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#21 - Monroe, despite his generally poor appetite,

PositiveThinker
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Question 21 is the second part of a two part question.

A- incorrect because it says Monroe can eat any of Tip tops daily specials without coming ill as long as the *special* doesn't include the hot peppers. Just because it wasn't on the special doesn't mean he can't still order it and eat it. Maybe he just paid full price for it. (if this is a reach in my reasoning please let me know. Because that was my original reason for eliminating.

B - I eliminated B because it didn't account for the size of the food that Monroe was eating. The stimulus points out that Monroe had a poor appetite. Originally i let this be a contender until i came to answer choice C. My only slight reason for kind of seeing why this would be right is because it essentially says on his third meal vs answer choice C saying *the next time* monroe eats at tip tops.

C - I chose C because it accounts for Monroe eating an extra large sausage pizza (which is your controlled variable) and he does not have a side order of hot peppers and will not become ill after his meal... Ive looked at this over and over and i do not see how this is wrong. If the conclusion and evidence in the stimulus are correct. How is this wrong?

D - wrong because we do not care what Monroe ate before going to Tip Top as it pertains to the argument.

E - WE don't care where else Monroe has eaten hot peppers. he could have eaten them at a circus for all we care. Does nothing.

I broke down the reasoning for each question so if any of them are incorrect reasons for elimination i can learn from it. Thanks a lot!
Dave Killoran
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Hi Positive,

For starters, I made an analysis of the stimulus when I analyzed question #20, and anyone struggling with this problem might find that helpful: viewtopic.php?t=9157.

In #21, the interesting thing is that we are told in the question stem that "both Monroe's conclusion and the evidence on which he bases it are correct," which means that we now have to accept that Monroe was right about the hot peppers being the sole cause of him becoming ill after the three meals in question. The idea discussed in #20, namely that it was the large quantities of food that caused the issue in the three meals, now has to be set aside (and that is hard to do!).

So, with the above in mind, let's look at some of your answer comments again:


    (A): Yes, this is far too broad, and it also looks into possible future meals, which haven't been addressed. We don't know anything about the daily specials, and it is possible that some other element—one that Monroe has yet to encounter—might make him sick, or that at future meals different factors might be in play.

    (B): "I eliminated B because it didn't account for the size of the food that Monroe was eating." — as you've probably figured out now, the fact that this didn't address the amount of food eaten isn't a problem (since we are ignoring that element per the question stem). Instead, because this answer specifies that Monroe would've eaten hot peppers with this meal (which was a substitute for one of the three meals we already know about, where the hot peppers were indeed what was making him sick), we can ascertain that he would have for sure become sick after this meal. Thus, this answer choice is strongly supported by the information in the stimulus, and is correct.

    (C): This answer choice has some similarities to (A). First, this is a forward-looking answer that talks about the next time, and at that point things could be entirely different. What we know about is what happened at the three meals discussed in the stimulus, and what happens thereafter is not bound by the same rules or conclusions. By comparison, look at answer choice (B), which quite specifically substitutes the food used in one of the three named meals in the stimulus.

    So, while we knwo that when Monroe ate hot peppers at those meals and that caused him to become sick, for a future meal we can't guarantee what will happen, or that some other factor won't cause him to be sick.

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
Dave Killoran
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PositiveThinker
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This was very helpful and something i have to be more cognizant of in the future. I overlooked in the question stem that we are assuming the evidence *and* the conclusion are true. Yikes. Score one more for the LSAT makers. Mistake won't happen again though!
ValVal
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Hi there!

I got a little confused with this question.
I was torn in between A and B and eventually picked A, which was incorrect.
Here is my reasoning.
I caught the presence of cause and effect in the stimulus: ate peppers :arrow: became ill. (and subsequently I gave a correct answer on #20)
But then I started analyzing answer choice A which gave me following diagram: since I saw the presence of "without", I put became ill as NC, and I reversed SC "does not include hot peppers", and diagram was identical: ate peppers :arrow: became ill

Answer choice B gave me the same diagram as well: ate peppers :arrow: became ill

That's where I got really confusing for me...So now I am thinking that A is wrong because it displayed sufficient-necessary chain while in stimuli we had only cause-effect present... But at the same time B offers sufficient-necessary statement as well... But maybe it's correct because it just restates that that same cause (pepper) inevitably leads to the same effect (became ill).

