on larger islands that feed on the S reptile’s eggs, leading to extinction.

This first argument doesn’t have any glaring issues. While Dr. L certainly assumes that mammals became enough of a threat to the S reptile that it considerably reduced their numbers, the reasoning behind the speaker’s conclusion lines up. This very well may be why our second speaker, Dr. Santos, provides support to affirm Dr. L’s position. Dr. Santos explains that in addition to what we heard from the first speaker, any islands where mammals have been introduced ultimately see an extinction of the S reptile.

In this way Dr. Santos does fill in the itty bitty gap in Dr. L’s argument. While we can conclude a major predator would have an impact, we don’t quite have the information to assume the mammals would lead to inevitable extinction. But Dr. Santos confirms that actually we can say there is a guarantee if we introduce mammals the S reptile will decline in population. Knowing our correct answer choice will highlight how our second speaker adds to the first, we can proceed into answer choice elimination.

Answer Choice (A) Identifying a flaw means Dr. Santos would be weakening the argument. Knowing our second speaker supports (perhaps more importantly, does not discredit) we can eliminate this answer choice.

Answer Choice (B) If our second speaker were adding nothing to the discussion as claimed by this answer choice, we would expect to see an exact repetition of Dr. L’s argument. We can eliminate this answer choice because there is new information presented by Dr. Santos.

Answer Choice (C) Similarly to answer choice A, this answer accuses Dr. Santos of weakening rather than strengthening our first speaker’s argument. And if we did not like this in A, we should eliminate answer choice C as well.

Answer Choice (D) It almost feels like these wrong answers say the exact same thing in different ways. Again, this answer choice accuses our second speaker of weakening or taking away from the first speaker’s argument. Like A and C, we can eliminate D for this reason.

Correct Answer Choice (E) This is exactly what we are looking for! This is the only answer choice that correctly highlights the additional positive information Dr. Santos contributes to the first speaker’s position.

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