to the top

Lesson 1; Premise/Concl Drill Question 8

mandrewg
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:14 pm
Points: 8

wow just finished this set of drills and it was a doozy! Specifically, identifying what arguments are good and bad (and I'm thinking to myself...is this necessary as that we have to take all stimuli as truth in the "world" of LSAT? I get that it's helpful in real life lawyering, and thus awesome that we get to practice it here, but I was like SO discouraged when I didn't understand whether an argument was supposed to be valid/invalid haha) I'd love some more practice in this sense because I felt like I didn't get a good grasp of it this time around.

with regards to question 8, and it may be due to the fact that I was constantly trying to nitpick what was wrong with the argument, I took the words in the stimulus "...every other town in the state" as literally, "every two towns" so therefore not including all other cities in the state. Hence, I thought the argument was invalid. I think I'm going crazy lol

I say I'm discouraged, but truly I am not, I believe that the Powerscore team has set us up for SO much success, that I understand that I'll get a little bit more knowledgeable with future lessons! Thanks for giving us the resources to reach out and clarify our understanding.
Claire Horan
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:03 pm
Points: 188

Hi mandrewg,

I'm glad you hear you have had a good experience with Powerscore so far and are not feeling discouraged. A positive attitude and an acceptance that you will be studying for a significant amount of time is essential to avoid burning out.

Now on to your question. I am having trouble understanding what your exact mistake was because I don't see where your phrase "every two towns" comes in. You are right to try to nitpick exactly what may be wrong with the argument—that is your task on the LSAT—. In this case I believe you may have simply misread a phrase somewhere.

I also like that you were sensitive to whether towns included cities and where the distinction was. When the word "town" was used, I immediately wondered how town would be defined. If the stimulus had then switched to the word "city," there would be a problem with the argument. Instead, the stimulus used the word "town" throughout, in both premises and in the conclusion, so there was no problem reaching the conclusion from the two premises.

Thanks for your question. You asked the right questions on this drill, so my guess is just that you misread a few words somewhere. Good luck on your further studies!
mandrewg
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:14 pm
Points: 8

Hey Claire,

Thanks for the response! Yes, the phrase "every two towns" is not in the stimulus. I was saying that I took the phrase "every other town from the stimulus, specifically "Considering that our records reflect a net increase in our population over the past year, and that every other town in the state experienced...", as "every other town" in I guess a numerical sense? Like for instance if I say, not every week, but every other week, if I am implying every two weeks. Or like every other Thursday in a month, like not consecutive Thursdays, but every two thursdays?
Claire Horan
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:03 pm
Points: 188

Oh, now I understand! That interpretation didn't even occur to me, even though it's a common expression. Although I don't think this exact difficulty will come up very often, if you happen to see two possible interpretations, you should choose the one that is more logical/literal and stay away from one that is more colloquial. In this case, "every other town" would more literally mean "all other towns." Your interpretation is more of an informal expression.

I hope this helps!
kyunglt
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:07 am
Points: 10

I have a major problem with the claim that this argument is valid. My gripe is that the times in the premises are not clear enough to prove the conclusion. Premise 1 speaks of having the largest population "last year". Premise 2, speaks of a net increase "over the past year". Isn't that last year? Premise 3 claims that every other town experienced a net population decrease for the "same" period. So, based on the numbers from last year/over the past year, we can conclude that we still have a greater population than any other town in the state.

To me the word still indicates a new time-frame other than last year or over the past year. It would be different if it said over "this" past year. Then we could deduce that we were dealing with information for the current year, but it doesn't. In that the time frames are vague, I don't believe that there is sufficient evidence to prove the conclusion.
Daniel Stern
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:14 pm
Points: 82

Hi Kyung:

The census records from the first premise show the town had a greater population last year. That is definitely a past time frame. Then, the Mayor moves to premise 2 with the phrase "Considering that our records reflect" and goes on to say that the records refer to "the past year."

Although the Mayor didn't use "this past year" as you would have liked, there is definitely a shift in time from the first premise to the second. "Last year" and "the past year" do not refer to the same time frame; we can also tell this because the Mayor opens with "considering" and is drawing this data from "our records" as opposed to "the census." So we can see that premise 2 is definitely talking about something different from premise 1: that is, a new time frame.

Since premise 2 is talking about changes in population "over the past year," it is supposed to bring us up to the present and thus make the conclusion -- which is about the present, as indicated by "still" -- valid.

I hope this is helpful. I think these colloquial time frame references can be extrapolated across the LSAT: last year or last week or last month refers to an immediately prior complete period that has concluded. If I say "last month" in March 2018, I am referring to February 2018. If, towards the end of March, I say, "over the past month," I am most likely referring to events that occurred in March.

Good luck in your studies,
Dan