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#16 - Travaillier Corporation has recently hired employees

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Complete Question Explanation

Weaken—CE. The correct answer choice is (E)

Travaillier Corporation is a company that has traditionally provided services to customers who travel by air, and surveys show that these customers have not changed their travel preferences. Regardless, the company has decided to shift focus to the bus tour industry by hiring employees with relevant experience and negotiating to subcontract with companies in the industry. Based on this information, the author concludes that Travaillier’s efforts must be directed toward new customers to expand their base.

This is a causal argument: the effect is the company’s shift in focus, from primarily air travel to the bus tour industry. The author believes that since Travaillier’s current customers don’t appear to have changed their preferences, the cause must be a desire to pull in new customers:

    Cause ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... Effect

    Desire to expand customer base ..... :arrow: ..... Shift in focus to bus tour industry

This cause-effect stimulus is followed by a weaken question, and the shift in company focus has been established. The author makes an assertion regarding the cause of this shift in focus. The correct answer choice will weaken this causal assertion, possibly by providing the possibility of an alternative cause.

Answer choice (A): This choice does not weaken the author’s argument; if the company has found it difficult to change customer preferences in the past, then that would strengthen the author’s argument that the company must be attempting to attract new customers.

Answer choice (B): Regardless how many other companies have attempted a similar expansion and failed, the author has already provided that Travallier is trying to expand into the bus tour industry—the question is not about whether this is a wise move on the company’s part. The only question concerns whether or not this shift in focus is attributable to a desire to expand the company’s customer base.

Answer choice (C): The fact that there is one employee (or possibly more) that has experience in the air travel industry is not relevant to the author’s causal argument. The company has made it fairly clear that it is looking into the bus tour industry, and the author’s causal conclusion is not about whether Travallier is interested in the bus tour industry, but rather why the company has shifted focus.

Answer choice (D): Other companies’ secrets of success are irrelevant to the author’s causal conclusion, which is limited to the reason for the company’s recent shift in focus.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. The author’s conclusion is that the company must be trying to draw new customers. This choice provides an alternative cause: if the company has been advised to introduce its existing customer base to new forms of travel, this would also explain the company’s recent changes.
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Are causal and conditional argumentation the only two types of reasoning LSAT writers will use if an argument is present?

I had trouble identifying this as a causal argument. Clearly it doesn't contain conditional reasoning though.

Thanks for any help!

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Hi Patrick,

Those are the most common types of reasoning you'll see on the LSAT, but other types will appear as well.

If you're unsure what type of reasoning is being used, it's ok to take a step back and assess the argument as you would in real life. First, isolate the conclusion. Then consider what facts would make the conclusion less likely to be true, from your point of view.

Here, the conclusion is that the company is trying to enlarge its consumer base by attracting new customers (as opposed to selling more items to existing customers). Anything that gives an alternate explanation for Travaillier's expansion into bus touring will weaken that conclusion.

Thanks for your question, and best of luck studying!

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Is it possible for you to explain how about you came to the casual relationship? Even after it's been pointed out, I still don't see it, especially without any causal indicators within the vocabulary of the stimulus
Malila Robinson
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Hi S2KMo,
If you focus on the conclusion (the last sentence) and think of what part it plays in the argument, it may help you to see it as a cause. The argument talks about expanding to bus tours. The conclusion gives a reason why they might want to expand to bus tours. Giving a reason why something is happening is causal. Answer E, the correct answer, gives a different reason why they might want to expand to bus tours. Giving another reason for why something is happening means that you are providing an alternate cause.
Hope that helps!