to the top

#2 - You should not praise an act of apparent generosity

LSAT Master
Posts: 266
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:14 am
Points: 0

For me, answer B and D seemed identical.

I chose B and the correct answer is D.

The principle states that depending on their motives, you should praise, not praise, condemn, and not condemn.

I read answer B and D several times but both of their motives do not rely on selfless motives, and they do not praise.
Robert Carroll
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
Posts: 488
Joined: Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:18 am
Points: 424


Let's make explicit what the principle says:

praise an act of apparent generosity :arrow: believe it is actually performed out of selfless motives

condemn an act of apparent selfishness :arrow: believe it is actually performed out of self-centered motives

Look very carefully at answer choice (B). Since this is a situation where Sarah is not praising Michael, we'll refer to the first conditional above. If Sarah believed Michael's act was not performed out of selfless motives, then she should not praise that act of apparent generosity. Notice here that there are two acts: Michael's giving a tenth of his income to charity, and Michael's telling Sarah about it. Sarah has reason to think his motive for telling her about it is selfish, but we don't have any reason to think that his motive for giving the money in the first place was selfish! The principle in the stimulus tells us only about a connection between the motive of an act and the praise or condemnation of that act. It never says that having a selfish reason for telling someone about an act means that the original act itself should not be praised. This is why answer choice (B) is not identical to answer choice (D), and why it doesn't work.

This was a tricky one! I hope the explanation makes sense.

LSAT Master
Posts: 357
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:11 am
Points: 358

Based on your conditional phrases, would answers (A) and (E) be Mistaken Reversals?
Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
Posts: 2476
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:01 pm
Points: 2,291

Answer A does sort of look like a Mistaken Reversal, in that there is no way based on these statements that we could ever prove that one is right to condemn someone, but only when it is not right to do so. But it isn't really a Mistaken Reversal because the author didn't tell us that the necessary condition had been met. We don;t know what Caroline believed, only what she knew, and we can't really say that Monica's offer was apparently selfish because at least on its face it looked generous.

Same issues with E - we can never prove that it is right to condemn, but this isn't an MR because we don't know that the act was apparently selfish and we don't know if Albert believed that Louis acted out self-centered motives.

A true Mistaken Reversal is where the author says "the necessary condition did, in fact, occur, and therefore the sufficient condition must have also occurred." In neither of these answers does the author tell us that the necessary condition occurred. They are both incorrect because they do not follow either principle, but not because they are MRs.
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at