LSAT 14 – Section 4 – Question 23

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT14 S4 Q23
Sufficient assumption +SA
+Medium 148.739 +SubsectionMedium
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We know this is a sufficient assumption question because of the question stem: “which one… if assumed… would allow [the author] to draw her properly to draw her conclusion…” Interestingly, the conclusion is given to you in the stem. This should help in our formal analysis to figure out what the conclusion is.

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 also using that rule to render the argument “valid.” The way to prephrase our answer choice is by tying our premises and conclusion together into a rule: “If [premise] → then [conclusion].”

Our first sentence tells us that an antitheft alarm may stop an attempted theft at night on a crowded street. I’m imagining an incredibly loud siren going off in a middle of a downtown area... I think it’s possible that theft could be prevented with a loud alarm like that.

The next sentence gives an alternative cause for the alarm going off: instead of a thief, it could be a branch or another form of contact.

The third sentence puts aside the causes and says in any of the situations in which the alarm goes off at night, it’s disturbing the sleep of people in the neighborhood. Makes sense - a blaring alarm would definitely disturb my sleep!

Our last sentence, the conclusion which we read in our stem, is: out of consideration for our neighbors, we should deactivate the alarms when parking in crowded city neighborhoods at night.

Why should they?? Protecting a car is probably more important and valuable to its owner than someone else’s sleep, and there doesn’t seem to be a moral code that says people should deactivate their cars if it bothers people’s sleep. On the chance that the car is getting stolen, an alarm would be the best thing to help avoid losing the car! This prescriptive conclusion is assuming that others’ sleep is more important than protecting someone’s car.

What we need is a rule that bridges our premises to our conclusion and validates this prescription. Our premise here is that if the alarm goes off, then people’s sleep is disturbed, and we should be considerate of this. Our conclusion is that owners of these cars should deactivate their alarms. Put them together to make our rule! If people’s sleep is getting disturbed and we should be considerate of this → owners should deactivate car alarms at night.

Answer Choice (A) This would weaken the argument! This is putting the protection of peoples’ cars over peoples’ sleep.

Answer Choice (B) In most cases? What about some cases in which it’s actually a theft? And besides this, the answer choice still does not justify why we should deactivate our alarms. Just because it is a false alarm, it does not validate the argument.

Correct Answer Choice (C) While it’s not a perfect paraphrase of our rule, it gets to the idea that sleep is more important than protecting cars.

Answer Choice (D) Remember, our conclusion is prescriptive. How does saying “people who have alarms are inconsiderate” help our argument? Does this mean they should deactivate their alarms? No – this is out.

Answer Choice (E) We don’t really care about what happens to the alarms during the day, we’re concerned with why people should turn alarms off at night. This is supplemental information that does nothing for our stimulus.

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