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#16 - To act responsibly in one’s professional capacity, one

SLF
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Please help with this Logical Reasoning question:

[Question content removed by Admin. LSAC rules unfortunately do not allow the posting of the text of complete LSAT questions. Thanks!]


I selected B...because in my mind, B seemed to match logically. But, the answer key tells me that C is the correct answer.

So, why is B wrong...and why is C correct?
Ron Gore
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Hi SLF,

Thanks for your question. This is a Must Be True - Principle question, in which the correct answer choice will contain a scenario in which it can be proven that the principle provided in the stimulus is applied.

The principle in this stimulus was the rule:

Sufficient ..... :arrow: ..... Necessary

act responsibly in ..... ..... act on information one has made a reasonable
professional capacity ..... ..... effort to make sure is accurate and complete


Answer choice (B) is incorrect because it is not clear that the necessary condition has been satisfied. While Mary examined the details of John's work record, the other evidence is that she listened to "negative reports" from "some" of his supervisors and coworkers. Perhaps there are only negative reports to hear, and perhaps there were no more people to whom she should have spoken. However, since this is a Must Be True question, the correct answer choice needs to be provably true based on the stimulus.

Answer choice (C) is correct because the statement is provably true. Since she made the investment without investigating the risks associated with the investment, the necessary condition of the rule above was not satisfied. This evidence triggers the contrapositive, which by application of the principle proves she did not act responsibly in her professional capacity.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Ron
SLF
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Thanks for your speedy and well-explained reply Ron.

These kinds of questions are just insanely ridiculous!

If you will be so kind, allow me to articulate my thought patterns, and then I would appreciate your feedback/response, so that I can reorient my brain in such a way that I can get these questions answered correctly.

When I was first answering this question, and as I was contrasting the stimulus and answer choices, the key text that stood out to me was "reasonable effort" to find out what was "accurate and complete".

It seems to me that examining the details of John's work record...and listening to the reports of some of the people who have supervised him and who have worked with him...and who would therefore have first-hand knowledge of his performance...seems to me to be a reasonable effort to responsibly find out the truth of the matter and then act accordingly.

Apparently, in the LSAC's view of the world, "reasonable" means that Mary would hunt down and interrogate every single person who has EVER supervised or worked with John? To me that seems extreme rather than reasonable.

And, I did notice the word "negative" in the answer choice...but by the way it was worded, it did NOT sound like Mary was ONLY seeking negatively-biased supervisors or coworkers. In no way did it sound like Mary was biased against John. Rather, it sounds like she went to talk to some of his supervisors and coworkers to get their "take" on the situation...to confirm what she had found in his work records...and it just so happened that they all had negative reports to give.

Moreover, as I was evaluating the various answer choices, I rejected the 3 "did not act responsibly" answer choices because the stimulus was about acting responsibly...and the question stem asked specifically for an answer choice that most closely conformed to the principle of acting responsibly by acting on information that has been reasonably ensured to be accurate and complete.

So in the real world, when a person asks for something that conforms, they are NOT asking for something that does NOT conform. In the real world, when a person asks if someone has acted responsibly, they are NOT asking for an example of someone who has NOT acted responsibly.

Perhaps I am too real-world...and perhaps I should just accept that LSAC uses questionable questions like this to put all but a certain mentally-wired kind of person into a predetermined score range.

Any thoughts or comments on my thought patterns in processing this question?
Ron Gore
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I'm happy to talk through this a bit more, SLF. I'll quote your thoughts, and then give my thoughts as well.

SLF wrote:When I was first answering this question, and as I was contrasting the stimulus and answer choices, the key text that stood out to me was "reasonable effort" to find out what was "accurate and complete".


I agree, as to the necessary condition, that the critical language is "reasonable effort," and "accurate and complete."

SLF wrote:It seems to me that examining the details of John's work record...and listening to the reports of some of the people who have supervised him and who have worked with him...and who would therefore have first-hand knowledge of his performance...seems to me to be a reasonable effort to responsibly find out the truth of the matter and then act accordingly.

