LSAT 46 – Section 3 – Question 02

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT46 S3 Q02
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Easiest 145.195 +SubsectionEasier

The question stem reads: which of the following most accurately describes a way in which Willet's reasoning is questionable? This is a Flaw question.

The stimulus begins with Benson's argument. Because we are interested in Willet's argument, we do not need to evaluate Benson's argument. However, it is still important to read Benson's argument to understand the context in which Willet's reply is made. Benson believes that maintaining the quality of life in his city requires that the city restrict growth. That is why he supports the new zoning regulations.

Willet replies that he heard the same argument (that protecting the quality of life requires restricting growth) ten years ago and five years ago. He then says both times; the city council was justified in not restricting growth. So he agrees with the city council's decision not to restrict growth. Willet claims that since there is nothing new in this idea of restricting growth, he opposes the new zoning regulations that restrict growth.

Right here, we have the fallacious reasoning that what is true of the past must be true of the future, which is an example of the Problem of Induction. The classic example is concluding that all swans must be white because you have only seen white swans. The conclusion is proven false once you eventually encounter a black swan. Similarly, Willet is assuming that because the city council was justified in not restricting growth in the past, it must be the case that there is no reason to restrict growth now. However, there may be new reasons the city should restrict growth that didn't exist five and ten years ago.

Answer Choice (A) is incorrect because Willet does not presume growth is necessarily good. We do not know his opinion on growth at all, only that the city council justified not restricting growth five and 10 years ago.

Answer Choice (B) is incorrect because there is no attack on Benson's personality.

Correct Answer Choice (C) is what we discussed. Benson assumed that what was true in the past must be true in the present/future. However, there might be new reasons to restrict growth now that did not exist five and ten years ago.

Answer Choice (D) is incorrect because other factors contributing to quality of life are irrelevant not only to Willet's argument but Benson's also to Benson's argument. Benso claims that restricting growth is necessary for maintaining the quality of life (maintain quality of life -> restrict growth). So it would not matter how many other factors contribute to maintaining quality of life; failing to restrict growth would result in an inability to maintain quality of life ( the contrapositive: /restrict growth -> /maintain quality of life).

Answer Choice (E) is arbitrary. If you picked this, you likely missed that Willet claimed: "The city council was justified in deciding not to restrict growth." It does not matter how qualified or poorly qualified they were; their decisions were justified. One can both be poorly qualified to make a decision and end up making a justified decision. One can also be both highly qualified to make a decision and also make an unjustified decision (looking at you, American politics).

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