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Question
QuickView
Choices
Curve Question
Difficulty
Psg/Game/S
Difficulty
Explanation
PT58 S1 Q12
+LR
Sufficient assumption +SA
A
5%
153
B
1%
154
C
6%
159
D
82%
165
E
5%
159
139
148
158
+Medium 147.03 +SubsectionMedium

The question stem reads: Which one of the following, if assumed, enables the conclusion of the city councilperson's argument to be properly inferred? This is a Sufficient Assumption question.

The councilperson begins by stating that many residents oppose the city's proposal to purchase a stone edifice. The residents oppose the purchase because art critics are divided over whether the edifice qualifies as art. We then get the context indicator "but," indicating a turn to the author's argument. The councilperson claims that the purpose of art is to cause experts to debate ideas, including what counts as art. They then say, "Since the edifice has caused experts to debate about what constitutes art itself, it (the edifice) does qualify as art." The indicator "since" is usually attached to both a premise and a conclusion. So "the edifice has caused experts to debate" is a premise, and "the edifice does qualify as art" is our conclusion. Let's outline the argument:

P1: The purpose of art is to cause debate among experts

P2: The edifice has caused debate among experts

______________________________________________

C: The edifice qualifies as art.

We can make the inference P3 that the edifice has fulfilled the purpose of art since the edifice has caused debate among experts (which is the purpose of art). We now get

P1: The purpose of art is to cause debate among experts

P2: The edifice has caused debate among experts

P3 The edifice has fulfilled the purpose of art

______________________________________________

C: The edifice qualifies as art.

In the Core Curriculum, we discussed how ideas contained in the conclusion must also be contained in the premises. The councilperson's conclusion is that the edifice qualifies as art, but we have no premise to tell us what qualifies as art. So we need a conditional with "qualifies as art" in the necessary condition: ( _) -> qualifies as art. As a matter of "logic," any sufficient condition that is satisfied by the stimulus will complete the councilperson's argument. As a matter of what actually happens on the LSAT, the sufficient condition will usually be an inference we made using the premises. We made the inference that the edifice has fulfilled the purpose of art. So our most likely sufficient assumption will be:

P1: The purpose of art is to cause debate among experts

P2: The edifice has caused debate among experts

P3 The edifice has fulfilled the purpose of art

SA: fulfills the purpose of art -> qualifies as art

______________________________________________

C: The edifice qualifies as art.

I'll note that the sufficient condition does not have to be "fulfills the purpose of art," but we absolutely need "qualifies as art" in the necessary condition. We can screen the answer choices by asking ourselves: Does the AC have "qualifies as art" in the necessary? If yes, then Does sufficient get satisfied by the stimulus? Let's take a look at the AC's

Answer Choice (A) fails our test. Translated, we get: "qualifies as art -> causes debate." Here we have "qualifies as art" in the sufficient condition when we want it in the necessary condition.

Answer Choice (B) does not have the necessary condition we are looking for. You might think that (B) would contradict our conclusion. The sufficient condition is met, so we would get: "experts cannot be certain about whether the edifice qualifies as art." However, the fact that "experts cannot be certain about whether the edifice qualifies as art" does not affect whether or not the edifice actually qualifies as art. There is a distinction between what we think is true and what actually is true. In the past, people were not sure whether the Earth was the center of the universe. That did not mean the Earth was or was not the center of the universe. In any case, (B) is wrong. Don't pick it.

Answer Choice (C) is irrelevant. If you picked (C), you likely thought the city councilperson was advocating for the purchase of the edifice. However, we do not know his position on that matter. What we do know is that he thinks the edifice is art. The councilperson may think the edifice qualifies as art and that the city should not purchase the edifice because it is too expensive. (C) is an example of why it is so vital to separate the context from the argument.

Correct Answer Choice (D) is our prephase. The edifice fulfills the purpose of art; therefore, it qualifies as art. Pick it and move.

Answer Choice (E) is incorrect for the same reason that (C) is: they are irrelevant. Again, the councilperson's argument has nothing to do with whether or not the city should purchase the edifice, only whether or not the edifice qualifies as art.