LSAT 15 – Section 3 – Question 01

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT15 S3 Q01
Main conclusion or main point +MC
+Easier 147.463 +SubsectionMedium

This question asks us to find the main conclusion or main point of the argument, which we know from the question stem, “The main point of the argument is to…”

We first learn about a claim from a group of people: those in favor of Shakespeare’s plays being read and performed today. All that we know about this group is that they are united by that common belief or goal, which is a claim in and of itself–that this should happen, Shakespeare should continue to be read and performed. So, let’s see if this ends up being a conclusion itself (a claim that is supported) or a premise (a claim that supports another claim). Well, we read on to find out that this group “maintains” some other claim, that appreciation for Shakespeare has always been found in circles beyond just the learned upper class in England. “And” tells us that a second claim is coming, which gives (slightly) new information that it is common knowledge that “comparatively uneducated people” have been familiar with and fond of Shakespeare’s work.

It looks like these claims together really drive home the point that fans of Shakespeare have never been confined to a certain group. And what claim are we connecting this back to, in order to decipher which claims are premises and which are conclusions? The one advanced by the pro-continued-reading-of-Shakespeare group, that, well, we should continue to have uninhibited access to Shakespeare’s works. In order to identify premises and conclusion, we must ask, which of these claims lends support to the other, or increases the likelihood of the other’s truth? It seems more likely for us to accept that Shakespeare should still be read and performed once we learn that support for Shakespeare’s works have always extended beyond a small circle. So, it looks like we have been presented with two premises, or claims that support another, and one conclusion (of the group, not necessarily the author) that is supported by those premises.

However, is that conclusion advanced by the group our main conclusion? We’ll have to gather more information to see if the author of this argument agrees or disagrees with that claim. The next two sentences point out a reason we might be less likely to accept the pro-Shakespeare group’s claim: when we look closely at versions of these plays from the 1700s, we see that the physical copies have “fine paper and good bindings,” which the author then goes as far as to assert that the only way these books could be in such good condition is that they were not anywhere close to “people of ordinary means.” In other words, if these books are in such pristine condition, then they must have been enjoyed by only the elite. Whoa. So many things I hate about this argument, but that’s not our job here! All that we need to do is identify the author’s conclusion. We already know that the author set up a sufficient-necessary relationship in that last sentence: the fact that the books look great is enough for us to determine that they couldn’t have fallen into the hands of peasants, so we’ve identified support right there! Following this author’s line of reasoning, the condition of the books advances the truth of the following claim, that the books, and therefore appreciation of Shakespeare’s plays, belonged only to the elite, at least in the early 1700s. I have no reason to believe this is not the author’s main conclusion, as it’s the note they ended on and directly contravenes the other group’s conclusion. Pretty standard for an LR question to open with an opposing point of view, present evidence against it, and come to a different conclusion! Let’s look for something like this in our AC’s…

Answer Choice (A) Was this the reason the author wrote that argument? Well, for one, we would be able to find a rephrase of it somewhere in the stimulus, which we can’t. The author never claimed that it was enough for someone to know Shakespeare’s plays in order to determine they were part of the educated elite.

Correct Answer Choice (B) Okay, now this sounds pretty familiar. Remember, our prediction was that the author presents an opposing argument and then a premise to show that appreciation of Shakespeare’s plays was a unique characteristic of non-ordinary (elite) people in the 1700s, which is a great rephrase of this AC!

Answer Choice (C) We never discussed a contrast between aspects of Shakespeare’s work that were appreciated in the past vs. today.

Answer Choice (D) Ah, this goes too far. Although this AC uses wording directly from the premise to the pro-Shakespeare group’s argument, the author never says that all of the people who have appreciated Shakespeare have been elites, instead, just that early 18th century readers could not have been of ordinary means.

Answer Choice (E) What? We have no reason to believe the educated elite are skeptical of the worth of Shakespeare’s plays; in fact, we think the opposite. This AC consists of buzzwords from the stimulus, but it jumbles them up in all the wrong ways.

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