LSAT 14 – Section 2 – Question 22

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT14 S2 Q22
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Medium 148.522 +SubsectionMedium

Here we have a flaw question, which we know from the question stem: “The reasoning used by the gallery owner is flawed because it…” 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.

The argument begins by telling us because this certain painting does not appear in Van Gogh’s catalog, we cannot guarantee its authenticity. But our speaker continues to say that because there are such incredible similarities between this painting and Van Gogh’s (brush strokes, color combinations, etc.) it must be the case this is almost certainly an uncatalogued work made by Van Gogh himself.

The conditional reasoning in the stimulus can help reveal the issue with the gallery owner’s argument. Our first sentence says because it's not in the catalog (/C) → there is no guarantee of authenticity (/G). Let’s write out the contrapositive. By negating both variables and switching their positions, we learn that if there is a guarantee of authenticity it must be the case that the art appears in the artist’s catalog because G → C. Our author continues past this premise to incorrectly conclude this particular painting must be a work of the author’s without being able to meet the necessary condition presented in our first sentence.

While the diagrammable relationships are useful, they are not required in order to predict what is wrong with this stimulus. Just because the paintings are similar in style to Van Gogh’s does not mean they came from his catalog. It could very well be the case that a talented amateur wanted to imitate the work of their favorite artist. Knowing that our correct answer choice will point out the weakness in the connection between similar styles to authenticity, we can proceed into answer choice elimination.

Answer Choice (A) This answer choice is descriptively accurate, but not the ultimate issue with our stimulus. Whether or not there is “general agreement” on a topic does not connect to our stimulus concerning a piece of art for which there is actually no apparent general agreement.

Answer Choice (B) Here is another answer choice that descriptively along with the answer choice but does not go far enough in reaching the actual problem in our stimulus. Accusing the argument of failing to cite “expert authority” does not weigh on our discussion about the likelihood a similarity leads us to some level of guarantee of authenticity.

Answer Choice (C) This is not accurate compared to the words of our argument. This answer choice says the only reason in existence for wanting a painting is to make a profit. But we do not have nearly the level of support required in order for us to say the argument makes a conclusion about the sole existing reason for wanting art in the first place.

Correct Answer Choice (D) This is exactly what we are looking for. This descriptively correct answer choice is the only one that correctly points out the more reasonable explanation - we’re looking at a painting that happens to be similar, but very well may not be painted by Van Gogh himself.

Answer Choice (E) Here we have another answer choice that is not descriptively accurate. Our argument does not attempt to push the conclusion on the basis of “self interest” of the reader. Without any connection to the self-interest or benefits included in making these catalog decisions we can eliminate this answer choice.

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