LSAT 14 – Section 2 – Question 18

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT14 S2 Q18
Necessary assumption +NA
+Harder 148.518 +SubsectionMedium

This is a necessary assumption question; we know this because the question stem says: “… following assumption on which the consumer activist’s argument depends?”

Necessary assumption questions fall under the umbrella of the strengthening subset of questions. The analysis of the stimulus is the same. However, our approach changes with our answer choices. Where we were trying to find an answer choice that justified our argument in strengthen, pseudo-sufficient/sufficient assumption questions, the purpose of a necessary assumption correct answer choice is very different. We’re trying to find what is necessary for our argument. In other words, in order for our conclusion to be true/for our argument to work, the correct answer choice must be true.

On the old LSAT, the test would give us one stimulus for 2 questions. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case – the LSAT will definitely give us 25-26 different stimuli for us to get this. Question 17 was a NA question that required us to read both blurbs. For this question, we can ignore the “industry representative” blurb.

The activist’s claim is a single sentence. There is a lot of information packed in here, so let’s break this up by commas starting by reading up until the third comma. We know that airlines were allowed to (and did) abandon all of the routes except their most profitable routes. By whom were they allowed to do this? We don’t know yet.

If we read on, we’re told that the “government’s decision to cease regulation…” What decision are they referring to? Well, it must be their decision to let airlines choose their routes. We’re told that this decision has worked to disadvantage everyone who can’t get to major airports, presumably because this is where all of the “profitable” routes go through.

The first half of the sentence provides support for the second half. The premise is that because the government allowed airlines to abandon whatever routes, the government’s decision hurt certain people. This seems fine at a surface level, but there is a very subtle gap here. There is a correlative-causal element. The argument correlates the timing of the government’s decision to the timing of airlines abandoning routes, and then assigning blame to the governments for the airlines’ actions in the conclusion. Because of the government’s decision, people are disadvantaged. Remember, in the core curriculum correlation does not imply causation (lesson linked here). The airlines could have just decided to do whatever they wanted, regardless of what the government said.

There could be many necessary assumptions for this argument. In order for the causal conclusion to be true, one necessary assumption is affirming that the causal connection exists.

Answer Choice (A) While the argument does talk about advantages in the conclusion, whether or not there was an advantage of easy access before the decision is not necessary for the conclusion or the argument. A change in the ease of access to large metropolitan airports is not necessary for the argument either. This is out.

Answer Choice (B) A change should be reversed? Our conclusion does not hinge on a prescriptive statement. This is not necessary for our conclusion to be true.

Answer Choice (C) Must this answer choice be true in order for our conclusion to be true? No! “Almost always” could be changed to “rarely” and our argument would still stand. This isn’t necessary.

Correct Answer Choice (D) This addresses the correlation-causal element we discussed above and affirmed a partial causal relationship. If we negate this relationship (instead of “at least in part” we get “no part”) this would destroy the argument.

Answer Choice (E) This is not necessary for the conclusion to be true. Regional airlines could have excellent customer service without the reach/routes of major airlines.

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