LR 34.2.1 In his new book on his complex scientific research

    • April 5, 2016 at 9:24 am #1659

      Hi all,

      Is it possible to explain the choice between A and E? I feel like both take significant wording jumps, and while I can come to justify A after having seen the solution, I’m not sure I’d pick it again if I were taking this blind.

      A seems to take the jump to competency on scientific matters, which is never mentioned. The conclusion simply states that the book does not merit attention, not that R is incompetent.

      E seems to talk about criteria of being true, which is also never mentioned in the passage.

      It is my understanding that these wording leaps happen more frequently at the beginning of passages. Any advice on getting through them without overthinking and in a timely manner?

    • April 6, 2016 at 6:41 am #1670

      There are two flaws in the passage. First, R’s conviction with respect to the other investigators may beĀ correct, for all we know. Second, there is the flaw that shows up in the answer choices- we cannot conclude on the basis of R being an asshole that R is incorrect. This second flaw (also known as the ad hominem fallacy, but you don’t need to know that) turns up quite often on the LSAT, and it is important to be able to recognize when this happens.

      I think it’s good that you were suspicious of (A) due to the word jump, but in fact the word jump here does not exclude (A) from being the correct answer choice. R wrote a book on scientific research. The conclusion is that R’s book doesn’t merit attention from serious professionals. The attack on R’s character doesn’t mean that R’s book sucks- there are lots of ways in which they could have phrased this. The one that they chose- “not competent on matters of scientific substance”- is simply another way of making the point the attack on R’s character is irrelevant to whether or not R’s book on scientific research was any good.

      (E), on the other hand, doesn’t capture either of the flaws in the passage. (Moreover, if the conclusion had been that R’s book is completely false, it would still be a bad argument)

      I think the key to this passage is recognizing the common flaw taking place, which should set off red flags in terms of what to look for in the answer choices.

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