LSAT 90 – Section 2 – Question 02

You need a full course to see this video. Enroll now and get started in less than a minute.

Target time: 0:42

This is question data from the 7Sage LSAT Scorer. You can score your LSATs, track your results, and analyze your performance with pretty charts and vital statistics - all with a Free Account ← sign up in less than 10 seconds

Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT90 S2 Q02
Flaw or descriptive weakening +Flaw
+Easier 146.031 +SubsectionMedium

This is a Flaw/Descriptive Weakening question.

The stimulus starts with other people’s (Smith’s) position (OPP). Smith proposed a new city ordinance prohibiting the use of a sleazy sales tactic. The author then insults Smith’s memory—okay. Then she says that four years ago, Smith owned a business that used the very same sleazy sales tactic. She concludes that Smith’s proposal does not merit consideration.

This is a terrible argument and one that we’ve seen many times before. It’s a source attack. If we want to oppose the ordinance, we should provide premises in support of that position. Attacking the source of the ordinance has no logical effect. It might be rhetorically effective, but that turns on how reasonable the audience is.

In general, source attacks fail. Just imagine how easily Smith can counter the author here. He just has to say something like, “Yeah, no shit. That’s how I know it’s a sleazy sales tactic and that’s why I’m proposing we ban it. I don’t have amnesia but you might have low-level brain damage.”

Correct Answer Choice (A) says the argument dismisses the ordinance because of its source rather than because of its content. This is exactly right.

Answer Choice (B) says the argument takes a single fact that is incompatible with a claim as enough to show that claim to be false. There are at least two issues with (B). First is simply that it’s descriptively inaccurate. The single fact (Smith’s business that used the sleazy sales tactic) is not incompatible with the claim (ban the sleazy sales tactic). That fact may actually be the reason for the claim. Second, even if (B) were descriptively accurate, what (B) describes isn’t inherently a flaw. Whether a single incompatible fact is enough to show a claim to be false depends on what the claim is. If the claim is that all cats are cute, you just have to show me one ugly-ass cat and that claim is dead.

Answer Choice (C) says the argument fails to make a needed distinction between deceptive and legitimate sales tactics. This is almost descriptively accurate. The argument did not make this distinction. But it also did not need to. The reason why the premise doesn’t support the conclusion has nothing to do with failing to define what a legitimate sales tactic looks like.

Answer Choice (D) says the argument draws a conclusion that simply restates a claim presented in support of that conclusion. This is a charge of circular reasoning, of begging the question. This is descriptively inaccurate. The premise is that Smith did something wrong. The conclusion is we should ignore Smith’s proposal to ban that wrong action in the future. These are two very different claims. The argument isn’t circular. Here’s a circular argument: Smith’s proposed city ordinance to prohibit the use of bait-and-switch sales tactics is ill-conceived. Clearly, it is utterly flawed.

Answer Choice (E) says the argument generalizes from a limited number of instances of a certain kind to all instances of that kind. This is an overgeneralization flaw. It’s descriptively inaccurate. Here’s an argument that commits that flaw: Smith’s appliance store uses sleazy sales tactics. Therefore, all of Smith’s businesses use sleazy sales tactics.

Take PrepTest

Review Results

Leave a Reply