LSAT 92 – Section 1 – Question 04

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT92 S1 Q04
Most strongly supported +MSS
PSA - Find the rule +PSAr
+Easiest 147.037 +SubsectionMedium

This is an uncommon question stem, but it's not entirely novel. This question stem shares many similarities to MSS and PSA questions. The correct answer choice is accepted by Graham but not accepted by Zahler. Looking at the stimulus, you'll see that each of Graham and Zahler makes an argument. That means the correct answer will contain a claim that helps Graham's argument. That's the sense in which Graham will accept the claim. That's the sense in which this is an MSS or PSA for Graham. But, it's just the opposite for Zahler. Moving from Zahler's premise to his conclusion, we should expect him to reject the claim.

So what does Zahler say? He says that the Graham motor company should stop running its deceptive minivan commercials which claim that the Graham's minivan has foldable third-row seats while Zahler minivans don't. That's his conclusion. On the basis of what support? Well, he says Zahler's newest model minivan actually has this feature.

Let's take a look at how the Graham executive responds. She concludes that the commercial is not misleading. Why? Because Zahler is still selling older models which lack that feature.

So, on the one hand, Zahler says that because its newest models have this feature, the advertisement is misleading. Graham responds by saying that not all the models have this feature—the older ones still lack it—therefore the advertisement is not misleading. With this in mind, we can now comb through the answers to find one that Graham will accept because it supports her argument but Zahler will reject because it doesn't support his argument.

Correct Answer Choice (A) says it's not misleading for a company to advertise that its product has a feature that a competing product lacks if some instances of the competing product that are currently offered for sale lack the feature in question. This is a conditional claim using the “if... then...” formulation. It is also an abstract claim which requires us to pin the abstractions to the tangibles. It’s not misleading for a company (Graham) to advertise that its product (minivan) has a feature (foldable third-row seats) that a competing product lacks (Zahler) if some instances of the competing product that are currently offered for sale (Zahler’s older models) lack the feature in question (foldable third-row seats). This is exactly right. Graham would accept this claim because it helps her argument just like how a PSA answer would. Shoving (A) into Graham's argument makes it valid (or nearly so). Yet, this is precisely the reason why Zahler would reject the claim. The facts in question trigger the sufficient conditions which allow the inference of the necessary condition. Zahler wants to reject the necessary condition and therefore must reject the whole conditional.

Answer Choice (B) differs from (A) only in the sufficient condition. So that's what we will examine. The sufficient condition here is if company executives are unaware that the competing product has a feature in question. The facts in the stimulus failed to trigger this sufficient condition because the executives are aware. Because the sufficient condition does not trigger, the condition is powerless and hence irrelevant. Neither Graham nor Zahler has any reason to accept or reject this claim because it does nothing.

Answer Choice (C) is subject to the same analysis as in (B). It also differs only in its sufficient condition. Its sufficient condition is in a state of uncertainty because we don’t know anything about consumer choice. The entire conditional claim is also irrelevant.

Answer Choices (D) and (E) can be eliminated on the basis of their logic alone, like many PSA answers. Notice the necessary condition here differs from the other three answers. They say that it is misleading if such and such conditions are met. This is problematic. Zahler is the one that wants to claim the commercial is misleading. So at best, these answers allow the facts of the stimulus to trigger their sufficient condition and thereby allow Zahler to draw his conclusion. But, this is not what the question stem asked us to do. We were supposed to find an answer that Zahler would reject. If we want to fix these answers, we’d first have to start by changing “if” to “only if.” With this change in place, (D) would still be wrong since the facts in the stimulus don’t fail the necessary condition. (E), however, would be right. The facts in the stimulus fail the necessary condition, which allows Graham to draw the failure of the sufficient as her conclusion. And this is the same reason why Zahler would reject (E).

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