LSAT 91 – Section 2 – Question 17

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT91 S2 Q17
Except +Exc
Parallel method of reasoning +Para
+Harder 145.724 +SubsectionMedium

This is a Miscellaneous question.

According to the question stem, the analysis portion of the stimulus applies to the situation portion of the stimulus in the same appropriate way that would also apply to four of the answer choices. Note the word “EXCEPT” in the stem.

The question tests reasoning by analogy, reasoning from principle to application, and causal reasoning.

The situation is that a physical therapist (1) wants her patients to derive more enjoyment from the challenge of developing physical skills. She also (2) wants them to spend more time practicing those skills.

The analysis says success in meeting the first objective (derive enjoyment) will bring about success in meeting the second objective (spend more time).

The analysis seems appropriate for the situation as along as we make the (quite reasonable) assumption that enjoyment of an activity causes more time to be spent on that activity. If we view that causal assumption (extracted from the analysis) as a principle, then the situation can be viewed as an application of that principle. The analysis itself is a more general version of that causal principle.

In evaluating the answer choices, we can continue to use that framework and look for four more applications of the general principle. Alternatively, we can use the framework of analogies. We’re on the lookout for four analogous situations. On what grounds do we judge how analogous the new situations are to the existing one? In other words, what counts as “relevant similarity”? How well the new situations conform to the causal principle. The two frameworks converge.

Answer Choice (A) says a math teacher (1) wants her students to understand the mathematical principles taught in her course and (2) wants them to apply these principles routinely in everyday life. This is analogous. This is an appropriate application of the causal principle in the analysis.

If a math teacher is successful in getting her students to understand the principles of geometry, algebra, or statistics, then that will have a positive causal impact on their applying those principles in everyday life.

Answer Choice (B) says a software manufacturer (1) wants its customers to be more satisfied with the product and (2) wants them to place fewer calls to the service representative about how to use the product. This is analogous. This is an appropriate application of the causal principle in the analysis.

If the software manufacturer is successful in getting its customers to be more satisfied with the product, then its customers will be less likely to place calls about how to use it. There are many ways in which one can be unsatisfied with a product, of course, but one of those ways is not understanding how to use the product, which leads to (causes) customer support calls. If overall satisfaction is improved, then the problem of not understanding how to use the product will be mitigated to some degree. Whatever that level of improvement is should lead to (cause) fewer customer support calls.

Answer Choice (C) says a librarian (1) wants fewer of the books borrowed from the library to be lost or stolen, and he also (2) wants more of the books to be returned on time. This is analogous. This is an appropriate application of the causal principle in the analysis.

Of the entire set of books that are borrowed, some of them are lost and some of them are stolen. Lost is accidental whereas stolen is intentional. If the librarian is successful in reducing the number of lost or stolen books, then it is very likely that that will cause more books to be returned on time. Why? Because it’s precisely the books that would otherwise have been lost or stolen (which guarantees that they won’t be returned on time) that will now be returned on time.

Correct Answer Choice (D) says a hardware retail company (1) wants to construct a new, larger warehouse, and it also (2) wants its employees to help plan how the old warehouse will be expanded. This is not analogous. This is not an appropriate application of the causal principle in the analysis.

The first objective and the second are disconnected, and hence success in meeting the first has no causal bearing on success in meeting the second.

Success in meeting the first objective seems just as likely to have a positively causal impact on the second objective as it is to have a negative causal impact.

Imagine the first objective is successfully achieved. Congrats. You built a new, larger warehouse. How does that impact your second objective? I don't know. It could be positive or negative.

Maybe the old employees from the original warehouse are like, “I am revitalized with energy to make this work because we can't have the crew at the new warehouse show us up. We'd better do a really good job of expanding the old warehouse.”

But maybe the old employees are instead demoralized. They look at the second, new, larger warehouse and they don’t see why they need to do a good job planning the expansion of their current warehouse.

Answer Choice (E) says a concert series director (1) wants to present a more varied repertoire and (2) wants to attract new patrons. This is analogous. This is an appropriate application of the causal principle in the analysis.

If the director is successful in presenting a more varied repertoire (doing stuff that they haven't done before, new stuff), then it seems reasonably likely that they’ll attract (cause) new patrons (people who didn't come to the concert before because the repertoire was narrow).

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