LSAT 58 – Section 1 – Question 26

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT58 S1 Q26
Method of reasoning or descriptive +Method
+Hardest 147.03 +SubsectionMedium

The Question Stem reads: The philosopher's argument proceeds by attempting too… This is a Method of Reasoning question.

The philosopher begins by describing the phenomenon that wolves don't like when a wolf attacks another wolf showing its neck as a form of submission. The philosopher also claims that foxes and domesticated dogs exhibit the same behavior.

The philosopher says, "It would be erroneous to deny that animals have rights based on the grounds that only human beings are capable of obeying moral rules." That was a mouthful, so let's break it down. The philosopher concludes that a specific argument is bad. What is that argument? The argument is that animals do not have rights because only humans obey moral rules. We will call this argument "X." We can rephrase X to say:

Premise 1: Animals do not obey moral rules (because only humans do).

Conclusion: Animals do not have rights.

By now, you should be comfortable enough with Necessary Assumption to realize that X relies on assuming that obeying moral rules is necessary for having rights. However, we do not need to dive that deep. Argument X's premise that animals do not obey moral rules seems to contradict the philosopher's wolf example. The philosopher has used examples that deny the first premise of Argument X, which is why the philosopher rejects Argument X on the basis that it is not a sound argument (sound arguments are logically valid and have true premises). Importantly, we do not know whether or not the philosopher believes that animals have rights. All we know is the philosopher argues that Argument X is bad because the philosopher rejects a premise of Argument X.

Correct Answer Choice (A) is exactly what we discussed. The philosopher's wolf example directly contradicts the first premise of Argument X.

Answer Choice (B) is incorrect. The philosopher's position is that Arugment X is not sound. The philosopher does not attempt to show that all animals have morality. (B) would be correct if that philosopher tried to argue that all animals have morality by giving the example that wolves and dogs exhibit moral attitudes.

Answer Choice (C) talks about the wrong premise. The philosopher casts doubt that only humans obey moral rules, not that moral rules are necessary for rights.

Answer Choice (D) is incorrect because the philosopher might believe that Argument X is logically valid. Philsopher rejects the argument because they believe that one of the premises is false. This means that the argument is not sound.

Answer Choice (E) is antithetical to the philosopher's argument. If anything, the philosopher would argue that morality is not applied broadly enough. The argument the philosopher criticizes says that animals do not obey morality, which the philsopher rejects by giving the example of wolves.

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