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#25 - Farmer: In the long run, it is counterproductive for

Nina
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Q25:
Does the argument in the stimulus contains only one conclusion? i thought "farmers have to use greater and greater amounts of costly insecticides to control insect pests" may be the intermediary conclusion... :oops:

Many thanks!
Nikki Siclunov
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You are absolutely correct. The statement, "Farmers have to use greater and greater amounts of costly insecticides to control insect pests" is a subsidiary conclusion: it is supported by the description of how insects react to insecticide use, but it also provides the basis for the observation that using insecticides is counterproductive (i.e. the main conclusion). This is why answer choice (B) is correct. Did you select another answer choice by mistake?
Nikki Siclunov
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Nina
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hey Nikki,

Thank you very much for your response! I eliminated B because it mentions "the argument's "only conclusion" instead of "main conclusion", which for me implies a denying that the argument actually contains two conclusions. Or, if i'm not misunderstanding, every argument can contain only one conclusion (the main conclusion) even if it contains several intermediary conclusions (because they actually serve as premises)?

Thanks again!
Steve Stein
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This is a really tough one! Technically, the fact that the farmers need an increasing amount of pesticide is not a subsidiary conclusion, because it is not a causal claim being made by the author; it is a causal relationship that is stated as fact.

In response to your conclusion question, while every argument can have only one main conclusion, LSAT arguments can certainly include subsidiary or secondary conclusions as well.

I hope that's helpful! Let me know--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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Nina
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Hey Steve,

Thank you for your precise explanation. Great help for me!
and i just have a quick question: suppose, that the sentence"farmers..." were a subsidiary conclusion, will it still be correct for answer B to state "the argument's only conclusion"?

Thanks again! ;)
Steve Stein
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Hey Nina,

If there had been a subsidiary conclusion in the argument, the right answer choice might refer to the argument's main conclusion, or ultimate conclusion, but would not reference "the argument's only conclusion." The test makers specifically mention subsidiary conclusions in some of this question's incorrect answer choices--clever traps in an extremely difficult question.

I hope that's helpful--let me know whether everything is clear--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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Nina
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Hey Steve,

Yeah, everything is clear :)
Thank you very much!
TOgren2424
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How are we able to differentiate statements that the author is making and affirms vs. statements that are to be assumed as facts?
TOgren2424
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I can get to the right answer of this one by the process of elimination, but I guess i am confused on how to know what is a statement that is attributed to the author vs. what is supposed to be assumed as fact. I answered it the following way:
Argument Conclusion: In the long run it is counterproductive for farmer’s to use insecticides.
Why?
Premise: Because insects’ resistance to insecticides increases with insecticide use, farmers have to use greater and greater amounts of costly insecticides to control insect pests.
The question asks us to identify the role of “farmers have to use greater and greater amounts of costly insecticides to control insect pests. At its most basic, this is a premise that is used to support the arguments main conclusion. Now onto the answers:
A and C are both wrong. It is not the arguments main conclusion
E is wrong because the author’s conclusion is not causal
D. If anything, this is the author’s intermediate conclusion not a claim used in support of it.
B. This leaves us with this answer, but the “only conclusion” language confused me as well.
On another note, these forums are fantastic! You all do great work!
Luke Haqq
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Hi TOgren2424!

Glad you find the forum helpful!

On this question, the part we're dealing with is "the proposition that farmers have to use greater and greater amounts of costly insecticides," and answer (B) states: "It is a claim for which a causal explanation is provided and which itself is used as direct support for the argument’s only conclusion."

The first half of answer (B) is right because the "causal explanation" provided for that statement is the part that you identify as the premise--they have to use more because insects develop resistance.

The part about the argument's "only conclusion" is to signal that answer choice (B) is claiming that the stimulus is not a compound argument with both a subsidiary and a main conclusion. As you rightly diagram, there's just one conclusion ("In the long run it is counterproductive for farmer’s to use insecticides."). And the part about farmers using more and more pesticide functions as a "direct support" for that conclusion--the fact that the insects develop resistance is what makes it counterproductive.

Hope that helps!