LSAT 46 – Section 3 – Question 07

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT46 S3 Q07
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Easier 145.195 +SubsectionEasier

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

The stimulus begins by describing how many books describe the rules of etiquette. Usually, etiquette book authors classify behavior standards as polite or rude. We turn to the argument with the context indicator, however. The argument claims that the classifying behavior (as polite or rude) suggests there is a universal, objective standard of politeness. The argument subsequently claims that there are standards of politeness that vary from culture. The argument concludes that it is absurd to label a set of behaviors as correct and another set of behaviors as incorrect.

That is one of those rare Flaw questions that are hard to prephase. On the surface, it doesn't seem completely awful. At the very least, picking out a specifically egregious problem is difficult. Let's turn to the answer choices and see what we find.

Answer Choice (A) is incorrect. We can eliminate (A) because the argument does not make a conclusion on how people actually behave. Additionally, there are no premises that make a claim on how people ought to behave.

Answer Choice (B) is incorrect because the argument does not make a generalization about all books. The stimulus says that authors of etiquette books usually classify behavior as polite or impolite. Additionally, the argument does not conclude that all etiquette books are absurd, merely the ones that label one set of behaviors as correct and another as incorrect. (B) would look better if the argument said something to the effect of: etiquette books are absurd; therefore, all etiquette books are absurd.

Answer Choice (C) is incorrect because the argument does not rely on nor conclude anything about how these etiquette books actually influence behavior.

Correct Answer Choice (D) looks good. If it is true that etiquette books attempt to show what is polite or impolite in their specific cultures, there would be no suggestion of a universal standard of politeness. The fact that other cultures have different standards of politeness wouldn't be a problem for a book on British politeness because the author only suggests that these etiquette guidelines are British.

Answer Choice (E) is incorrect because the argument is not attempting to strengthen itself by labeling the author's position as absurd; the argument is trying to prove that the author's position is absurd.

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