LSAT 15 – Section 2 – Question 20

You need a full course to see this video. Enroll now and get started in less than a minute.

Target time: 1:39

This is question data from the 7Sage LSAT Scorer. You can score your LSATs, track your results, and analyze your performance with pretty charts and vital statistics - all with a Free Account ← sign up in less than 10 seconds

Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT15 S2 Q20
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Medium 142.72 +SubsectionEasier

Here we have a flaw question, which we know from the question stem: “The argument above is vulnerable to criticism on the grounds that 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.

This stimulus begins by telling us about a debated poet. S. R. Evans explains a principle of poetic criticism; only a true poet can recognize poetry creatively. Thinking in terms of our sufficient and necessary terms we can translate this relationship: true poet (TP) → recognize creatively (RC). The next line of our stimulus adds another piece to our chain. By stating that only true poets convey poetry creatively (PC), we can link these three variables together to form: PC → TP → RC. If you possess poetic creativity, you are a true poet who can also recognize the presence of poetic creativity.

After laying out these relationships the author presents us with their conclusion. On the basis of this logical chain S. R. Evans tells us that because none of those criticizing their work express poetic creativity (~PC) we can conclude that the critics are not true poets (~TP).

Identifying the sufficient and necessary relationships in this stimulus can help us identify what is wrong with the argument. When we have a chain of three variables the only valid form we can conclude is the contrapositive: ~RC → ~TP → ~PC. The fact that our author tells us we can confirm the critics meet the necessary condition at the end of that chain (~PC) does not mean we can draw any conclusions that lead us to the term earlier in the contrapositive (~TP). Knowing our correct answer will point out the conditional reasoning issue presented in the stimulus, we can proceed into answer choice elimination.

Correct Answer Choice (A) This correct answer choice is a tricky one. At first glance it does not seem to be accusing the stimulus of the conditional reasoning flaw we have identified. Saying presupposes what it sets out to conclude would lead many to immediately assume we have a traditional circular reasoning answer choice here. But that is not quite the case. This answer choice tells us the argument is circular on the basis of a conditional reasoning mistake. This answer choice is the only descriptively correct one that points out the author is using a necessary assumption to conclude the existence of a sufficient condition earlier in the logical chain.

Answer Choice (B) This answer choice is descriptively accurate, but it is not the issue in our stimulus. It is true that our stimulus assumes everyone falls neatly onto one side of these black-and-white issues. But whether or not the author considers the existence of someone who is kinda a true poet or can sorta identify poetic creativity is not the issue; without a reference to the necessary/sufficient mix-up, this cannot be our correct answer choice.

Answer Choice (C) This answer choice is not descriptively accurate. Whether or not we see an implicit claim about independence, this answer chooses to accuse the author of having no justification for such an implication. First of all - don’t we need support to be able to spot an implicit claim? This debate aside, it is not factually accurate to say we see a lack of justification for the author’s claims. The problem is that our author’s claims do not follow from the evidence presented.

Answer Choice (D) This answer choice is correct in telling us our stimulus makes an unjustified claim. But the issue is not forgetting about potential overlaps of two groups as is suggested by answer choice B. We know our correct answer is going to concern issues with conditional relationships rather than the need to recognize overlap between the groups.

Answer Choice (E) This answer choice is not descriptively accurate. By saying our stimulus “inevitably leads to the conclusion that poets can never learn to improve…” This answer choice is suggesting the existence of an argument we do not see. The problem of inevitability or something being guaranteed to happen is not the issue we have. Instead, our author concludes on the basis of not having a necessary condition we can conclude we also do not have a sufficient condition.

Take PrepTest

Review Results

Leave a Reply