Reply To: The LSAT's meaning of "paradoxical"

July 20, 2016 at 12:53 pm #2280
Mike Kim

Hey Jacob —

Thanks for your comments about the Trainer and welcome to Lsatters! —

This is certainly a dense and challenging passage to get through —

Just took a quick look and to me, the paradox exists between the contents of the first and second paragraphs —

The first paragraph talks about the influence (“heavy burden”) of old laws, old cases, old law principles, etc. on common law/modern law students (to put it more plainly, they are required to study laws from long ago, and these laws from long ago determine legal language, the organization of legal subject matter, and so on). It concludes that (because old stuff plays such a big role in it) common law cannot be properly understood without considering of history.

The second paragraph starts with “Yet” and so we know we are going to be given something that counters the first paragraph in some way — the “yet” given is that we rarely study or consider these rules with their actual history in mind.

This is the paradoxical situation: the author says that because of the heavy influence of history on common law, history must be taken into account in order to properly understand common law; however, this history is not actually studied.

Notice that the answer then gives a clean summary of the final paragraph, and in so doing, nicely addresses the passage as a whole —

I hope that helps clear things up — if you have any follow-up just let me know — Mike