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#21 - Editor: Most of the books of fiction we have published

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Complete Question Explanation

Must Be True—FL. The correct answer choice is (E)

Formal Logic, a minor concept on the LSAT, makes an appearance in this question, using terms like “most” and “some.” However, the answer to this question is derived by application of conditional reasoning ideas that are contained within the umbrella of Formal Logic, and with which you likely are more familiar.

The editor discusses the types of books considered and/or published by the publishing house. The editor treats fiction and non-fiction works separately. Regarding fiction books, the editor says that most of the books of fiction they, meaning the publishing house, has published were submitted by literary agents. The rest of the published books of fiction were received directly from fiction writers from whom the publishing house requested submissions. We can use the word “some” to diagram this remainder.

As to nonfiction manuscripts, the editor provides an absolute rule: no nonfiction manuscript is given serious attention, let alone published, unless it is from a renowned figure or the publishing house has requested the manuscript after careful review of the writer’s book proposal. Although this is a complicated rule, with compound sufficient and necessary terms and the term “unless,” the use of the Unless Equation will make it more manageable.

To review, the facts in stimulus were:

    Fact: ..... most of the books of fiction we have published were submitted by literary agents for writers they ..... ..... ..... represented

    ..... ..... books of fiction published ..... :most: ..... submitted by literary agents for writers they represent

    Fact: ..... the rest were received directly from fiction writers from whom we requested submissions

    ..... ..... books of fiction published ..... :some: ..... received directly from writers from whom we ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... requested submissions

    Fact: ..... no nonfiction manuscript has been given serious attention, let alone published, unless it was from a ..... ..... ..... renowned figure or we had requested the manuscript after careful review of the writer’s book proposal

    ..... ..... nonfiction manuscript given serious attention ..... ..... author is a renowned public figure

    ..... ..... ..... ..... or ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... :arrow: ..... ..... ..... or

    ..... ..... nonfiction manuscript published ..... ..... ..... ..... we requested the manuscript after careful ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... review of the writer’s book proposal

Since there are no obvious connections to be made between these terms, do not waste time attempting to prephrase which of these relationships will be tested by the question. Simply be aware of the relationships, and be certain to focus on which relationships are implicated by the language in each answer choice. Be careful to avoid Mistaken Reversals and other unsupported uses of the relationships in the stimulus.

Answer choice (A): This answer choice is incorrect because it relies on knowing the number of unrequested manuscripts the publishing house has received from renowned figures, a number not provided in the stimulus.

Answer choice (B): As with answer choice (A), this answer choice relies on knowing numbers not available in the stimulus. The remaining category of book is a nonfiction manuscript requested by the publishing house after careful review of the writer’s proposal. The number of these manuscripts requested by the publishing house is unknown, as are any other numbers detailing how many books of each type the publishing house publishes. Without these numbers, the comparison made in this answer choice, as with that in answer choice (A), is not supported by the stimulus.

Answer choice (C): This answer choice fails to include those nonfiction manuscripts requested by the publishing house after careful review of the writer’s book proposal.

Answer choice (D): The editor did not draw this distinction between books of fiction submitted by literary agents for writers they represent and books of fiction received directly from fiction writers from whom the publishing house requested submissions.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. According to the stimulus, an unrequested manuscript not submitted by a literary agent must be a nonfiction manuscript. The conditional relationship created by the third fact described above provided that if a nonfiction manuscript is given serious attention, then it must be the case that it was from a renowned public figure or was requested by the publishing house after careful review of the writer’s book proposal. Since this answer choice refers to unrequested manuscripts not submitted by literary agents that the publishing house has published, it must be the case that the manuscripts were written by renowned figures.
maximbasu
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Hello,
I chose B as the correct answer while the correct answer was E.

B seemed the most logical answer, not my favorite.
For E, I reasoned that unrequested manuscripts can be from works of fiction as well and they don't have to be written by renowned figures, correct?

I don't understand the logic behind E.

Thank you, Maxim.
Robert Carroll
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Maxim,

Answer choice (E) also says "not submitted by literary agents," and any unrequested manuscripts that eventually led to publication must have been submitted by literary agents, by the first sentence. Thus, the work cannot be a work of fiction. If it was unrequested, then if it was published and nonfiction, as it must be, it must have been by a renowned figure, as answer choice (E) says.

Robert Carroll
awilt
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Can you go into a little more detail as to why A is wrong. I was down to A and E and chose A.
nicholaspavic
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Hi awilt!

This is a tricky one, but let's focus on Answer Option (A)'s specific language of "most" to start off with. Recall that most is greater than 50% on the LSAT.

Now wven though this is a formal logic question, the question stem's "properly inferred" language still demands that the correct answer choice pass the Fact Test of a Must Be True question. And Answer Option (A) is clearly referring to the last sentence of the stimulus which is just a normal, conditional rule, as diagrammed above. In other words, it does not talk about "most" or "some" it merely gives us a conditional rule with mutiple sufficients and necessaries coupled by "or" on either side of the arrow. But that rule, does NOT tell you anything about the quantity of the unrequested manuscripts even if you tried to do a contrapositive with them. Put another way, if you heard that rule in the last sentence, but then I told you that most of the unrequested manuscripts that the publishing house received were from world-renowned authors, would that make Answer Option (A) then false? Because perhaps that is the case.

We simply don't know anything about the quantity of the unrequested manuscripts received (and who they were from) in relation to the attention given to them by the publishing house.

Thanks for the great question and let us know if this helps!
harvoolio
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To simply this as to why (e) is correct is this logic sound:

Two sources for published fiction books: requested submissions or unrequested submissions by literary agents.
Two sources for published non-fiction books: requested submissions or unrequested submissions by renowned figures.

Answer choice E because any unrequested submissions published are by literary agents or renowned figures.

Thanks.
Alex Bodaken
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Yep, you got it. Like this breakdown a lot - very clarifying.

AB
harvoolio
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Thanks Alex.

After completing the October 2013 practice diagnostic, I am presently going through the Logical Reasoning Bible which is awesome.
Leela
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..... ..... nonfiction manuscript given serious attention ..... ..... author is a renowned public figure

..... ..... ..... ..... or ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... :arrow: ..... ..... ..... or

..... ..... nonfiction manuscript published ..... ..... ..... ..... we requested the manuscript after careful ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... review of the writer’s book proposal


Could someone please explain how to approach the contrapositive of a causal statement that uses and/or on both sides of the arrow? The above is what I diagrammed and then I diagrammed roughly the following as the contrapositive and was confused how I should read it. I don't believe I've come across many causal diagrams like this before.

Contrapositive:
..... ..... author not renown public figure ..... ..... ..... ..... .....didn't give nonfiction manuscript serious attention
..... ..... ..... ..... and ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... :arrow: ..... ..... .....or
..... ..... ..... didn't request manuscript ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... nonfiction manuscript not published
Dave Killoran
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Hi Leela,

This might help: Conditional Reasoning: Multiple Sufficient and Necessary Conditions.

The rule acts the same when both sides have multiple conditions: AND always becomes OR (with both terms negated), and OR always becomes AND (with both terms negated). So, in your proposed contrapositive above the sufficient side is correct but the necessary should have AND instead of OR (the negation of the terms was right). Does that help?

Thanks!
Dave Killoran
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