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#20 - Sociologist: Television, telephones, and other

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Please post below with any questions!
ChicaRosa
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Is D correct because the sociologist mentions that, "Critical thinking is the only adequate protection against political demagogues.."?

When I did this problem I picked D randomly when I was trying to finish the test under timed conditions and as I go back to reviewing my answers I just wanted a better understanding of the problem. Can you also explain why the other problems are wrong?

Thanks!
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David Boyle
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ChicaRosa wrote:Is D correct because the sociologist mentions that, "Critical thinking is the only adequate protection against political demagogues.."?

When I did this problem I picked D randomly when I was trying to finish the test under timed conditions and as I go back to reviewing my answers I just wanted a better understanding of the problem. Can you also explain why the other problems are wrong?

Thanks!



Hello ChicaRosa,

Answer D is "correct because the sociologist mentions that, "Critical thinking is the only adequate protection against political demagogues.."", yes.
And, I think you are asking why the other answers are wrong. For answer A, if there are no demagogues around, there's no problem; for answer B, even if there are other bad people, demagogues are a problem; answer C is irrelevant; and answer E talks about media freedom, not protection against demagogues.

Hope this helps,
David
z.em
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Hello,

So for could be true except questions, choices that are out of scope are not the correct answer ? I was torn between D and E and went with E because it was irrelevant and therefore could not be true based on the premises given.
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You got it, z.em! An "out of scope" answer is always one that could be true, because the stimulus won't disprove it. What we are looking for in a Could Be True - Except question is the one answer that Cannot Be True. The stimulus has to disprove the correct answer. Everything else, including (perhaps especially) the "out of scope" stuff, could be true!
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TheGarbs
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"Critical thinking is the only adequate protection against political demagogues.."

How is this formally written?

My thoughts:
Protection--->critical thinking

I chose D because every other answer was out of scope or irrelevant, but my logic was to look for something that was sufficient but not the case/necessary, or, protection---> something else, and I felt D was the best fit. But with that, the "mere presence of Government..." that the stimulus states, reads to me that presence of Government is sufficient...?

Appreciate the clarification/help!
Kristina Moen
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Garbs,

You got it! "Only" modifies "critical thinking," which makes that necessary to protect against political demagogues. Your diagram is correct.

This question is a Cannot Be True. This means that four answer choices can be true, and one answer choice unequivocally must be false. That is the correct answer choice.

Answer choice (D) MUST BE FALSE because the stimulus told us that critical thinking was necessary to protect against political demagogues. So it cannot be true that " The mere presence of an orderly system of government in a society" would be enough to provide protection. You must also have critical thinking!
mN2mmvf
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I drew my diagram like this:

Protection<--->critical thinking

I know there is no classic "if and only if" structure in the stimulus, but I reasoned that critical thinking is 1) necessary for the protection against demagogues, and also that it is 2) sufficient for the protection against demagogues. If critical thinking is the "*only adequate* protection against demagogues," why would it not be the case that, if you have critical thinking, then you've adequately protected yourself? It's not like, as in most necessary conditions, this one thing is always required but many different things could trigger the conditional. One and only one thing can trigger the conditional: critical thinking. If you have critical thinking, then you have protection against demagogues. If you have protection against demagogues, you must have critical thinking.

Then, I thought the absence of "television, telephones, and other electronic media" was required for critical thinking. Because if you have those things, then you have at least some degree of "imprecise, uncritical thinking" as the stimulus says. So taking the contrapositive, having tv/phones/media causes a lack of critical thinking. A lack of critical thinking then causes a lack of protection against demagogues. Thus, highly technological societies (those with televisions, telephones, and other electronic media) don't have critical thinking, and therefore don't have protection against demagogues. If critical thinking is the only adequate protection against demagogues, and there is no protection in these societies, therefore there must be some demagogues. So I chose (A), because I didn't think it could be possible that there would be no demagogues at all in those societies.

I diagrammed like this:

Protection against demagogues <---> critical thinking ---> NOT(television, phones, and electronic media)
Television, phones, and electronic media --> NOT(critical thinking) --> NOT(protection against demagogues)
Thus,
Technological societies ---> some demagogues
which conflicts with (A).

I'm assuming your response to me is going to be that the first sentence "Television...encourages" is not a conditional statement at all, and thus shouldn't be diagrammed like this, because "encouraging" something isn't sufficient to bring it about.

But I considered choice (D) too and rejected it...why must it be false? I thought it was perhaps possible that critical thinking was a necessary component for the "presence of an orderly system of government." If critical thinking was necessary for government, then the presence of government would provide protection against demagogues, and (D) would not be false. Does the word "mere" mean that it's not possible for an "orderly system of government" to have any other necessary components? That doesn't make sense to me; I don't know what the necessary components are, but surely there exist some (e.g., the existence of people, or whatever it means to be orderly).

Help me, please! :)
Adam Tyson
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I think you have answered your own question here, mN2mmvf, with your statement "I know there is no classic "if and only if" structure in the stimulus". There is none - period. Your choosing to put the conditional claim into a biconditional structure is making a mistaken reversal, saying that the necessary condition is also sufficient. Nope! Don't do that.

Even with that error, though, you should see that D simply cannot be true, because if those two things are sufficient for each other then you can never have one without the other. Answer D has "adequate protection" present and "critical thinking" absent, because "mere" means "only". D is saying that you can sometimes adequate protection present and critical thinking absent, directly contradicting the conditional claim that adequate protection REQUIRES critical thinking.

Also, it looks like you over-thought the relationship of critical thinking to television, etc., helping the answers out by assuming that "encourages" means "requires". My mother might encourage me to date her friend's daughter, but that doesn't mean I will! To encourage is not to cause, it's merely to attempt to cause. TV MIGHT cause a lack of critical thinking, but it might not, so it is neither a certain cause nor a sufficient condition.

Don't turn a conditional claim into a two-way street unless the language in the stimulus requires you to do so. Don't make assumptions that are equivalent to mistaken reversals or mistaken negations.

Good luck, keep at it!
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mN2mmvf
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Thanks Adam. I totally forgot that "the only" is a special case of the sufficient condition. I was trying to force it into a necessary condition, but couldn't make sense of it without the biconditional...I knew it needed to be sufficient somehow!