LSAT 15 – Section 2 – Question 19

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT15 S2 Q19
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Harder 142.72 +SubsectionEasier

Here we have a flaw question, which we know from the question stem: “The argument commits which one of the following errors of reasoning?” 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 question’s objective, we can proceed into structural analysis of the stimulus.

We are first told about information being shared at a secret meeting. The speaker informs us that the article that forced the minister’s resignation must have come from someone present at this secret meeting between the minister, the minister’s aid, and the leader of the opposition party. Thus far the stimulus makes sense. If the article must have gotten information from the secret meeting, it must have been someone from the secret meeting who leaked the information. But that reasonable conclusion is not what our argument comes to. Rather than concluding that it must have been some participant of the secret meeting, our stimulus accuses the minister's aide of leaking the information.

This would make complete sense if it were not for the presence of the opposition leader at this secret meeting. Both the leader of the opposing party and the minister’s aid were at the meeting. The aide sure seems a lot less likely than the leader of the opposing party to leak information that would hurt the minister.

This is where we can identify the assumption being made by the argument. While our stimulus could reasonably conclude that there were two potential suspects for the leak to the newspaper, the stimulus goes one step too far and concludes it must have been one of those people in particular. Knowing our correct answer choice will in some way point out the existence of another reasonable conclusion, we can proceed into answer choice elimination.

Correct Answer Choice (A) This is exactly what we are looking for! This descriptively correct answer choice is the only option that references the existence of an interpretation of the stimulus’s evidence that is just as reasonable as the one our stimulus comes to. It is not a guarantee that the minister’s aid leaked the information. It is just as (if not more) likely the opposing party member is the source of the leak.

Answer Choice (B) This answer choice is not descriptively accurate. This answer defines the conclusion of our stimulus to center on proving that “the earlier thing cannot occur” without the later idea. Nowhere does our argument tell us someone is impossible or bound to not happen like this answer choice suggests. For that reason, we can eliminate answer choice B. Every part of our answer choice – including a description of the argument’s conclusion - must line up with the content we see in stimulus.

Answer Choice (C) This answer choice is not descriptively accurate. While this answer choice discusses “the same outcome on a different occasion” we do not see any reference to these ideas in our stimulus. The existence of a different occasion would require our stimulus to point out some other instance in which a newspaper leak led to someone’s downfall as the result of a secret informant.

Answer Choice (D) In order for evidence to be irrelevant, the evidence has to be completely unrelated to the discussion presented. Our evidence is not irrelevant because it does respond to the argument. By highlighting the only possible sources for the newspaper leak that led to the minister’s downfall, our stimulus uses good evidence to come to an incorrect conclusion.

Answer Choice (E) This answer choice incorrectly describes the content of our stimulus by stating our speaker argues the evidence was sufficient to bring about the result. Let’s remind ourselves of what sufficient means - that we have an event that guarantees the occurrence of some sort of necessary condition. Our argument is not saying that something is sufficient for the result. Instead of saying some factor is enough for a result, our argument has come to an incorrect assumption of what has to be the case.

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