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#22 - The 1980s have been characterized as a period of

Luke Haqq
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Hi Etsevdos,

As this one begins, "The 1980s have been characterized as a period of selfish individualism that threatens the cohesion of society. But this characterization is true of any time."

It seems to me that there's a conclusion but it's implicit, because the rest goes on to expand the "But this characterization is true of any time" claim. In other words, the implicit conclusion seems to be that the way the 1980s has been characterized is inaccurate. In the first sentence a claim is made, and the rest from "But this characterization..." onwards calls that claim into question. Since that's the conclusion this one is driving at, to answer your question, answer (A) is not a restatement of the conclusion.

Hope that helps!
LSAT Master
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Hello! I also picked answer choice A. The reason I did is because, in my head, I thought, "So what if humans have always been selfish in the history of mankind. It doesn't change the fact that the 80s was a selfish period."

I made an analogy in my head when answering this question. For example, let's say that I am arguing that Sara from my class is a selfish person. However, someone else attacks my argument by saying that everyone in the class is selfish. I would then make the retort that, whether or not everyone is selfish, I am only making the argument that Sara is selfish and this argument doesn't change, whether the entire group is or is not selfish.

Where did my thinking go wrong (above). I hope you can help! Thanks!
LSAT Apprentice
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Hello. I have the same question as Blueballoon5% above. Could someone please clarify why that claim in (A) must actually be relevant to this argument if it is still true that the 1980s were a period of selfish individualism, regardless of whether its been a trend throughout history?

Thanks in advance.
Jon Denning
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Hi nmgee (and others)!

I had a student email me with a follow up question on this problem about answer choice (A), and since I feel like my reply might help further clarify any confusion other readers may have I'm going to post that question and my response below.

Student question:

"For question #10, I understand why E is the correct answer, but I don't understand why A is wrong. I picked A, because I thought, "So what if humans have always been selfish in the history of mankind. It doesn't change the fact that the 80s was a selfish period." Can you please explain why E is a better answer choice than A?"

My answer:

"I can see why A got you based on your reading of it! However A is saying something slightly different than your interpretation, I’d wager: what A actually describes is a case where an author presents information/details that are truly inapplicable to the argument itself, where the facts given can be said to be legitimately beside the point. But in this argument the notion of selfishness is the entire point, so historical selfishness is potentially quite relevant to the author’s case. A genuinely irrelevant detail would be something like “but prior to the 80s people wore less spandex” (or whatever)...that has zero impact on the idea of whether or not that decade was a uniquely selfish period to the point that our social fabric was at risk.

Typically the way to spot irrelevant details isn’t based on whether you find them convincing, but rather whether they touch on the same subject matter as the conclusion presents. If so, then it’s hard to call them irrelevant. Unpersuasive perhaps, but at least on topic.

The real flaw in this question is the distinction between “selfish individualism” in the first sentence (something that threatens the cohesion of society, apparently) and the idea of “selfish” self-interest as a motivator in the rest of the stimulus. That changes the nature of the discussion in a fundamental way, moving it from one idea to another."

I hope that helps!
Jon Denning
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