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Flawed Assumption question type and the flow of information

LSAT Novice
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:05 pm
Points: 1

While reading the 2016 LRB's chapter on the Assumption question type, I encountered some confusion over the assignment of the Flawed Assumption to the "Second Family Information Model."

Firstly, to me, it's clear why (Necessary) Assumptions or Sufficient Assumptions belong to the "Second Family" category, because the correct answer is accepted as true and used to support the argument in some way. However, I wonder if the flow of information in a Flawed Assumption question is actually reversed, that is, more in line with the "First Family Information Model," (where the stimulus is accepted and the answer choices are under suspicion) given that the correct answer for a Flawed Assumption question is supported directly by the information contained within the stimulus?

Similarly, could a Flawed Assumption question just be treated as a Flaw in the Reasoning question instead?

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

Hi, Carleton,

Thanks for the good question and welcome to our forums! Good observations.

In a sense, the credited response in all Assumption questions is supported by the stimulus in that the absent but necessary precondition for the conclusion's validity is implicit within the reasoning in the stimulus. However, because of the effect the credited response will have on the argument in the stimulus—the correct answer helps the conclusion—Assumption questions and "Flawed Assumption" questions do belong in the Second Family. You can observe this point by disregarding the phrase "takes for granted that..." and considering the statement in the credited response by itself. Note that the statement in the correct answer for a "Flawed Assumption" question will always in some way support the conclusion, whether as a supporter or as a defender.

However, it is a credit to your reasoning skills that you note how closely connected Assumption questions are to the reasoning in the stimulus. Because Assumptions articulate a necessary belief of an argument's author, one often is able to make a reasonably strong prephrase.

Nonetheless, you have likely observed that multiple possible assumptions can be present in any given argument (including "Flawed Assumption" arguments), so you likely will not always definitively be able to predict the verbatim statement present in the credited response.

Fascinating discussion. Keep up the good work, and please follow up here or post elsewhere in the forum with further questions.