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#10 - To accommodate the personal automobile, houses are

kristinaroz93
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'to accomodate the personal automobile, houses are built on widely scattered lots.."

Though I picked A coorectly, I am having a hard time seeing why C is wrong and the real difference between these two choices. Could anyone help?
Adam Tyson
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See my other response to you this evening about picking the best answer, rather than just a good answer, and that should apply here as well. Answer C may indeed have some relationship to the argument, but A is clearly a more direct connection to the causal problem.

Putting that aside, though, let's look at C on its merits alone and see what we think about it. The author has told us that the automobile caused cities to be built the way they are, and concluded that without automobiles cities would be built differently. Does C describe a problem with that argument? Perhaps it does, by questioning the premise about autos being the cause. Maybe computers caused cities to be built this way, or lightbulbs, or curling irons? But is that really what C says? Not without a bit of a stretch, in my opinion. C says that other tech innovations have had some impact on the way we live our lives, but it doesn't specifically say that those other innovations have impacted the design of cities (scattered lots, big parking areas, etc.) Because it is so vague in what those other impacts are, it is not a very good description of the problem in the argument.

There's another problem with C, and that is that it deals ONLY with the premise about why cities look the way they do. In Flaw questions, we are typically concerned mainly with the link between the premises and the conclusion, and describing why the premises (which may indeed be true) do not really support the conclusion. So what if other tech innovations have had an impact - does that lessen the validity of the claim that if there were no cars, cities would be different? Does answer C attack the weak link between the premises and the conclusion, or does it just raise some question about the premises?

I'll come back to where I started, and that is to picking the best answer rather than one that is merely good or possible. Ultimately, while we might make an argument in favor of answer C here, A needs no such help - it describes the problem in very clear and certain terms that need no assistance from us, and that means that of the five answer choices given, it's the best one.

Hope that helps!
Adam M. Tyson
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kristinaroz93
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Okay I get why choice c is wrong,

But something about A stll bothers me now that I look at the problem again. I don't think it ever said automobiles could have been the only cause.

The argument says that if you take away autmobiles, cities would be different. But it doesn't say that if you took away something else that cities would stay the same maybe that would chage the layout as well. So it leaves that possibility open.


What am I not seeing here...

or wait

by it saying "hence had people not used automobiles the geography of modern cities would be quite different from the way they are now", it is implying that while, yes, automobiles caused the layout, maybe if there were no automobiles something else could have caused the same layout. And that sentence shoots that very plausible idea down leading to ur flaw.
Last edited by kristinaroz93 on Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Adam Tyson
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On the LSAT, whenever they make a causal argument (A causes B), you can treat it as if the author is a bit crazy. Imagine that they are claiming that A is the ONLY cause, that NOTHING ELSE is the cause, that A ALWAYS causes B and that B NEVER happens unless A happens first. I use caps here to emphasize the craziness of this viewpoint - in the real world we don't go to those extremes, typically.

If you look at causal arguments that way in the parallel (but twisted) universe that is the LSAT, you will find these questions are a lot easier to deal with. You say A causes B, Mr. LSAT guy? Well what if C might also cause B? Ha! That weakens your argument! You say A causes B, and I suggest that maybe, just maybe, B causes A, and I have weakened your argument another way. You say A causes B and I say "you forgot to consider that maybe D also causes B" and I have identified a flaw in the argument. Not in real life - in the LSAT. Adopt that view and you will find causal questions to be among the easiest on the test.
Adam M. Tyson
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kristinaroz93
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I added in this idea, from this point I can see why saying that autombiles as the only possible cause is a flaw of the argument.

By the stimulus saying "hence had people not used automobiles the geography of modern cities would be quite different from the way they are now", it is implying that if there were no automobiles nothing else could have caused that same layout. And within that logic comes our flaw because it assumes that automiles are the only developments that could have gottent that layout when this is not certain. Maybe a world where people gotten everywhere by small car sized helicopters could have created tht same layout who knows.

What do you think of this reasoning.
Last edited by kristinaroz93 on Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Adam Tyson
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Spot on! An argument that says "if the cause is removed, the effect will go away too" is flawed on the LSAT because it assumes (without justification) no other cause.
Adam M. Tyson
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kristinaroz93
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Thanks so much!! It is frustrating to get stuck on problems especially the first ten over little things like this but I am glad I get it now.

(Also in my last post you probably didn't see because you responded sooner than I edited it, what I wrote about the car sized helicopters you might like that idea=) ).
kristinaroz93
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Also, I should have added in "it is implying that if there were no automobiles nothing else could have caused that same layout [that automobiles did]".

I hope that was cleaer earlier=)
LSAT2018
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Adam Tyson wrote:Putting that aside, though, let's look at C on its merits alone and see what we think about it. The author has told us that the automobile caused cities to be built the way they are, and concluded that without automobiles cities would be built differently. Does C describe a problem with that argument? Perhaps it does, by questioning the premise about autos being the cause. Maybe computers caused cities to be built this way, or lightbulbs, or curling irons? But is that really what C says? Not without a bit of a stretch, in my opinion. C says that other tech innovations have had some impact on the way we live our lives, but it doesn't specifically say that those other innovations have impacted the design of cities (scattered lots, big parking areas, etc.) Because it is so vague in what those other impacts are, it is not a very good description of the problem in the argument.


So if answer (C) said overlooks the fact that many technological innovations other than the personal automobile have had some effect on the geography of modern cities, would it be acceptable?


Adam Tyson wrote:There's another problem with C, and that is that it deals ONLY with the premise about why cities look the way they do. In Flaw questions, we are typically concerned mainly with the link between the premises and the conclusion, and describing why the premises (which may indeed be true) do not really support the conclusion. So what if other tech innovations have had an impact - does that lessen the validity of the claim that if there were no cars, cities would be different? Does answer C attack the weak link between the premises and the conclusion, or does it just raise some question about the premises?


I thought that the causal reasoning here was:
Cause → Effect
Use of Personal Automobiles → Geography of City

And the conclusion is the negated causal statement, so wouldn't answer (C) still be attacking the causal reasoning involved (not only the premise, but conclusion)?