LSAT 16 – Section 2 – Question 17

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT16 S2 Q17
Method of reasoning or descriptive +Method
+Medium 0 +SubsectionMedium

We can identify this question as Method of Reasoning because of the question stem: “the relationship of Ping’s response to Winston’s argument is that Ping’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 proposed budget cuts by the public transit authority. Our first speaker explains the transit authority cannot avoid a deficit unless it eliminates some services. Winston says that because the other means of avoiding the deficit (like fair increases) are not an option, the suggested cuts should be made. While our first speaker ends with a conclusion that affirms a recommendation on an action, our second speaker takes a different perspective. Winston’s argument seems to make sense as long as we are in agreement on what things should be done. If the city is interested in operating with a deficit, that would be evidence it should be pursued.

Ping responds to the first speaker’s argument without addressing Winston’s overall conclusion. Ping points out that there is potential for the budget cuts to not lead to much savings because the cuts would affect riders leaving home during the day but returning at night. By pointing out a possible event Winston does not think about, Ping explains how the first argument actually does not have the evidence necessary to support the conclusion that the budget cuts should be made.

Answer Choice (A) This answer choice does not line up with the structure of our argument. While this answer choice states the argument “carefully refines terms,” we do not see the explanation of a term or disagreement with how Winston defined the different parts of their argument.

Correct Answer Choice (B) This is exactly what we are looking for! This answer choice correctly summarizes the different components of our argument by pointing out that Ping questions the first speaker’s evidence, but not the overall conclusion. We can confirm this answer choice by double checking to confirm Ping points out a group of riders left unconsidered rather than argue against Winston’s conclusion.

Answer Choice (C) We can eliminate this answer choice when it tells us that Ping is supplying a premise to Winston’s argument. Supplying a premise suggests that Ping is supporting Winston’s argument rather than questioning (weakening) the assumption on which Winston’s position depends.

Answer Choice (D) By claiming our argument introduces detailed statistical evidence, we know this answer choice does not line up with the structure of the stimulus. For this answer choice to be correct we would need to see a reference to statistical evidence, detailed or otherwise. Aside from that, this answer choice says the statistical evidence (that we do not have) is more persuasive - where does that idea come from?

Answer Choice (E) This answer choice does not line up with the structure of our stimulus most clearly because of the word contradicting. For this answer choice to be correct we need to see two ideas in the stimulus that don’t just appear inconsistent, but that directly contradict one another. Not only do we fail to see ping propose a solution as suggested by answer choice E, but we also cannot find contradictory ideas in the stimulus. We instead see factors that were previously unconsidered.

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