LSAT 14 – Section 2 – Question 10

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT14 S2 Q10
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Harder 148.522 +SubsectionMedium

Here we have a flaw question, which we know from the question stem: “Which of the following describes an error of reasoning in the merchants’ argument?” Right away we know our correct answer has to do two things: be descriptively accurate, and describe the flaw of the stimulus. We also know what the wrong answers will do - describe reasoning flaws we’ve seen before, but don’t like up with our stimulus. Once we have a clear understanding of the questrion’s objective, we can proceed into structural analysis of the stimulus.

Our argument begins with a proposed law restricting outdoor advertising abilities in Penglai to small signs of a standard shape identifying a place of business. Next, we are introduced to the opposition. We learn some island merchants are protesting the proposed law because the overall amount of business being brought in would be reduced. The protestors’ base their reasoning on a government study where businesses with outdoor advertising tended to have a bigger market share than those who did not use outdoor advertising.

Ultimately, our speaker is concluding causation from correlation. Simply on the basis that business with outdoor advertising happened to have more business the speaker concludes the increased business is because of the use of outdoor advertising. Remember that our conclusion is something that has to be true on the basis of our premises. Just because these businesses have two qualities at the same time does not mean we can assume a causal relationship. It could be the case that a third outside factor impacts both business volume and outdoor advertising trends in the exact same way.

Knowing that our speaker incorrectly presumes causation from a correlation, we can proceed into answer choice elimination.

Answer Choice (A) This is not descriptively accurate. Our argument does not claim there are simply no reasons to enact the law. Instead, our argument claims that there is a bad impact that would follow from the enactment of the law.

Correct Answer Choice (B) This is exactly what we are looking for. This descriptively accurate answer choice is the only option that points out the existence of a third factor explaining the results in the government’s study. Answer choice B explains that businesses were more successful using outdoor advertising not because it raises the level of overall business available, but simply because it allows businesses to poach customers from their competitors. This points out the strength of the argument’s conclusion. Our speaker did not conclude that businesses with outdoor advertising were generating more business - instead, they were stealing business from their competitors.

Answer Choice (C) This answer is descriptively accurate, but not the ultimate issue in our stimulus. Whether or not the study is objective (100% factual without subjectivity) does not change the fact that our author incorrectly interpreted the meaning of the study.

Answer Choice (D) Here, we have another answer choice that is technically correct in description but does not identify the true issue with our argument. By telling us that the argument fails to establish that market share was exactly proportional to advertising, this answer choice does not attack the causal mistake seen in the argument.

Answer Choice (E) This brings us to our last descriptively correct answer choice that fails to describe the true issue of our stimulus. The consideration of this law being “constitutional” does not connect to any sort of the reasoning presented in the stimulus. Knowing our correct answer choice will highlight the flaw with the author’s interpretation of the study, we can eliminate this answer.

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