LSAT 46 – Section 3 – Question 04

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT46 S3 Q04
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Easiest 145.195 +SubsectionEasier

The question stem reads: The reasoning in the Detective's argument is most vulnerable to criticism on grounds that the argument… This is a Flaw Question.

The Detective begins by saying Bill was accused of burglarizing a warehouse last night. The Detective then claims that no one saw Bill in the vicinity of the warehouse last night. Using that claim as evidence, the Detective concludes that Bill must not have committed the burglary. Right off the bat, we can see that this argument is flawed.

When evaluating an argument, our job is to be agnostic. That means we have to start with no position on a conclusion. If I make an argument that fails to prove that x is true, all you can conclude is that I have failed to prove that x is true. You cannot claim that x is false. So just because I lack evidence for a claim, that does not mean the claim is false. Turning back to the Detective, we do not have any witnesses to prove that Bill was burglarizing the warehouse. So all we know is that the Detective has no witnesses. That does not mean Bill didn't burglarize the warehouse. Maybe Bill is a ninja. Maybe the warehouse is located in a community for the blind. Maybe there was simply no one near the warehouse who could have witnessed the crime. If Bill robs a warehouse and no one is there to see it, did Bill really commit a burglary? You get the point. Let's move to the answer choices.

Answer Choice (A) is wrong because the fact that no one saw Bill near the warehouse is relevant to the identity of the Burglarer. It is just not enough to say that Bill is not the burglar.

Answer Choice (B) is wrong because there is no attack on the character of the witnesses. If the Detective made an argument, "Everyone who claims to have seen Bill near the warehouse is a known Bill-haters, therefore Bill must not have robbed the warehouse," then (B) would look better.

Answer Choice (C) is wrong because the Detective argues that Bill did not commit the burglary.

Correct Answer Choice (D) is what we discussed. The Detective does treat a lack of evidence that Bill robbed the warehouse as if it exonerates Bill (which means Bill didn't rob the warehouse).

Answer Choice (E) is incorrect. The Detective does not need to establish the true identity of the burglar in order to prove Bill did not commit the robbery. He just needs better evidence. For example, if the Detective could show that Bill was in a different state during the time of the crime, he could exonerate Bill without establishing the burglar's identity.

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