LSAT 16 – Section 3 – Question 11

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT16 S3 Q11
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Harder 0 +SubsectionMedium

Here we have a flaw question, which we know from the question stem: A flaw in the reasoning of the passage is 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 question’s objective, we can proceed into structural analysis of the stimulus.

The stimulus begins by telling us about a prison surgery program; people who behave well can receive free cosmetic surgery. Following this description, the speaker concludes that surgery has a powerful rehabilitative effect on the basis that the re-offender rate is lower for this group of inmates than the remainder in the prison population.

To conclude that something is powerful in causing an effect means that, in our case, inmates who receive cosmetic surgery through this program are more likely than before to avoid committing further crimes. This is where our author makes an assumption about the inmates involved in the study. Surely this group of inmates will already reoffend at a lower rate than the remainder of the population – these inmates were the most well behaved to begin with. Our argument is drawing a conclusion about the value of surgery on the basis of a group that was already going to have lower crime rates following release.

Knowing that our stimulus unjustly comes to its conclusion using a specific subset of the prison population, we can proceed into answer choice elimination.

Answer Choice (A) This answer choice is not descriptively accurate. Morality is briefly mentioned in our stimulus but it is not used to come to any conclusions about matters of fact.

Answer Choice (B) This is not what we are looking for. While the stimulus could be interpreted as casting moral issues aside, that is not the ultimate flaw. We know the correct answer choice will include the rate of re-offense in our group of inmates in some way.

Answer Choice (C) This is a factually correct answer, but this is ultimately not the flaw in our stimulus. Our problem with the argument relies on a comparison of two different groups rather than the use of the term controversial as claimed by this answer choice.

Answer Choice (D) This is not descriptively accurate. We are not told this isn’t a moral issue - just that casting those issues aside, the rehabilitative effects are evident. Once again the answer choice presents a topic from our stimulus, but the issue of morality was a nod rather than the basis of our conclusion.

Correct Answer Choice (E) This is exactly what we are looking for! This descriptively correctly answer choice is the only one that brings up the difference between the regular prison population and the inmates involved in this program.

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