# Translating conditional statement

• January 23, 2018 at 9:44 am #29923
blenderbottle
Participant

Hi,

I have a question regarding the conditional statement “I only go to work on Tuesdays.”

I put T -> W since being Tuesday guarantees that I will be working.

I feel like saying going to work guarantees that it’s Tuesday also makes sense. Usually, I count anything that comes after only as necc condition, but I tried to use the guarantee method. Any clarification?

I’m also confused by the statement “Since Ted never pays attention to things he doesn’t buy.” I thought doesn’t buying would not guarantee never paying attention since Ted could not want the item even he did pay attention. This statement was similar to “Sarah will never date a funny guy,” which I correctly devised as F -> not D.

Thank you

• January 23, 2018 at 1:09 pm #30128
Mike Kim
Keymaster

Hey there —

Happy to try and help —

1) “I only go to work on Tuesdays” —

So, you know that the guarantee will either be:

Go to work -> it must be a Tuesday

Or

It’s a Tuesday -> must go to work.

If you are uncertain which way the guarantee should go, one great way to check is to consider alternatives and see how they relate to the original statement.

So, if we want to know if

“I only go to work on Tuesdays”

Means

Go to work -> it must be Tuesday —

We can ask ourselves — would going in to work on any other day, like Wednesday, violate this rule?

Yes, it would —

So, Go to work -> it must be Tuesday is the right orientation of the rule.

And to test it the other way, if we want to know if

“I only go to work on Tuesdays”

Means

It’s Tuesday -> must go to work —

We can ask ourselves — what if, on a Tuesday, we don’t go into work? Maybe we are sick or whatever. Does that violate this rule?

No, it doesn’t —

You can not go to work on a Tuesday and the statement “I only go into work on Tuesdays” could still be valid, so

Tuesday -> must go to work

is not a guarantee contained in the original statement.

Not quite sure what your exact q is for the second conditional — whether Ted wants or doesn’t want an item isn’t of direct relevance here — but I’ll give it a shot two ways –

1)

“Sarah will never date a funny guy” =

F -> not D.

And

“Ted never pays attention to things he doesn’t buy.” =

won’t buy -> won’t pay attention

Are consistent with one another.

2)

In addition, to test the rule out,

Does “Ted never pays attention to things he doesn’t buy” =

Doesn’t pay attention -> must be something he won’t buy?

No, it doesn’t — what if he also doesn’t pay attention to the weather or to strangers walking past his house etc. — none of this would violate the original statement, and so we cannot make an inference that

If he doesn’t pay attention to something -> it must be something he won’t buy.

On the other hand, does “Ted never pays attention to things he doesn’t buy” =

Something he won’t buy -> won’t pay attention?

Yes it does — we can test it by imagining a different outcome — there is something he won’t buy, but he does pay attention to it.

Notice this would go against the original statement.

So, we know this is in fact a rule that we can correctly infer — if it’s something he won’t buy, then he won’t pay attention.

Tricky stuff and very easy to get turned around but hth — MK

• March 16, 2018 at 2:55 pm #136131
dnrr
Participant

Hi Mike,

I also have questions about the translating conditional statements drill in the trainer.

I don’t understand why “T–>W” goes against the original rule of “I only work on Tuesdays.” Doesn’t this statement say “If it’s Tuesday, I must go to work?” I think I’m failing to see how the translated statement applies to the original.

Additionally, for the correct statement “W–>T,” could this be translated as “If I go to work, it must be Tuesday?” I think I understand how going to work on Wednesday would violate this rule, but I’m not certain. I think I might just be confusing myself with this particular issue.

I didn’t have much of an issue with conditional logic in the earlier logic games lessons, but with lesson 18 (and the subsequent sufficient assumption drill set) I seem to be having some trouble. Thanks very much for your help.

• March 17, 2018 at 7:12 pm #136132
LSAT Dan
Participant

Perhaps an example with subject matter that isn’t arbitrary will help. Let’s say I’m a teacher at a typical school where there’s no school on the weekends. It would be correct to say “I only work on weekdays.” But that doesn’t mean I work on EVERY weekday. I’m off on Christmas, even if it’s a Tuesday. If I’m working, you know it’s a weekday, but if it’s a weekday, you don’t know that I’m working. So “I only work in weekdays” means:

Work —-> Weekday

Not

Weekday —> Work

• March 18, 2018 at 6:46 pm #136133
dnrr
Participant

Hi Dan,

Thanks so much for your reply. Your explanation makes tons of sense. I understand the sense of the phrase now and see how the arbitrary “Tuesday / Work” setup really confused me. Once again, thanks for your help!

• March 18, 2018 at 8:55 pm #136134
LSAT Dan
Participant

Very wlcome. Keeping the structure of an argument but substituting in content that you’re familiar with is a good way of untangling difficult conditional statements or arguments, because it comes in with a built in check. For instance, if you’re combining or using an “only” statement and an “unless” statement, you might come up with “all managers at XYZ company have PhD’s,” which may or may not be correct; you’re just hoping you did it right. But if you substitute content for which you know the truth value, and you come up with “all mammals are cats,” then you know you’ve done something wrong.

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