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#23 - Historians of North American architecture who have

ksandberg
LSAT Apprentice
 
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Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:01 pm
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Dear PowerScore,

I understand why B is correct, as it is showing that for the square footage covered, a narrow floor board is more expensive than a wide floor board. However, I do not understand why E is incorrect. E demonstrates that the houses in which the narrow floor boards were found, generally involve more expensive materials than the houses in which the wide floor boards were found. Doesn't this also support the conclusion that narrow floor boards may have been symbolic of wealth?

Thank you.
Jonathan Evans
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
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Location: DFW, Texas

Hi, KS,

Welcome to the PowerScore forums! Thank you for your question.

First, a note:

The information in B strengthens the validity of the author's conclusion by "defending" against the possibility that narrow floorboards were actually much cheaper than wide floorboards at the time of the construction of these houses. It is not necessary to consider square footage. It is only necessary to note that for narrow floorboards actually to be a "status" symbol, they must at a minimum not be far cheaper than wide floorboards of the same length.

Now, with respect to answer choice E, focus again on the conclusion:

"Floors made out of narrow floorboards were probably once a status symbol, designed to proclaim the owner's wealth."

Your job is to find some new information that would support this conclusion. Answer choice E gives you information about other floors that were indeed far more expensive. Perhaps these floors proclaimed the owners' wealth. However, this answer choice does not give you direct information about the narrow floorboards value or significance in proclaiming wealth. To get the information in answer choice E to support the conclusion, you must introduce another assumption, i.e. that a likely purpose of other floors in big houses gives you reason to believe that all floors in such a house must share a similar purpose and be relatively expensive compared to alternatives.

Whenever you have to introduce an intermediate step in a strengthen or weaken problem, it is unlikely that you have arrived at the answer that "most helps to strengthen" the argument. The credited response will directly address a flaw or gap in the reasoning and thus be a better alternative.

Please follow up with further questions.
calftemo
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:12 pm
Points: 4

Hi,

I too was very tempted by (E), as it seems to strengthen the correlation between bigger houses (wealthy people) and the use of expensive flooring. From the LR Bible, we know that one way to strengthen a causation-based argument is through correlation.

However, I have a question: Would (E) be considered a "shell game" type of answer choice for this question? It seems like it would strengthen a different - albeit very closely related - conclusion than the one we are given in the stimulus.

Thanks in advance for your help.
Jonathan Evans
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 681
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:12 pm
Points: 570
Location: DFW, Texas

Hi, Calftemo,

Yes, good job! There are a couple issues with (E). As you noted, it's a Shell Game. We're not interested in other flooring materials, just whether the wood was a status symbol.

Second issue: Even with the information in (E) we do not know whether these other more expensive floors were status symbols designed to "proclaim" wealth. All we know is that these other floors are more expensive.

Third issue: The weasel word "many" at the beginning of (E) weakens its implications. Many big houses have expensive floors. Many have welcome mats. Very few small houses have welcome mats. Okay... does this do very much for us? What if many big houses don't have welcome mats? Are welcome mats a status symbol? Who knows. Be careful with words like "many" (especially on Weaken and Strengthen questions) that are synonymous with "some."

Good job!