So would you please just confirm/correct/clarify my suspicions about why A is incorrect and B is the correct answer?

Thank you very much!
Francis O'Rourke
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Hi Val

You made one big error in the following part of your analysis.

But then I started analyzing answer choice A which gave me following diagram: since I saw the presence of "without", I put became ill as NC, and I reversed SC "does not include hot peppers", and diagram was identical: ate peppers :arrow: became ill



Answer Choice (A) should be diagrammed as follows:

No Red Peppers in Special :arrow: Not Become Ill
Or: If there are no red peppers in the special, then he will not become ill.

This is an incorrect inference, since we can't predict that Monroe will be alright after his next meal. For example, he could eat a special with salmonella in the spinach the next time he goes to Tip-Top's.


It sounds like you automatically understood the word without to be the conditional indicator. Oftentimes this will be an indicator, but not always. Consider how to diagram the following: "If I drive without my glasses, I will crash my car." In that statement, as in choice (A), without functions very similarly to not or with no. So, "If I drive with no glasses, I will crash my car" is a perfectly accurate rephrasing. Pay attention to context, even if you see an indicator.

The real indicator of the conditional relationship was the phrase as long as, which picked out No Red Peppers in Special as the sufficient condition.
mN2mmvf
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Hi,

I don't quite understand why (E) can be so easily eliminated. I saw the attractiveness of (B) too, but here's why I thought (E) made more sense. The stimulus says that both Monroe's conclusion and the evidence he bases it on are correct. So it must be the case that he's reporting his meals accurately, and that "it is *solely* due to Tip-Top's hot peppers that he became ill."

If it's the case that Monroe ate hot peppers somewhere other than Tip-Top, how is it possible that Monroe's conclusion could still be correct, that his illness is solely caused by Tip-Top's hot peppers? What if Monroe had snacks before all of these meals, also with hot peppers, but those peppers, not from Tip-Top's, were the ones that caused him to become sick? Then his conclusion would not be correct. So taking his conclusion to be correct would seem to support (E).

Where am I going wrong?

Thanks!
James Finch
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Hi MN,

We're dealing with a causal reasoning stimulus, in which the effect is Monroe getting ill and the purported sole cause is Tip-Top's hot peppers. This question is a Must Be True, asking us to pick which answer choice would be most likely to be true assuming that the stimulus's causal reasoning is both true and correct. Note that there is some potential for unknown information to potentially invalidate even the correct answer choice, as the wording in the question stem makes it clear that we are only looking for the answer choice most supported by the argument in the stimulus.

In choosing between answer choices (A) and (E), we have to look at the exact scope of the argument: because Monroe ate 3 very different meals at Tip-Top, the only shared ingredient being hot peppers, the stimulus concludes that the only the hot peppers from Tip-Top that made Monroe sick, and nothing else. We now must accept this as true for this question. This can help us prephrase: what could we possibly conclude from that argument? Only that Monroe eating the hot peppers led to him getting ill, or:

Tip-Top hot peppers :arrow: Monroe ill

Any answer choice that restates that prephrase will be correct. (A) fails in that it doesn't account for other potential causes of illness. The testmakers here assume common knowledge of the existence of many food-born pathogens and allergies.

(B)--The peppers are the sole known cause of Monroe becoming ill during his prior meals at Tip-Top, so swapping out a meatball sandwich for baked chicken but still having Monroe eat the peppers would have produced the same result: Monroe becoming ill.

(C)--This answer choice has the same problem as (A), in that it doesn't account for other possible causes of illness. All we know is that the hot peppers were the only thing causing the illness in the prior meals, not that other causes will not exist in the future.

(D)--Completely false. The time at Tip-Top could have been the first time Monroe ever ate fried shrimp.

