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#20 - Most people in the United States view neither big

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Complete Question Explanation

Must Be True. The correct answer choice is (E)

The stimulus in this question presents two sets of facts:

..... (1) Most people in the US view small and large businesses as relatively similar in a few regards: neither
..... is particularly efficient or dynamic, although both provide fairly priced goods and services;

..... (2) Most people also hold a slight difference of opinion when it comes to small and large businesses: small
..... businesses are generally seen as a force for good in society, whereas big business is viewed more negatively
..... (socially responsible only when things are going well economically)

This may seem paradoxical at first—"how can someone think a business offers fairly priced goods and services and, at least in the case of large business, still be socially irresponsible (during unprosperous times)?" Or "how can most people see two business types as similar based on their pricing but potentially different in terms of their social impact?"—but it doesn't have to be. All it takes is a definition of "social responsibility" that isn't entirely dependent on prices! If you can see them as separate then it's easy to use other, non-price criteria to judge social responsibility, and that's apparently what some people do (again, for big business anyway).

So when we're asked to prove something from these two truths about people, we need to first be careful not to assume too much or go beyond the premises provided, and second we need to recognize the overlap between the groups and what that must mean about how at least some of them view being socially responsible.

Let's take the answers one at a time and apply that methodology:

(A) We have no idea from the stimulus how much thought people give to the value of business to society. All we're told is that most people have an opinion on it (small business a force for good; big business not always socially responsible)

(B) Not only can we not know what it would take to change the public's perception of big business, but given that the public views small business favorably and small business and big business are seen as similarly efficient, efficiency doesn't seem to be a factor in favorability ratings.

I'd caution you too about being overly flexible with the language in Must Be True answer choices: the second sentence isn't necessarily about how "favorably" small and big businesses are viewed, but only about their respective/perceived social roles (good vs only-occasionally responsible). Don't let these Shell Game type maneuvers trick you! Here of course we can't know if "force for good" or "not socially responsible" are equivalent to "favorable" since "favorable" only appears in answers wrong for other reasons as well, but that potential mismatch would certainly be enough for me to only pick these answers as a last resort.

(C) Like (B), we can't know what it would take to change people's minds! Further, we have no reason to think that small businesses becoming more dynamic (in the public's view) would damage the perception people have of them. (Note too "favorable" again)

(D) Another answer choice that attempts to change the specifics of the premises and then draw a conclusion. You can't do that. There's just no way to know what people would think under circumstances entirely different than those provided, so when we see answers like (B), (C), and (D) introduce alternative scenarios and then make absolute predictions we've left the realm of what can be known for sure.

Specifically for (D) if people felt differently about big business and the value they provide (again, "value" isn't necessarily the same as "fairly priced goods and services" so this is more Shell Game trickery), then we're immediately talking about things that are, well, different than what we're told. Meaning we can't know the applicability of anything else we've been told, because it exists in a world other than the one now described in (D). That's an immediate disqualifier for a Must Be True answer.

(E) This is the correct answer, and it follows closely from the prephrase mentioned above: people clearly use criteria other than just efficiency or the fairness of pricing when measuring a business's social goodness. How do we know? Because most people view small and large business as the same in the first regard (efficiency and pricing), and yet view them at times quite differently in the second regard (social responsibility). For people to arrive at different judgments about the two business types they must have something else, something that extends beyond, just providing fairly priced goods and services. And that's what (E) gives us.


Primarily though I see this as an exercise in elimination, where the four wrong answers are definitively incorrect for the reasons given here, and can be confidently removed as such. This is my expectation for the majority (perhaps entirety) of LR questions this late in the section, where correct answers are typically well-disguised or complexly-worded and thus elusive at times...but wrong answers are still wrong for consistent, recognizable reasons and can be thrown out quickly if you're looking for them!
Daniemar001
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Hello,

My name is Marissa Daniels and I am studying for the LSAT

I am studying for the LSAT by using the Powerscore LSAT Logical Reasoning Question Type Training Workbook Volume 1 and I had a few questions. The first one is for a Must Be True Question. I had a question about question #5. The correct answer choice is E but I was thinking that E would be the correct one. Can someone please explain this answer choice to me please? Thank you!
Stephanie Turaj
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Daniemar001 wrote:Hello,

My name is Marissa Daniels and I am studying for the LSAT

I am studying for the LSAT by using the Powerscore LSAT Logical Reasoning Question Type Training Workbook Volume 1 and I had a few questions. The first one is for a Must Be True Question. I had a question about question #5. The correct answer choice is E but I was thinking that E would be the correct one. Can someone please explain this answer choice to me please? Thank you!

Hi Marissa!

Thanks for the question! For clarity, I believe that you are referring to the question that begins with "Most people in the United States view neither big..." I have moved your post into the thread discussing this question. Please let us know if the above explanations do not help, or if you were actually referring to a different question. :)

Thanks!
lathlee
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Hi. according to you guys' explanation, isn't this more of Method of reasoning Question type? (I know MT and Method of reasoning all belongs to same family category, so doesn't matter that much)
Adam Tyson
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Nope, it is a straight up Must Be True (but the slightly weaker variant, a Most Strongly Supported, which is basically the same thing). A Method of Reasoning question doesn't ask you to make an inference, but just to describe HOW the argument was made.
Adam M. Tyson
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whardy21
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I chose D. I guess I somewhat still somewhat hung up on the fact that you say value is not the same as fairly priced goods and services. I'm having trouble coming to that conclusion. Also, if I'm using the fact test, I don't see in my opinion, any facts that would lead me to think people regard social responsibility extending beyond the fairly priced goods and services. From my analysis, I can infer that even if people didn't regard big business as providing value for their money, which it states they weren't efficient at providing the goods and services, it can be regarded as socially response in times of general prosperity, which is stated in the last sentence of the paragraph. I'm confused on this one.
Adam Tyson
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The key to selecting answer D, whardy21, is in the last sentence of the stimulus:

big business is perceived as socially responsible only in times of prosperity


This means that when we are NOT in times of prosperity, big business is NOT perceived as socially responsible, EVEN THOUGH we know from the first sentence that most people regard them as providing fairly priced goods and services. So, when times are bad, those fairly priced goods and services are NOT sufficient for the public to see big businesses as socially responsible. We want more than that! That's what answer E is saying - many people think those big businesses need to step it up and do more than just provide fair prices.

As the administrator explanation says about answer D, we have no evidence for what people would think, or perceive, if things were different. If something were to change, then all bets are off. Maybe they would be perceived as being socially responsible, maybe not. We cannot use facts about what IS the case to prove something about what would be the case under different circumstances, unless we know that the current set of circumstances is the ONLY case where something happens. That's all very abstract, I know, so to be specific about this stimulus, if big businesses did NOT provide value for your money (if that is even what fairly priced goods and services means), maybe we would NOT perceive them as socially responsible in times of prosperity? Maybe if that were true we would view them as evil and greedy and harmful to our general well-being? That's why we cannot pick answer D - there are other possibilities under the circumstances described, so this answer does not describe something that must be true or that is even slightly supported. It's pure conjecture, not based on the facts.

One last thing about your analysis, and that is to point out that you stated, correctly, that big business "can be regarded" as being socially responsible. But we don't want something that CAN be true - we want something that seems almost certain to be true! "Most strongly supported" is a higher standard than "it's possible." If "can" is the standard, then every one of these answers is possible and should be a credited response! We want an answer that is more than just possible. We want one that is strongly supported, maybe even required, by the facts in the stimulus.

Take another look and see if answer E makes sense to you now, and keep up the good work!
Adam M. Tyson
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