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LSAT LR Question Type Approaches

Terms in this set (14)

Question Stem Language: "Which one of the following is a reasoning error made in the argument?" "Which one of the following most accurately expresses an error of reasoning in the mayor's argument?" "The reasoning above is most vulnerable to criticism because..." "questionable reasoning" "erroneous reasoning"

Approaching the Stimulus:
1. Read for the core, find the gap in the argument and anticipate the flaw.
2. Could be a common flaw
3. Could be a causation flaw --> A flawed causation argument usually provides correlation as evidence. Causality is almost impossible to prove.
~ Temporal- A Happened. B happened. Thus, A caused B.
~ Statistical- people who are A are more likely to be B than people who are not. Thus, A causes B.
~ Language cues for correlation- "leads to" "produces" "reduces"
~ Whenever an argument assumes a conditional relationship, it overlooks the possibility that A could occur without B
4. Could be an objection
5. Could be a Conditional Logic Flaw, or a Quantity Logic Flaw.
6. Could be a flaw that you haven't seen before... Ask yourself, what does the argument assume or neglect?

Common Features of Incorrect Answers:
1. A majority of incorrect answers will have no direct connection to the premise-conclusion relationship.
2. Abstract Answer? If there is no conditional logic present in the argument, the answer choice is very likely wrong.
~ If there IS conditional logic in the argument, defer judgment. Working wrong-to-right on the other choices may back it easier to confirm or deny the AC.
3. Could name something in the argument, but not the flaw "decoy flaw"
~ SO WHAT?
4. Could name a flaw NOT in the argument- circular reasoning and self-contradiction flaws are common incorrect answers and you must learn to eliminate them quickly.
~Circular Reasoning- "Assumes what it sets out to prove" "presupposes what it seeks to establish" "the conclusion is merely a restatement of the premise"
~Self-Contradiction- "bases its conclusion on claims that are inconsistent with each other"
"contains premises that cannot all be true"
~ THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN!
5. Be careful of normative statements! These establish a certain norm- things that "should" be esp. when there's no discussion of should in the argument.

Common Features of Correct Answers:
1. Many answers will describe the flaw as an assumption the argument "takes for granted" or "fails to consider", "assumes," "overlooks the possibility"
2. Because these are necessary assumptions, we can also use the negation test for flaws
3. When plugging in abstracts, it works!

General Notes:
1. MASTER your list of flaws! Very important.
2. Beware of all explanations, claims of causation, and conditional logic in the stimulus.
3. Stand up to challenging answers! Practice interpreting abstract language, make concrete by filling in argument
4. Be ready for answers that present the flaw from a slightly different perspective.
5 Necessary assumptions are flaws (because they're needed but unstated), but sufficient assumptions aren't (because they're not "missing" from the argument)