(E)--Again, we have no way of knowing this. It could be true, but it could also be false. Monroe may have eaten hot peppers before ever going to Tip-Top, and may or may not have gotten sick afterwards. We just don't know enough about Monroe to conclude this; all we know is that the three times Monroe has eaten at Tip-Top, the hot peppers made him ill.

Hope this clears things up!
kcho10
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James Finch wrote:Hi MN,

We're dealing with a causal reasoning stimulus, in which the effect is Monroe getting ill and the purported sole cause is Tip-Top's hot peppers. This question is a Must Be True, asking us to pick which answer choice would be most likely to be true assuming that the stimulus's causal reasoning is both true and correct. Note that there is some potential for unknown information to potentially invalidate even the correct answer choice, as the wording in the question stem makes it clear that we are only looking for the answer choice most supported by the argument in the stimulus.

In choosing between answer choices (A) and (E), we have to look at the exact scope of the argument: because Monroe ate 3 very different meals at Tip-Top, the only shared ingredient being hot peppers, the stimulus concludes that the only the hot peppers from Tip-Top that made Monroe sick, and nothing else. We now must accept this as true for this question. This can help us prephrase: what could we possibly conclude from that argument? Only that Monroe eating the hot peppers led to him getting ill, or:

Tip-Top hot peppers :arrow: Monroe ill

Any answer choice that restates that prephrase will be correct. (A) fails in that it doesn't account for other potential causes of illness. The testmakers here assume common knowledge of the existence of many food-born pathogens and allergies.

(B)--The peppers are the sole known cause of Monroe becoming ill during his prior meals at Tip-Top, so swapping out a meatball sandwich for baked chicken but still having Monroe eat the peppers would have produced the same result: Monroe becoming ill.

(C)--This answer choice has the same problem as (A), in that it doesn't account for other possible causes of illness. All we know is that the hot peppers were the only thing causing the illness in the prior meals, not that other causes will not exist in the future.

(D)--Completely false. The time at Tip-Top could have been the first time Monroe ever ate fried shrimp.

(E)--Again, we have no way of knowing this. It could be true, but it could also be false. Monroe may have eaten hot peppers before ever going to Tip-Top, and may or may not have gotten sick afterwards. We just don't know enough about Monroe to conclude this; all we know is that the three times Monroe has eaten at Tip-Top, the hot peppers made him ill.

Hope this clears things up!


I still don't understand. out of the three meals he has eaten, Monroe concludes that it is solely due to the peppers he fell ill. So doesn't that leave open the possibility that if he ate something else, he could become ill?

Also, when the passage says "solely due..." I think of "only due..." which makes hot peppers the necessary condition. Why is this incorrect? How does solely due signify a sufficient condition? Thank you
Adam Tyson
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Good point about "out of the three meals, kcho! Since this is a Most Strongly Supported question, rather than a Must Be True question, the correct answer doesn't absolutely have to be true. Instead, we are looking for the answer that seems most likely to be true based on the facts in the stimulus. Think of the stimulus as supporting, but not necessarily proving, the answer choice.

Answer choice B is supported because if it is true that the hot peppers were the cause, then if he had instead eaten some other dish with hot peppers at the same restaurant and at the same time as when he had eaten the meatball sandwiches, it seems likely that with the same cause present, the same effect would result. Maybe not - maybe they use different hot peppers on the baked chicken than on the meatball sandwiches - but it does seem to have some support.

As to the conditional aspect you see, beware! This argument isn't just "this happens only if that happens" argument, but includes more active language (what I sometimes call the language of blame) in the phrase "solely due to". That is causal language, not conditional, and that takes priority over any conditional analysis we might want to apply. That doesn't mean that hot peppers are necessary (although they are), but rather that they, and nothing else, are the cause of the observed effect. If you were going to analyze this conditionally, then hot peppers and his illness would be in a biconditional relationship, each sufficient for the other. Hot peppers would prove illness, and illness would prove hot peppers, since the peppers will cause the illness and nothing else could. I wouldn't go that route, because I think it's easier to grasp the relationship as a causal one than as a biconditional, but that's how you would need to do it if you were take that approach.

I hope that helps!
Adam M. Tyson
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