LSAT 14 – Section 4 – Question 07

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT14 S4 Q07
Sufficient assumption +SA
+Easiest 0 +SubsectionMedium

This is a sufficient assumption (SA) question because the question stem says: “conclusion is properly drawn if which one of the following is 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].

Our first sentence looks like a straightforward premise: visits to the hospital by heroin users increased by 25% in the 1980s.

The next sentence provides a hypothesis/conclusion to the phenomenon: the use of heroin rose in the 80s. The argument wants us to believe that if visits to the hospital by heroin users increased, then use increased. Why should I believe that? There could be a ton of other reasons why this would not be true! Maybe the stigma around heroin use decreased, so people were more willing to go in for help but usage is the same. Maybe that year, they started lacing heroin with something that warranted a visit to the hospital but usage didn’t increase. The list goes on!

What we need here is a rule that discounts all of those possibilities, something like “if hospital visits by heroin users are increasing, the use of heroin is increasing.” Now, if we plug this rule back into the stimulus, in a world in which heroin users increasingly go to the hospital, it must also be true that the use of heroin is increasing. We sandwich the premise and conclusion together in a conditional rule, bridging them to help make our argument valid. (Note that we’re not saying one causes the other, we’re just establishing a relationship between the two).

Answer Choice (A) This answer choice doesn’t address our argument. We’re trying to show that with increasing hospital visits, the use of heroin increases. What does seeking medical care at specific stages of heroin use have to do with increased hospital visits during a fixed period of time? This answer choice doesn’t fit into the argument at all.

Answer Choice (B) This interacts with our argument by pointing out that some of the visits have been made by the same person. This could mean that the number of users and the amount of use is the same, just that some people come in more frequently, which weakens our argument.

Correct Answer Choice (C) This establishes the positive correlation between hospital visits by heroin users and the overall use of heroin.

Answer Choice (D) If new methods are less hazardous, this could explain why use has increased. However, if use is safer, why are hospital visits increasing in the first place? Remember, we need to validate our entire argument, not just the conclusion. This is out.

Answer Choice (E) This could interact with the premise portion of our argument if we assume that they increasingly began identifying themselves as heroin users when they come to the hospital in the 80s, but that’s a big stretch since we don’t know if this has always been the case or if it became a norm in the 80s. Even if we can assume this, it still doesn’t help validate our conclusion. In fact, it could weaken it: it’s not that use has increased, it’s that more people are open about their use of heroin.

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