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#17 - People cannot devote themselves to the study of

Clay Cooper
PowerScore Staff
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Hi Sarah,

Your diagram is perfect! Don't let the fact that it is a compound sentence fool you; think of that first sentence as two separate conditional rules joined by a conjunction; the first rule ends and the second begins at the "..., and...".

The test-makers do fairly often use compound sentences to lay out more than one rule at once, so now you will know to look for them!

Also, it is a main point question; they are covered in lesson 1, on page 1-16, although this question stem is pretty unusual and so I absolutely understand why you didn't recognize it.

Keep working hard!
LSAT Apprentice
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NOT Leisure -----> NOT Study (contrapositive If study -------> Leisure)

Resources Plentiful <---------> Leisure (not when resources are scare) This statement is a bi-conditional. This means that resources are plentiful if and only if leisure is present.


Discoveries were a result of Studying natural processes.


If study ---------> Leisure , AND because of the bi-conditional, we know that if we had leisure then we had Plentiful Resources

Study------->Leisure <--------->Plentiful Resources
Emily Haney-Caron
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Hi swt2003,

Great work on the first diagram! For the second part of that first sentence, though, it should be diagrammed Leisure :arrow: resources plentiful. If people have leisure, then resources must have been plentiful. However, just because resources are plentiful does not necessarily mean people have leisure - be careful about a mistaken reversal, here! Fortunately, though, that mistaken reversal didn't trip you up, and you made the correct chain. Good work!
LSAT Apprentice
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Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:55 pm
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Dear PowerScore,

I'm a bit confused about Emily's response to swt2003 above, where she corrects swt2003's biconditional diagram.

My confusion arose when I saw that a few years ago, Nikki (also from PowerScore) stated that resources plentiful and leisure were biconditional. I understood and agreed with Nikki's reasoning because the stimulus states both "people have leisure when resources are plentiful" (i.e. resources plentiful :arrow: leisure) and "not [have leisure] when resources are scarce" (i.e. NOT resources plentiful :arrow: NOT leisure). With the latter's contrapositive (i.e. leisure :arrow: resources plentiful) we can create the biconditional: resources plentiful :dbl: leisure.

Is Emily pointing to something that I'm missing here? Hope that made sense.

Thank you.
Brook Miscoski
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There are all kinds of fun going on in the stimulus.

If you read the two clauses completely independently of each other, the first one does tell you that "Resources Plentiful-->Leisure," and the second one does tell you that "Leisure-->Resources Not Scarce" (this difference is important).

That fact makes this stimulus difficult.

It's fair that you felt this was a biconditional, and "if and only if." Indeed, it's very close to one and you would still realize that Agriculture requires Study of Natural Processes and therefore Plentiful Resources whether or not you treat the statement as a biconditional.

The reason Emily treats this as a simple conditional statement is that the stimulus doesn't give you a true biconditional--remember logical opposites versus polar opposites? "Not Scarce" just isn't the same as "Plentiful." That's why it's fair to treat the stimulus as using those two clauses to indicate simply that Leisure depends on having resources.

Avoiding Mistaken Reversals is very important, and you should take Emily's advice and be skeptical before diagramming a biconditional (which, if it's wrong, will include a Mistaken Reversal). Here, the stimulus language was a bit imprecise, and that creates a difficult ambiguity, so if I were you I wouldn't go around doubting myself over whether this is a biconditional.