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#11 - Conservative: Socialists begin their arguments with

reop6780
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This is "point at issue" problem I believe though I thought it was "evaluation" problem when I was solving it.

Even though they must be very different in nature in that "point at issue" belongs to first family while "evaluation" is mixture of strengthen and weaken (2nd family), the way they are presented in the question with two opposing views make me really confused.

Is "point at issue" going to include word such as "issue" or "disagree"? (while the rest of them are "evaluation"?)

About the stimuli for this question, conclusion was not very clear to identify.

As far as I understand, the conservative asserts that analysis of history is not possible, and it cannot be true that socialists derive certain trends from history; meanwhile, socialists insist that analysis of history is possible, and hence the outcome of history is not inevitable.

My first pick was answer A.

However, it is a mixture of two opposing views.

My second pick was answer D.

I thought it passes agree/disagree test; conservative disagree (inevitable) vs socialists agree (not inevitable)

However, it is not necessarily conservatives saying history is inevitable since it is claimed by socialists. Then, socialists imply that history is NOT inevitable in the first sentence.
***(I'm extremely confused of their views)

About E which is the correct answer, the same confusion I had continued with the latter half part of "support the view that socialism is inevitable."

about "analyze history" the conservatives disagree while the socialists agree.

However, about history being "inevitable," isn't the socialist implying that history is not inevitable?
(Why would they work so hard to transform..?)

I thought E was wrong with the same reason with answer A getting half right half wrong, but apparently E is the correct answer.

Somebody saves me from this swamp of confusion.... :cry:
Robert Carroll
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reop,

You're right, this is a Point at Issue question. Basically it's asking "What do these people disagree about?" It's helpful to know what type it is so you can employ the right strategy (here, the Agree/Disagree Test). Evaluate the Argument is different because in such a question, you need to consider a piece of information that would allow you to tell who's right and who's wrong. In a Point at Issue question, though, you're not going to make a judgment - you just need to see what the two people disagree about.

Because Point at Issue is in the Prove Family (1st Family), the question has to be phrased so that you can't add new information. In order to know what these two people disagree about, I refer only to what they said.

On the other hand, Evaluate the Argument, because it mixes the Help (2nd) and Hurt (3rd) Families, asks for new information that would help you tell whether the argument is good or bad. If the argument is already bad (or already good), then I don't need new information!

Keep in mind that while Point at Issue stimuli always have two opposing views, Evaluate stimuli don't need to have two views. I know that, previously, I answered a question of yours that was an Evaluate question and did have two different people in the stimulus, but that's not necessary. In order to tell what the question is, look for whether new information is required (if so, it can't be the 1st Family!).

Moving on to this specific stimulus, let's look carefully at what each side is saying. The conservative is saying that socialists analyze history, and that they do so for a reason. That reason is that socialists purport to derive an inevitable trend toward socialism in history. As you said, the conservative believes this analysis will never work, because one can't discover future trends from an analysis of history.

The socialist disagrees with the conservative about one thing. Remember that the conservative accused the socialist of believing that history is inevitable. The socialist says that's not true, because socialists work to achieve a certain goal, which would be pointless if it were inevitable. So the conservative is wrong about what the socialist believed. However, the conservative was right that socialists analyze history. They do so, according to the socialist, not to discover inevitable trends, but to understand the institutions that their work is trying to change.

So, in short, the two agree that socialists analyze history, but they disagree about the reason why socialists analyze history. Since this is a Point at Issue question, the disagreement is where we should focus. Let's employ the Agree/Disagree Test on the answer choices in the order you discussed them.

Answer choice (A): The conservative never says that socialism is inevitable, so we don't know his opinion. The socialist disagrees. So we have an unknown opinion and a disagree. This cannot be correct.

Answer choice (D): The conservative says that "history occurs through accident, contingency, and individual struggle." The last part there indicates the conservative would agree with this answer. The socialist also thinks that socialists can change the world, so the socialist would agree with this answer as well. So both agree, and this cannot be the Point at Issue.

I think the confusion that you had over this answer choice was rooted in the fact that the conservative is saying, essentially, "you think history is inevitable," instead of "I think history is inevitable." The socialist, by saying that socialists work to create change, is giving his own opinion, but the conservative is not - the conservative is merely giving what he thinks is the socialist's opinion.

Answer choice (E): Here is what the two disagree about. The conservative claims that socialists analyze history in order to find an inevitable trend toward socialism; the socialist counters that if socialists believed history were inevitable, they wouldn't try to change anything, so they obviously think their actions have an effect and history is not inevitable. So the socialist reason for analyzing history is NOT its inevitability. Phrased more simply, the conservative says "This is why you analyze history" and the socialist says "We do analyze history, but for a different reason." So their disagreement is about why socialists do a certain thing, analyzing history. The disagreement is NOT about whether history is inevitable.

If this is still confusing, let me know!

Robert
chiickenx
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I have a logical question. The socialist says "but to transform them [capitalist society], we must first understand them, and we can only understand them by an analysis of their history." The word "only," as the LR bibles claim, is a necessary condition indicator. However, here, it seems like it is not a necessary condition; but rather, it seems like it is a sufficient condition here. Can you please clarify when the word "only" is a sufficient condition and when it is a necessary condition? To further elaborate, consider the following diagrams of the sentence:

(i) Transform capitalist society --> understand capitalist society --> historical analysis
(ii)Transform capitalist society --> understand capitalist society
Historical analysis --> understand capitalist society

Which of the two diagrams are correct? It seems to me that (i) makes perfect sense; meanwhile, (ii) seems to make absolutely no sense. In the case that (ii) is the correct diagram, can you please further elaborate on the logic, and perhaps semantics? Thanks in advance!
KelseyWoods
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Hi Chiicken!

A great conditional reasoning question!

You are correct that "only" is a necessary indicator term. You are also correct that your (i) diagram is the correct way to diagram the conditional reasoning present in this stimulus. Does that mean that the term "only" can sometimes function as a sufficient indicator? Not exactly.

The key with indicator terms is that you have to look at the condition they are modifying. This is often the condition immediately following that term, but not always.

A common construction that we might see on the LSAT is something like "The only way to do A is to do B." Here, only precedes A, but it's technically modifying "way" and the "way" being referred to is B. So if would be diagrammed as A :arrow: B. B is the only way to do A, so B is necessary for A.

A less abstract example: "The only way to reach the roof of the building is to take the elevator." Here, what's necessary? Taking the elevator. Only again modifies "way" and the "way" being referred to is taking the elevator.

The stimulus in this question doesn't use the exact phrase "only way" but it functions in much the same way. "We can only understand them by an analysis of their history" is basically telling us that the only way to understand them is by an analysis of their history. If you can only do something by doing something else, the something else is the thing that becomes necessary. So the "only" term here is really modifying "analysis of their history, and thus it is the necessary condition.

Basically, when you see a conditional phrase with the word "only" ask yourself, what is the "only" thing? What is "only" really modifying? That should help you determine the necessary condition.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Kelsey