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#22 - Since anyone who makes an agreement has an obligation

moshei24
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I got this question right, but it was because I saw the mix-up in SN, so I chose the one that had it in there, but I'm not really sure what (D) is saying. Would you be able to break down the stimulus and the answer for me to see how they work together? Also, what's the best way of approaching a question like this? Should I have diagrammed the stimulus?

Thank you!
Nikki Siclunov
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The most efficient way to approach a Flaw question is to prephrase the flaw. By far. Due to the relatively abstract and convoluted language used in the stimulus, we need to diagram the conditional reasoning in it:

Premise: Agreement to perform :arrow: Obligation to perform
Sub-Conclusion: Obligation to perform :arrow: Agreement to perform
Conclusion: Legal obligation = Agreement to perform

There are two reasoning flaws here: first, the sub-conclusion makes a Mistaken Reversal; and second, the main conclusion assumes that any obligation is a legal obligation. Even if you only spotted the Mistaken Reversal, answer choice (D) would have been proven correct.
Nikki Siclunov
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Nina
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Does the argument in the stimulus contain a Mistaken Reversal?

the first sentence:
"anyone who makes an agreement has an obligation to fulfill the terms of that agreement" can be diagramed as:

A= makes an agreement
OFA= has an obligation to fulfill the agreement

A :arrow: OFA

then, "it follows that anyone who is obligated to perform an action has agreed to perform that action":
OP= obligated to perform
AP= has agreed to perform

OP :arrow: AP

This is already an Mistaken Reversal.

and in the conclusion: "one has a legal obligation to perform...is the same as saying that one is required to fulfill one's agreement to perform" also can be diagrammed as"
LOP=has a legal obligation to perform
AP=has agreed to perform (and thus is required to fulfill one's agreement to perform)
LOP :arrow: AP

So, basically it is a Mistaken Reversal, besides the wording error of "legal".
Is this a correct diagramming?

Many thanks!
Steve Stein
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Hey Nina,

You got it! The author has made a mistaken reversal, as described in the first part of answer choice D, and has presumed all obligations to be legal obligations.

One important side note: if you happen to notice a conditional reasoning error followed by a flaw question, you should look for the choices that describe conditional reasoning--with words such as "sufficient" and "necessary" for example.


I hope that's helpful!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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Nina
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Hey Steve,

Thank you for your tip :)
moshei24
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In this type of question or a similar one to it, if I noticed the mistaken reversal, can I just go on and choose the answer that talks about a conditional flaw (if only one answer choice does talk about conditional flaws), and assume that answer is correct, even without diagramming or breaking down the convoluted language? If there's two choice with conditional flaws then I could cancel out the rest, and see which one matches the best, correct?

Thank you!
jrc3813
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I'm having trouble seeing how the second part of D is correct, and I think it's because I'm not seeing how the conclusion of the argument is supposed to follow, flawed or otherwise.

I understand that it makes a mistaken reversal in the intermediate conclusion, but even if we accept that flawed logic I don't understand what the conclusion is based on.

Any help is appreciated
James Finch
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Hi JRC,

By "the second part of (D)," do you mean "[the stimulus] takes for granted that any obligation to perform and action is a legal obligation?" If so, this refers to the conflation the last sentence in the stimulus makes between legal obligations and obligations created by agreements made by an individual, as justified by its mistaken reversal of the conditionality in the first sentence.

Diagrammed out, (D) is saying:

Agreement :arrow: Obligation

But

Obligation :arrow: Agreement

is a Mistaken Reversal, so one cannot say that all obligations are a result of an agreement, with the example given of legal obligations. Thinking of real world examples, a court order for restitution, damages, spousal support, child support, etc., may not be agreed to by the defendant, but an obligation is nonetheless created by a court. Likewise, one may never agree to pay income taxes, but are still required by law to do so.

Hope this clears things up!
jrc3813
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James Finch wrote:Hi JRC,

By "the second part of (D)," do you mean "[the stimulus] takes for granted that any obligation to perform and action is a legal obligation?" If so, this refers to the conflation the last sentence in the stimulus makes between legal obligations and obligations created by agreements made by an individual, as justified by its mistaken reversal of the conditionality in the first sentence.

Diagrammed out, (D) is saying:

Agreement :arrow: Obligation

But

Obligation :arrow: Agreement

is a Mistaken Reversal, so one cannot say that all obligations are a result of an agreement, with the example given of legal obligations. Thinking of real world examples, a court order for restitution, damages, spousal support, child support, etc., may not be agreed to by the defendant, but an obligation is nonetheless created by a court. Likewise, one may never agree to pay income taxes, but are still required by law to do so.

Hope this clears things up!


I'm just not seeing the conflation between legal obligations and obligations in general. The way I read it we have:

Legal obligation :arrow: obligation :arrow: agreement. The obligation to agreement reversal aside, isn't it correct to say that a legal obligation is an obligation. I'm not seeing how it says the opposite which would be obligation :arrow: legal obligation. Is it because it says "the same as" which implies a biconditional relationship?
Claire Horan
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Hi JRC3813,

Yes, that's a nice way of putting it. Saying that a legal obligation is the same as an obligation means that a legal obligation is an obligation and an obligation is a legal obligation.

You wouldn't say a square "is the same as" a rectangle because even though you can say a square is a rectangle, you can't say a rectangle is a square.

Thanks for the question!

Claire