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#14 - It has been suggested that a television set should

LSAT Novice
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I narrowed my answer choices to E and D, ultimately going with E (in spite of my hesitation against it being the correct choice).

The main reason I put this answer was because of the use of the term 'intermediate conclusion' in answer choice D vs. the use of the term 'premise' in answer choice E.

Since the claim in the premise is as follows: 'since television is so important politically and culturally' (i.e. it is preceded with the classic premise indicator 'since'), I quickly saw this claim as a premise and thus struggled to justify choosing answer choice D over E. Can you help explain?

Francis O'Rourke
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Hi Dillon,

When a stimulus only contains premises and one conclusion, you can confidently use indicators to solve Method of Reasoning questions in very short order. the difficulty with many of these questions, including this one, is that intermediate conclusions play a double role in the argument: they are used to support the main conclusion (thus they act like premises) and they are supported by other statements (thus they also act like conclusions).

Because they play these two roles in an argument, we can introduce them with either a premise or a conclusion indicator. Consider the following two arguments.

  • Because many voters get information about current events through television, television is therefore politically important. It follows that some government control is needed.
  • Since many voters get information about current events through television, television is politically important. And since television is politically important, some government control is therefore needed.

In these two phrasings of the argument, it is just as natural to put a premise indicator as a conclusion indicator in front of a intermediate conclusion. The only difference is emphasis.

What is clear in both of these examples is that the author uses some evidence to advance the claim that TV is politically important, and then uses that claim to in turn make the argument that some government control is needed.
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Hello! for this, I thought that the sentence "some governmental control is needed" was the intermediate conclusion since it sounded like a standalone strong statement, and the line, "since television is so important...culturally" was a premise supporting IT. I know the intermediate conclusions work as both a conclusion and a premise but in this case it jsut seemed like a simple premise- can someone pls explain again how its an intermediate conclusion one?
Robert Carroll
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It doesn't really matter whether "some governmental control is needed" is an intermediate conclusion, because answer choice (D) describes the relation you're identifying between that statement and the "since television is so important" statement anyway. That latter statement DOES support the "some governmental control is needed" statement, like you say, and answer choice (D) says that. The "since television is so important" statement is properly described as an intermediate conclusion because, as answer choice (D) identifies, the last two sentences of the stimulus support the political and cultural importance of TV by explaining each point - so those last two sentences are premises which establish the statement that TV is important. That statement itself supports the idea that government control is needed.

An argument could have multiple intermediate conclusions, but the statement in the question itself definitely is one and is correctly described by answer choice (D), so that possibility is irrelevant.

Robert Carroll