LSAT 15 – Section 3 – Question 17

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT15 S3 Q17
Method of reasoning or descriptive +Method
+Medium 147.463 +SubsectionMedium

We can identify this question as Method of Reasoning because of the question stem: “the relationship of Y’s response to X’s argument is that Y’s response…”

When dealing with a Method of Reasoning question, we know we are looking for an answer choice that correctly describes the structure of our entire argument. Our correct answer is going to fit the argument exactly. Our wrong answer choices likely explain argument structures we are familiar with, but that simply don’t apply to the specific question we are looking at. Knowing what the right and wrong answers are going to do, we can jump into the stimulus.

This question presents us with two speakers. Right away, we should recognize that there are two conclusions and two reasons behind them. In this case we are analyzing two speakers taking varying positions on the topic of animal research. Speaker X concludes that medical research should not be reduced given the reason that the tradeoff between human and animal welfare is inevitable in these trials. And obviously, according to X, we should prioritize the humans who would benefit from the suffering of the animals. Essentially telling us that the harm is worth the gains.

Speaker Y undermines this position by changing the rules of the game. What if we can still value human welfare, and experiment on animals, but simply in a way that won’t cause them harm? In doing so, our second speaker points out that the assumption underlying X’s argument does not hold. We can conclude we should not reduce the experiments if there is no other alternative to completing them. Y points out exactly that alternative.

Knowing the conclusions of each speaker and the support behind them, we can jump into answer choice elimination about the methods employed in Y’s response.

Correct Answer Choice (A) This is exactly what we are looking for! This answer choice correctly describes the structure of our entire argument by pointing out that argument A relies on an argument (that experimentation cannot exist without animal suffering) and points out that it does not apply to the constraints of the debate.

Answer Choice (B) This answer choice does not correctly summarize the structure of the argument. By telling us that Y “disagrees with X about the weight to be given to animal suffering” the answer is asserting information we do not see in Y’s argument. The weight of animal suffering is not the issue here. Instead, we are concerned with whether the process of animal suffering is required or not to continue these research projects.

Answer Choice (C) This answer choice does not line up with what we are looking for. By stating that the argument is explaining a “logical consequence” of X’s argument, the answer claims our second speaker is using the reasoning of speaker X against them. But Y is not using the opinions of X - instead, our second speaker points out what assumptions weaken the initial argument.

Answer Choice (D) We can eliminate this answer choice immediately upon seeing the word strengthen. If speaker Y were strengthening speaker X’s argument, we would see something that is attempting to fix the assumption. Our second speaker is attempting to weaken the initial argument by pointing out the assumption speaker X bases their position on does not actually exist.

Answer Choice (E) We can eliminate this answer choice once we see the phrase “supplies a premise.”

Presenting a premise would suggest speaker Y is giving us evidence to go along with the position of speaker X. But we don’t see a premise presented for speaker X’s argument. Instead we see an assumption that makes speaker X unreasonable.

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