to the top

#22 - Helen: It was wrong of my brother Mark to tell our

LSAT Leader
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:37 pm
Points: 2

for this question I had trouble deciding between Two contenders. Could you please check my reasoning for choosing E and eliminating B?

1- saying something wrong that is false can never be other than morally wrong.
2-there has been no such accident, mark had simply forgotten .

Cl: it was wrong for my brother mark to tell our mother that the reason he had missed her birthday party the evening before was that he had been in traffic accident.

A) WRONG: the author doesn't fail to make this distinction. He clearly tells us why it's morally wrong, and what is known to true is irrelevant .

B)WRONG: I had trouble eliminating this .. Because I kind of see the causal reasoning happening, I mean the author assumes that the reason mark didn't make it to his mothers birthday was that he forgot . ( forgot --> missed the bday )
However the only reason I eliminated this was because the author never said this was THE ONLY reason.

C)WRONG: events outside ones control is irrelevant .

D)WRONG: No appeal to emotion is committed in the stimulus.

E)CORRECT: but oh so odd. The only reason I chose this was because all the other ones were terrible. But I fail to see why the author would need to provide support for her principle as it is used in a premise .

Thanks so much
Robert Carroll
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:18 am
Points: 436


You correctly identified that answer choice (B) is incorrect, but there is no assumption that Mark didn't go because he forgot - the author explicitly states as a premise that Mark forgot. This is not an assumption and the author is not leaping past a logical gap in information, because the premise as stated does not give us a reason for thinking there might have been some other cause for not attending the party. While we don't always need to trust the author's premises, in a Flaw in the Reasoning situation, we are in the first Logical Reasoning family, so we don't go beyond the facts as we find them - we identify the problem that already exists within them.

Answer choice (E) is correct because the judgment that it was wrong to make up a story from whole cloth in this situation is relatively straightforward. Trying to support that judgment with a general principle that is itself so absolute and inflexible as to be open to question clouds the issue - if we could establish that lying is always wrong, the argument would work, but there must be much easier ways to make it work. It's as if someone were to say that murder is wrong because it's prohibited by a particular section of the state penal code, and that everything prohibited by the state penal code is always wrong - the particular judgment about murder seems a lot more sound than the general judgment about the match between a particular state's laws and morally unjustified conduct.

Robert Carroll
LSAT Apprentice
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:10 pm
Points: 15

I have a question about E.

In the premise, Helen says "Saying something that is false can never be other than morally wrong"
From this, I saw it as F-> MW

Then I saw answer E, "it is always wrong not to tell the truth"
MW -> F

I was E as a mistaken reversal. Can anyone explain why this is not the case?
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue May 02, 2017 3:54 pm
Points: 292
Location: Chicago, IL

Hi Tony :)

I don't read answer choice (E) as a mistaken reversal.

To paraphrase the author's argument, he said that "It's always wrong to lie, so it was wrong to lie in this particular case."

Answer choice (E) attacks this argument on the grounds that it would be easier to justify lying in this particular case (e.g. to spare hurt feelings) than to justify a total ban on lying, always, for any reason.

I don't see answer choice (E) as making a MW :arrow: F argument. It's more of a criticism of the relative strengths and weaknesses of both positions (is it always wrong to lie? or was it just wrong to lie in this case?).

I hope this makes sense. Good luck studying!

Athena Dalton