LSAT 14 – Section 2 – Question 13

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT14 S2 Q13
Sufficient assumption +SA
+Harder 148.518 +SubsectionMedium

We know this is a sufficient assumption question because the stem says the “ conclusion...would be properly drawn if which one…was assumed?”

Sufficient assumption questions tend to be very formal. We’re looking for a rule that would 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 plugging that rule back into the argument to make it valid. Our rule/prephrase will look like: if [premise], then [conclusion].

The first sentence is describing the features of some languages as they compare to English, specifically with kinship systems, and then makes a conclusion: people of other languages who have different words for different family members (like Hindi speakers or Korean speakers) evidence “a more finely discriminated kinship system” than English speakers do. This argument sounds good. Is the main conclusion of the argument? Let’s read on.

The next sentence goes into another difference between languages: different languages vary in the number of words they have for colors.

Our last sentence starts with “therefore,” which is a conclusion indicator. Not only is this a comparative conclusion, but it’s a very long one. However, we can break it down. Let’s just pretend language X is the language that has fewer words for colors than English. The conclusion is saying that X speakers can’t visually distinguish between as many colors as English speakers can. Before we get into the analysis, is this our main conclusion? Yes! The first two sentences are almost at once context, at once an analogy. The main conclusion is this last sentence.

The analogy they’re making is understandable: uncles are called uncles in English; doesn’t matter if they’re on your mom’s or dad’s side. That’s why we can say speakers “evidence a more finely discriminated system…” The word evidence is important – it’s not like English speakers don’t recognize that “father’s brother” is different from “mother’s brother,” it’s just that other languages have actual words to represent these specific relationships.

With the color argument, it’s a little bit different. It's about our senses. Here, we’re saying X speakers, because of their limited vocabulary on colors, can’t distinguish between, say, royal blue and navy blue. That’s a wild conclusion! What if they can distinguish and describe it, but they just don’t have a word for it? This is the gap between the premise and the conclusion. To mend this gap, we have to connect the premise and conclusion by tying “words” and “the ability to distinguish” specifically relating to our senses. Something like: having different words to describe something (color) is directly related to our senses’ ability to distinguish between things (colors).

Answer Choice (A) How does this fit into the argument? This is going back to the analogy part of the stimulus and adding more information to it. It doesn’t help prove that words are needed to distinguish things.

Correct Answer Choice (B) This wording is convoluted, but if it’s broken down, it makes sense! Each language will have different words for every sensory quality they can distinguish. Here, “sensory quality” includes visualizing all of the different colors. Yes, it’s very broad, but that’s okay - this broadness enables the validity of our argument.

Answer Choice (C) This falls outside of our argument. We don’t really care about categories, we care about how we perceive things within those categories.

Answer Choice (D) This is so close, but the word “categories” here doesn’t apply for the same reason we cited in C. If I swapped it out for “words within categories,’ and then swapped “important” to “needed,” the answer would have been good.

Answer Choice (E) This potentially explains why they don’t have many words for colors. But that doesn’t matter; we’re more interested in the reason why they can’t perceive or distinguish between colors.

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