LSAT 90 – Section 2 – Question 13

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT90 S2 Q13
Main conclusion or main point +MC
+Medium 146.031 +SubsectionMedium

This is a Main Conclusion question.

This argument is pretty straightforward though quite strange in terms of its content.

The stimulus starts with the conclusion. It says the widespread use of encryption software will bring the writing of biographical history virtually to an end. First, how strange the content is, right? It's just a weird statement that encryption software's wide adoption will bring an end to biographies. Second, the presence of an interjected phrase to explain what encryption software means adds complexity to the grammar and is totally unnecessary. I’m talking about the stuff between the commas. What is encryption software? It makes electronic documents accessible by password only. Seriously? Who didn't already know that?

Anyway, we should rightly be wondering why encryption software would result in the extinction of the biography. The rest of the stimulus makes an attempt to support the conclusion. It’s a terrible argument but we don't need to go there.

We are told that public figures' private correspondences and diaries are intended to be confidential when they are written, but later they become biographers' principal sources. But in the future, most of those private correspondences and diaries will be encrypted, which means that the most interesting revealing material will be unavailable to biographers, unless the biographers have the passwords.

So that's the argument. One assumption is that biographers will not have passwords and therefore will not gain access to the most interesting source material. And that's why the author concludes there will be no more biographies. I am really resisting the urge to tear this argument apart because it's so awful. But again we don't need to because this isn’t a Weaken or Strengthen question. So, let's look at the answers.

Answer Choice (A) is a premise of the argument.

Correct Answer Choice (B) accurately paraphrases the conclusion. “Decline significantly or cease” is a good paraphrase for “bring...virtually to an end.”

Answer Choice (C) is an assumption that the argument makes that we noted above.

Answer Choice (D) is supported by information from the stimulus. In other words, if this were an MSS question, then this would be a correct answer, on the back of a fairly reasonable assumption that the private correspondences and diaries are the most interesting and revealing material.

Answer Choice (E) is also an assumption that the argument makes, as noted in (D) above. This is a more subtle assumption than what (C) pointed out.

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