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#5 - The frequently expressed view that written

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Complete Question Explanation

Must Be True-SN. The correct answer choice is (B)

Answer choice (A): Since a constitution becomes liberal or otherwise ONLY WHEN it is interpreted and applied in a liberal fashion, a careful analysis of written text is definitely not sufficient to show whether or not a constitution is liberal, and this choice is wrong. If you eliminated this choice because the stimulus did not discuss what proves that a constitution is not liberal, you got away with one. The second and third sentences establish that a constitution has no nature until it is interpreted and applied. Those conditions remain necessary for any interpretation, not merely the one mentioned in the last sentence.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice
, and is exactly what the stimulus is driving at in the last sentence. It is necessary that we observe both interpretation and application before we can tell that a written constitution is liberal, so analysis is not enough.

Answer choice (C): The stimulus never suggested that written or unwritten constitutions were better, and no comparison between them could be justified by the stimulus, so this choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (D): There is no information in the stimulus that leads to this conclusion, and this choice is incorrect. You should not assume that unwritten constitutions require less interpretation, or are more likely to be liberal, when the stimulus has not given you any information about such constitutions.

Answer choice (E): Since a constitution is liberal only after actual interpretation and application, mere possibility does not make a constitution liberal, and this choice is wrong. Also, this choice could be contradictory to the main point of the stimulus. If this choice were true, certain constitutions might be inherently more liberal than others.
ellenb
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Dear Powerscore,

I want to make sure I understand the correct diagram for the answers to this question for answers A, B, and E.

So the stimulus shows us that

Liberal->when applied and interpreted in a liberal way

not applied or not interpreted in a liberal way-->not liberal

A)

Careful Analysis-->Not Liberal

I thought I could substitute (not applied or not interpreted in a liberal way with careful
analysis) (what if it it was an and statement, could I still substitute it?) and I can conclude that not liberal.

For example, if someone says
if Apple than Brown
not Brown -->not Apple

(I have something that is yellow (therefore I can substitute and say that what I have is not brown--->therefore I can conclude that I do not have an apple. Am I correct to assume that? (I just wanted to make sure that I give an example to what I was talking about in answer choice A)

B)

I thought I could diagram it as:

Careful Analysis-->Not Liberal

(which I thought to be similar to the statement above) please let me know where I went wrong with it?

C)
First I thought this was a mistaken reversal since,
Interpret in a liberal way->Liberal (however, I know that mere possiblity it does not show what actually happens)

One more thing:

What if I had the stimulus A and B-->C

And I was only given A, I cannot conclude C right because I am missing B right because to have C I have to have A and B together.

However, on the other hand if I had A or B-->C
and if I know that I have A than I could have C right?

Also, what if I have not A or not B-->C
I have A, I cannot conclude anything right? (is it because I do not know for sure that not A or not B?)



Thanks in advance!

Ellen
Dave Killoran
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Hi Ellen,

You've been making great strides in getting conditional relationships down cold so far :-D So, let me jump in here and take a moment here to caution you about trying to turn everything into a black and white diagram. It's an easy trap to fall into, but also an easy one to get out of.

Having followed your questions, I'm slightly concerned you may be focusing so much on trying to diagram everything that I think you might be starting to miss the forest for the trees. Answers like (A) and (B) really aren't great diagramming answers (although (B) reflects a truth of the conditional relationships in the stimulus--more on that below). And just because conditional reasoning is present does not mean that every answer can be neatly diagrammed. The makers of the LSAT specifically try to muddy the water at times to make sure you really understand the underlying relationships.

This very point about trying to turn the LSAT into a solely rule-based environment is one that Nikki and I were coincidentally talking about the other day, and I know he is putting a blog post together on that, so keep an eye out for it (it will post over at http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/).

In the meantime, take a look at (B) again--it reflects the conditional relationship in the very last sentence of the stimulus, and notes in specific terms that a Mistaken Reversal can't be made. But I would never diagram (B) in a case like this.

I hope that helps. Thanks!
Dave Killoran
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ellenb
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Makes sense, so basically not every S and N language can be diagrammed.
How about answer choice C?

Thanks

Ellen
Dave Killoran
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I wouldn't diagram (C) either :-D

Here's the thing: almost any sentence can be diagrammed. So, one of the things that takes a while to get comfortable with is when you should and shouldn't diagram. Because you and I have talked about this stuff before, I knew you were working hard on getting everything down clearly. And I think you are pretty close to having it pieced together well. As you go through that, a weird thing happens: you begin to see conditionality everywhere (because, in a sense, it is everywhere). That can actually drive you crazy because you want to diagram everything (especially because SN is so easy to use once you have it down).

