LSAT 15 – Section 3 – Question 19

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT15 S3 Q19
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Harder 147.463 +SubsectionMedium

Here we have a flaw question, which we know from the question stem: “The reasoning in Thomas’ argument is flawed because his argument…”

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.

Immediately we should make note of the two speakers at play. This means we could possibly be dealing with two different conclusions with different levels of support. Although this question only requires us to understand what is happening in Thomas’s argument, we can use the second speaker as a means of confirming the flaw in question.

Our first speaker begins the discussion by telling us the club president had no right to disallow Jeffrey’s vote. The reasoning for this is that Jeffrey paid his dues, and only those who pay their dues are able to vote. On the basis of this Jeffrey concludes the club president acted in violation of club rules by disallowing Jeffrey’s vote.

Unfortunately, Thomas is making sufficient and necessary conditions here. We are told that P (paying dues) → G (makes a member in good standing). But as it stands there is no guarantee that simply because we are in good standing we are guaranteed the right to vote. Actually, it’s written by Thomas the other way around.

The stimulus affirms that if you are a V (voting member) → G (you are a member in good standing). But notice how there is no way to draw any sort of conclusion from the presence of being in “good standing” alone. Being in good standing does not guarantee you are able to vote – it simply means the possibility exists. Thus, we cannot confirm the validity of Thomas’s conclusion that the club president was objectively in the wrong. Because there is no guarantee that just because Jeffrey is in good standing, there is not some other requirement that makes him ineligible to vote.

Knowing we are looking for the answer choice that hits on this sufficient/necessary confusion, we can proceed into answer choice elimination.

Correct Answer Choice (A) This is exactly what we are looking for! This is the only answer choice that lays out the exact flaw of our stimulus in a descriptively correct manner. Simply because Jeffrey has a prerequisite to vote doesn’t mean he has a guaranteed right to vote.

Answer Choice (B) This answer choice is not descriptively correct. If Thomas were attacking the character of the club president, our evidence would be far less based in conditional reasoning.

Answer Choice (C) This answer choice is descriptively inaccurate due to the scope it contains. Answer choice C says that under any circumstances (not just in the world of Jeffrey’s club and their voting issues) whenever a statement is not denied, it is true. This answer choice goes far beyond the scope established by Thomas’s conclusion.

Answer Choice (D) This answer choice is descriptively correct but ultimately irrelevant when it comes to finding our flaw. Whether or not the exact issue being voted on is specified does not point out the sufficient and necessary confusion present in the stimulus.

Answer Choice (E) This answer choice brings our second speaker into the mix. But without a reference to Althea’s position in Thomas’s argument, we can eliminate this answer choice as descriptively incorrect.

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