LSAT 11 – Section 2 – Question 22

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT11 S2 Q22
Sufficient assumption +SA
+Harder 148.469 +SubsectionMedium
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This is a sufficient assumption question because of the question stem: “…conclusion would be properly drawn if it were true that…” Note that there are two speakers in this stimulus – our job is to address the missing SA in the environmentalist’s argument, but since the environmentalist is responding to the oil rep, we must read both blurbs.

Sufficient assumption questions tend to be very formal. We’re looking for a rule that would 100% validate the conclusion, specifically by bridging the premise and conclusion through the rule. Not only are we extrapolating the rule from our argument, but we’re also using that rule to render the argument “valid.” The way to prephrase our answer choice is by tying our premises and conclusion together into a rule: “If [premise] → then [conclusion].”

The oil company rep’s argument is pretty straightforward: we spent more money cleaning otters hurt by the spill than any other rescue project we’ve been involved in, and this shows their concern. While it’s straightforward, it’s not a solid argument. There are many reasons they could have spent the money… maybe it was a PR move and they have no real concern for the otters.

We’re given the environmentalist’s (E) thoughts on this immediately: they do not believe the rep from the oil company. Why? E says that the rep’s real concern is clear in their admission that photography of the oil-covered otters would damage the oil company’s public image and sales.

E’s argument could definitely weaken and call into question the true motive of the oil company’s motive in trying to help the otters – as we said above, it would be a PR move. However, to claim that the oil company has no concern for the environment is wrong given the information we currently have. Can’t the oil company care about its public image and the environment? E is assuming that if the company has other reasons to help the otters beyond saving the environment, the concern is not real. What we need to bridge the gap and render E’s conclusion valid is to say: if you have any motive beyond saving the environment, your concern is not real.

Correct Answer Choice (A) While it’s not a perfect match to our prephrase, it does get at the “you can’t have both/you can only have one reason” language. This answer choice works because we already know they admitted to cleaning the otters because photography of them covered in oil would have damaged the company’s image and sales. If that’s a reason and we plug A into E’s premises, then the oil company rep’s claim is thrown out the window.

Answer Choice (B) This is not correct – it doesn’t matter that they were saved by the rescue project, nor do we care about the results. We care about the motive for the project.

Answer Choice (C) This is not correct and doesn’t do anything to help the conclusion. This is just adding more information about how important sales are to the company, but they could just as equally have concern for the environment.

Answer Choice (D) This information is irrelevant to the premise and conclusion. Just because the government would have helped, doesn’t mean that the oil company’s concerns aren’t actually for the environment.

Answer Choice (E) This answer choice is saying that the rescue project was more successful than any other of their projects – but that has nothing to do with their motives. This is wrong.

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