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#14 - Eighteenth-century moralist: You should never make an

kan1dice
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Hi,

I got stuck on this one. Can someone please explain to me how E is the correct answer? How is failing to list the benefits of something a flaw? Doesn't the author retain the right to include what they want in their argument? The author is saying, you should never make an effort to acquire new tastes. Why would they mention the benefits, it would go against their argument? I put A, because it seemed like a circular argument to me. Why is A wrong but E right? :-?
AthenaDalton
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Hi Kandice,

Good question! :)

For this moralist's argument to hold up, he needs to say both that acquiring new tastes is expensive and that the expense is unjustified since new tastes are worthless, or not worth enough to justify the expense in acquiring them. The moralist would actually strengthen his point by saying something like "the minimal value of a new taste is grossly outweighed by the huge cost of acquiring it." However, the moralist only discusses cost, and not benefits.

The moralist's failure to consider both the costs and benefits is most clearly seen in the last sentence when he says that 'the very effort spent in acquiring new tastes is evidence of their superfluity.' This begs the question -- superfluous as compared to what? If the effort spent acquiring new tastes is very minimal, why does that prove that the new tastes are not worthwhile? The entire argument discusses the costs of acquiring new tastes, and how those costs are not justified -- but it never makes the point that the new tastes are worthless.

With regards to answer choice (A), this argument isn't quite circular (although it does repeat the same premises in the first and last sentences). Here's what a circular version would look like in the context of this question: Acquiring expensive new tastes is unwise, because new tastes are a type of unwise acquisition.

I hope this makes sense. Good luck studying!
nschlesi
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Hi, is this a weaken question, or flaw in reasoning?
Who Ray
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Hello nschlesi!

This is a flaw in reasoning question! Language like "on the grounds that" often signal that it is a flaw in reasoning question rather than a weaken question. Additionally, once you get to the ACs you will see that they describe the argument (or attempt to) rather than giving new information to undermine the argument.

Cheers!
Who ray
hassan66
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Hi,

I chose E but I don't understand the wording of D. I am not clear on what it would look like to mistake the cause for the effect.

Thank you!!
Adam Tyson
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Answer D is about getting a cause and effect relationship backwards, which usually occurs when an argument presents a correlation and then concludes that one of the correlated things causes the other, while it could be the other way around.

"Whenever I sleep late, my alarm does not go off. It must be that my oversleeping causes my alarm to fail."

Could it be that I have that backwards, and it is the alarm's failure that causes me to oversleep? That's what answer D is describing, hasan66, and since this argument isn't causal and doesn't appear to get anything backwards, that answer gets rejected as a loser.
Adam M. Tyson
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hassan66
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Oh that makes a lot of sense is much less complicated than I had anticipated, thank you Adam!!