But, not everything should be diagrammed. It's usually the clear relationships and the unusual conditional indicators (like the "only when" in the last sentence of this stimulus) that should be diagrammed or seen in a purely conditional light. So, that's why I jumped in now with this comment, because as you approach a solid understanding of SN, that's when you want to be able to see it for what it is: an idea to recognize when it's critical to the reasoning, and to not worry about it otherwise (for example, not every "if" will turn the stimulus into a conditional reasoning problem. Sometimes they just choose to head in a different direction, and they needed the "if" to set up a hypothetical).

I hope that helps. You are climbing the ladder, and that is a great sign!
Dave Killoran
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ellenb
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Thanks Dave for your positive feedback!!! I want to make sure I can hang to this ladder until the end! Thanks to you and all of the Powerscore Instructors for answering our questions!

I think it makes more sense, I definetly started seeing more of SN relationships. However, it makes sense what you are saying to make use of the SN relationships when they are necessary. I can make up a bunch of statements with SN indicators that do not relate together. I think this is something that I was missing, diagram only when necessary and when there is a clear relationship even if there are SN indicators present.

I hope the concepts are trying to stick! Thanks a lot! It is a taugh battle up the hill, but I really want to see myself on the hill some day! (or on top of the ladder if we use your reference). :) Thanks one more time for the encouragement! It is greately appreciated!

Regards,

Ellen
ellenb
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Dear Powerscore,

For this question can I diagram the statements, in the explanations they did not diagram them.

Also for answer choice A, it seems that if I take the CP of the statement:

Written constitution a liberal one---> applied in a liberal way and interpreted
not applied in a liberal way or not interpreted--->not liberal

(a careful analysis) means it is not applied in a liberal way or it is not interpreted thus it is not liberal

It is just like the example Yellow-->Taxi (not yellow) green--> not Taxi

So, I am just substituting a careful analysis with not applied in a liberal way and not interpreted.

Thanks in advance!

Ellen
Steve Stein
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Hi Ellen,

That one can be effectively attacked with a good grasp of the main point: A constitution doesn't become "liberal" until it's been interpreted that way--that is why you can't tell whether a constitution is liberal from the writing alone (no matter how carefully you analyze it).

The issue with answer choice (A) is that there is a distinct difference between knowing for sure that something is not the case ("that taxi is not green": green) and not having enough information to determine ("I can't tell whether that taxi is green").

In this example:

Liberal constitution :arrow: liberal interpretation and application
liberal interpretation and application :arrow: liberal constitution

The contrapositive above tells us that if we know that a constitution has not been interpreted and applied liberally, then we know that it is not a liberal constitution.

But if we cannot determine anything about the interpretation and application, we have nothing to go on--that's why we can't conclude, based on just the writing, whether a constitution is liberal or is not liberal .

"Careful analysis" from the right answer choice (B), however, does not tell us anything about whether something is liberal--it just means that something is looked at carefully.

Answer choice (B) provides that if we're just looking at the writing, we have no way to determine how a constitution has been interpreted and applied.

The point of this answer choice: that we cannot rely on the diagram created! because without additional information there is no way to determine how a constitution has been interpreted and applied.

Tricky stuff for sure--take a bit of time and give this some thought, because these can be some subtle points; let me know whether this is clear--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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ellenb
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Thanks Steve,

So in a way A and B are similar, and have similar reasons as to why they are wrong.
We just know that we have the written text, if we do not know anything about interpretation and the application, I suppose in this answer choice the testmakers want us to make assumption that since we have the written text than it means that we do not have the interpretation and the application?

So, in this example as you mentioned before we cannot know for sure that the taxi is not green, based on the example I gave before, "is that there is a distinct difference between knowing for sure that something is not the case ("that taxi is not green": green) and not having enough information to determine ("I can't tell whether that taxi is green"). What would we know for sure in this example then?

It is indeed a bit tricky, and they want us to assume that if we have something we automatically not have something else, if we have the written constitution than we automatically not interpreting and not applying it.

Thanks

Ellen
Jacques Lamothe
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Hi Ellen,

Just to clarify, answer choice (A) is incorrect, but (B) is the correct answer. You are right with your previous example that there is a big difference between knowing "a taxi is not green" and knowing "I cannot determine whether the taxi is green." In this question, we know that we cannot determine whether a constitution is liberal merely by looking at its text. The stimulus tells us this in the line "No written constitution is more than a paper with words on it until those words are both interpreted and applies." That lets you exclude answer (A) since it cannot be true that we can infer something about the constitution by analyzing its text. On the other hand, answer (B) is a statement that we cannot make an inference merely by analyzing the text, which is what the stimulus information told us.

One last point: It is not actually necessary to assume that if analyzing the text, you do not have access to information about the application. The wording of answer choice (B) says it is "impossible to determine that a written constitution is merely liberal merely through careful analysis of a written text." Answer choice (B) therefore does not require you to assume that you can't have the other information, because the test writers make choice (B) a statement about what must be true when you only look at the text. Hopefully that helps or at least reaffirms what you and Steve already discussed.

Thanks for posting!

Jacques