Apparently, in the LSAC's view of the world, "reasonable" means that Mary would hunt down and interrogate every single person who has EVER supervised or worked with John? To me that seems extreme rather than reasonable.

And, I did notice the word "negative" in the answer choice...but by the way it was worded, it did NOT sound like Mary was ONLY seeking negatively-biased supervisors or coworkers. In no way did it sound like Mary was biased against John. Rather, it sounds like she went to talk to some of his supervisors and coworkers to get their "take" on the situation...to confirm what she had found in his work records...and it just so happened that they all had negative reports to give.


Most importantly, let me make clear that even if Mary did absolutely everything reasonable to ensure her information was both accurate and complete, we would still only have the NECESSARY condition for her having acted responsibly. In looking at my prior response, I realize that I focused on how the language did not even satisfy the necessary condition, and did not talk about the fact that satisfying the necessary condition would not prove the sufficient condition was satisfied.

Certainly, "examining the details of his work record" appears to be thorough. However, while Mary may have made both a thorough and complete effort when she "listened to negative reports from some of his supervisors and coworkers," we don't know that for sure. She did not ask any questions, but only listened. We don't know how many coworkers and supervisors she spoke with, how many John has, or how she selected those individuals from among all of John's coworkers and supervisors. We don't know whether there were other people, neither a coworker nor a supervisor, with whom she should have spoken - not with whom she could have spoken, but with whom she should have spoken. Because we have so little information, it is hard to say that what she did satisfies even the necessary condition.

The question does not imply that Mary must have tracked down everyone for her effort to be reasonable. However, the test requires that WE know, definitively, from only the information in the stimulus that her efforts were reasonable. And, as I mentioned above, even then she would have done only what is necessary to have acted responsibly, which would not prove to us that she had acted responsibly.

As an example, consider the conditional relationship: If you are admitted into Harvard Law, then you must have taken the LSAT. In this relationship, taking the LSAT is necessary, just as acting "on the basis of information that one has made a reasonable effort to make sure is accurate and complete" is necessary in the stimulus. However, just because a person has taken the LSAT doesn't prove that a person is admitted to Harvard Law. Here, Mary having made a reasonable effort to make sure the information is accurate and complete does not prove she has acted responsibly.

SLF wrote:Moreover, as I was evaluating the various answer choices, I rejected the 3 "did not act responsibly" answer choices because the stimulus was about acting responsibly...and the question stem asked specifically for an answer choice that most closely conformed to the principle of acting responsibly by acting on information that has been reasonably ensured to be accurate and complete.

So in the real world, when a person asks for something that conforms, they are NOT asking for something that does NOT conform. In the real world, when a person asks if someone has acted responsibly, they are NOT asking for an example of someone who has NOT acted responsibly.


There are three key thing to understand to get this question correct, and they are absolutely fundamental to success on the LSAT:

1) the task in a Must Be True question is to select the answer choice containing information that is either a restatement of the facts (in this case a rule) in the stimulus, or is an inference permissible from a combination of that information. Here, because it is a Principle question, we are looking for the rule to be applied.

2) in a conditional relationship, if the necessary condition is not satisfied, then the contrapositive of the relationship must be the case.

3) when you have a Must Be True question that contains a conditional relationship, then the most likely prephrase for the correct answer choice is that it will test you on the contrapositive of the conditional relationship in the stimulus.

The contrapositive of the conditional rule in the stimulus is that if Mary did not act on information concerning which she had made a reasonable effort to ensure it accurate and complete, then she did not act responsibly. This contrapositive is logically identical to the original statement, and is inherently contained within it. If the original statement is true, then this contrapositive must be true as well. This isn't the case just on the LSAT, but in any endeavor that applies conditional reasoning.

Answer choice (C), which concludes she did not act responsibly, is the application of the contrapositive of the conditional rule in the stimulus. This is a classic correct answer choice in a Must Be True question in which the stimulus contains conditional reasoning.

Please let me know if this helps.

Ron
SLF
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Thanks so much Ron for your thoughtful and awesome response. Your feedback is very helpful. I deeply appreciate it.
Ron Gore
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You're very welcome! :-D