LSAT 91 – Section 2 – Question 23

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT91 S2 Q23
Inference +Inf
+Hardest 145.724 +SubsectionMedium

This is an Inference question.

The question stem says “properly inferred” from the sociologist's perspective. Inference from others' perspective is a question type that we see more often in RC.

The stimulus starts by telling us what rational choice theory says about what causes support for political parties. It says that popular support for political parties is caused by individual voters making deliberate decisions to support those parties whose policies they believe will economically benefit them. In other words, individuals' beliefs about the economic consequences of a particular party's policies cause those individuals to support those parties. This causal relationship is what is meant by “sufficiently explained.”

But the sociologists don't agree. They oppose rational choice theory on the premise that a complex phenomenon like the rise of a political organization or party cannot be caused by a simple phenomenon.

What is this “simple phenomenon”? It must be the individual voters making economic decisions to support political parties, which implies that it must not be a complex phenomenon. This is what Correct Answer Choice (A) says. Sociologists believe that economically motivated decisions by voters need not constitute a complex phenomenon. We are getting hints of an NA question. Note how (A) could have stated this much more strongly. Economically motivated decisions by voters constitute a simple phenomenon. That would have been correct as well. But the test writers took it one step further and stated an inference of that statement.

Answer Choice (B) says a complex phenomenon generally will have many complex causes. This is unsupported. The sociologists only said that a complex phenomenon cannot be caused by a simple phenomenon. This leaves open several possibilities. Perhaps they believe that a complex phenomenon can be caused by many simple phenomena. Or perhaps they believe that a complex phenomenon can be caused by a single complex phenomenon. We’d have to dismiss those alternatives without warrant in order to arrive at (B).

Answer Choice (C) says political phenomena often have religious and cultural causes as well as economic ones. This is even more unsupported. Note the same reasoning in (B) applies here. Additionally, (C) draws an inference to religious and cultural causes on the basis of nothing.

Answer Choice (D) says popular support for political parties is never a complex phenomenon. This is anti-supported. The sociologist called the rise of a political organization a complex phenomenon. Within the context of the stimulus, the rise of the political organization is synonymous with popular support for a political party.

Answer Choice (E) says the decisions of individual voters are not usually influenced by their beliefs about which policies will yield them the greatest economic advantage. This is unsupported. The stimulus talks about a narrow political relationship. It examines the causes of the rise of popular political parties. (E) talks about a much broader political relationship, the causes of individual voting decisions. The stimulus has very little to say about what generally causes (influences) or doesn't cause voters to cast their vote one way or another.

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