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#11 - By examining the fossilized leaves of any prehistoric

LSAT2018
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I understand why the answer (B) is correct, but would like to clarify the phrase used in the stimulus. The author states that 'the climate at a given location depends on the altitude at that location' but we know that altitude is one of the determinants of climate, hence the answer.

But with the phrase 'depend on' I noticed that this could be used in conditional reasoning statements, where the phrase would be accompanied by the necessary part. So how does this differ from the phrase used above?
Adam Tyson
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"Depends on" or "depend on" is not a typical conditional indicator, LSAT_2018, in part because it indicates some degree of variability. "Your grade depends on how much you study" means that your grade will vary in relation to the amount of studying you do. There's no fixed sufficient condition here - we wouldn't paraphrase that as "if you get a grade, you studied" because that is not what that statement meant.

As with that example, we can reject a conditional reasoning approach to this question because there is no sufficient condition that determines a particular necessary condition. If you were to try, you would have "if there is a climate, there is an altitude", but that's obviously not what that statement means. Like my example, it means as one thing changes, the other changes with it, or that the second thing influences the first.

If you don't see a clear "if...then" relationship, and you cannot paraphrase the argument using "if...then" without changing the meaning of the original statement, then it is not a conditional claim and shouldn't be analyzed in that way. Don't force things into conditional structures, but use them only when they come naturally, either because of the presence of indicator words or because something about the structure seems clearly conditional even in the absence of those words.
Adam M. Tyson
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