LSAT 91 – Section 2 – Question 02

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT91 S2 Q02
Strengthen +Streng
+Easiest 145.724 +SubsectionMedium

This is a Strengthen question.

The educator's argument contains only one premise and one conclusion. The premise says that few problems faced in daily life can be solved most effectively, if at all, by applying knowledge from any single academic discipline in isolation. That means most problems faced in daily life cannot be most effectively solved by… [rest of sentence]. From that she concludes schools should not require students to take courses in individual academic disciplines but should instead require them to take interdisciplinary courses.

The argument contains a number of assumptions. One is the move from a descriptive premise to a prescriptive conclusion. The premise states what is the case. It is the case that most problems cannot be solved… The conclusion moves to a claim about what schools should do in response. That assumes that schools should try to help students solve the problems that they face in daily life.

Another assumption is that schools have to teach students interdisciplinary courses in order for students to combine knowledge from different disciplines. Is that true? If the schools don't teach an interdisciplinary course on, say, ethics and economics and instead teach those courses separately, does that mean the students can't combine knowledge from the two? That's not clear. But the argument assumes they can’t and concludes that it’s up to the schools to teach interdisciplinary courses.

Correct Answer Choice (C) recognizes this assumption and declares it to be so. It says that students who take only courses in individual disciplines are rarely able to combine knowledge from those disciplines. If that's the case, then the need for schools to teach interdisciplinary courses is much stronger.

Answer Choice (A) cuts against the first assumption we identified. It says that problems faced in daily life usually can be solved effectively using only common sense. If this is true, then who cares about whether schools teach disciplines in an isolated or interdisciplinary manner? If this is true, then the fact that applying knowledge from a single discipline in isolation usually does not amount to a solution doesn't seem like a problem at all, because students can just use their common sense.

Answer Choice (B) says most teachers are able to teach courses in a single academic discipline more effectively than they can teach interdisciplinary courses. This means that if the policy in the conclusion is implemented, then the quality of instruction will suffer as a result. Most teachers will become less effective than when they were in the past teaching single disciplines. This consideration certainly weighs against implementing the policy and the conclusion. So it doesn't strengthen the argument.

Answer Choice (D) says most students who are required to take courses that cover only single disciplines can effectively solve many problems facing daily life. This is not necessarily telling us anything new. The premise already made room for the information here. The premise said that few problems can be solved by applying knowledge from a single discipline in isolation. That already acknowledged the possibility that some problems can.

Answer Choice (E) says most interdisciplinary courses are not designed specifically to teach students how to solve problems faced in daily life. It's not clear if a course not being specifically designed to do a thing means that the course won't end up achieving that result anyway. But even if we assume that's true, meaning that because the courses are not designed specifically to teach students how to resolve problems in daily life, the courses therefore don't end up teaching students how to solve problems in daily life, then that's just the weakness of the policy in the conclusion. That doesn't strengthen the argument.

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