LSAT 15 – Section 2 – Question 13

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT15 S2 Q13
Sufficient assumption +SA
+Harder 142.72 +SubsectionEasier

We know that this is a Sufficient Assumption question because we see “which one of the following principles, if valid, justified the…conclusion” in the question stem.

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 gives us a lot of information on pedigree dogs: pedigree dogs (including working dogs, like a shepherd or hunting dog) conform to org standards. We also know that these organizations specify the physical appearance needed for dogs to belong to a breed. The stimulus then says that the orgs don’t have standards for specific genetic traits. The author cites, as an example, traits that would have enabled dogs to do the work they were developed to do (like sense of smell or direction). This all sounds like important contextual information.

In the third sentence, we see “since,” a premise indicator. The author says that because the breeder will only maintain the traits specified by the organizations (premise), certain traits (like herding) risk being lost (conclusion). This seems like a logical conclusion based on the premise we just read, but it may not be our main conclusion. Let’s read on.

In our last sentence, the author claims these pedigree organizations should set the standard for working ability in dogs developed for work. First thing, this is the main conclusion; the whole stimulus is oriented towards this one statement. However, is this a valid conclusion? Well, why should the organization set these standards? Are they necessary for, as an example, an Australian Shepard who isn’t going to herd sheep? This is the gap in our argument.

Remember, we’re bridging this gap by forcing a conditional statement with our premise and conclusion: If [premise], then [conclusion].

The first two sentences help guide the rest of the information in the stimulus, but it’s really the third sentence that acts as the minor premise and major premise/sub-conclusion: working traits that certain dogs were originally developed for are at risk of being lost. Our conclusion is that these organizations should set requirements for the working abilities of working dogs. Together: If working traits that working dogs were originally developed for are at risk of being lost, organizations should set requirements for those abilities in those dogs. The correct answer doesn’t need to be a conditional statement, but it needs to have the level of certainty and language of the conclusion (in our case, prescriptive).

Answer Choice (A) This answer choice is wrong because it doesn’t address what our argument focuses on. This answer would come into play if setting standards for working traits risks the loss of other traits. Since we don’t know anything about what working traits could do to other traits, this is out.

Answer Choice (B) This is wrong because it’s only relevant to standards currently in effect; we’re talking about standards that are not and should be in effect.

Answer Choice (C) This is saying that organizations should make sure standards are respected; this isn’t relevant to our argument! We’re trying to argue for an additional category of traits to be included in the standard.

Answer Choice (D) Use the product/activity will eventually be put to? It’s not said that working dogs will be used for their working purposes, only that those traits need to be retained.

Correct Answer Choice (E) It uses information from the premises (ensure that products can serve the purposes for which they were originally developed, e.g. herding, hunting) and echoes the prescriptive language in our conclusion (organizations should attempt). Even though this isn’t a perfect repetition of our prephrase, remember that our prephrase is meant to help guide us to the correct answer choice by making sure we understand and can extrapolate relevant information from the argument.

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