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#21 - So-called environmentalists have argued that the

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Complete Question Explanation

Assumption. The correct answer choice is (A)

Answer choice (A) This is the correct answer choice. If we apply the assumption negation technique, by negating the term “not,” then we are left with “every recent opposition was based on environmental concerns.” This would weaken the argument that the opponents are simply anti-progress or anti-development.

Answer choice (B): We need not assume this answer in order to conclude that the environmentalists are acting on other motives. If we negate this answer—anti-development activists don’t always disguise their motives—it has no effect on the argument.

Answer choice (C): This assumption is far broader than necessary to conclude ulterior motives on the part of the environmentalists.

Answer choice (D): If we logically negate this answer choice, “the council has other reasons to object.” This does not weaken the argument in the stimulus.

Answer choice (E): This is another assumption that is broader then necessary. We need not make assumptions about all such opposition in order to draw conclusions about this particular group.
Johnclem
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Hello ,
I just have some follow up questions for this explanation.

First of all, it's titled assumption question, but my bible says stems that state " properly drawn " are justify questions. So what kind of question is this ?

Second, is the question stem here referring us to an intermediate conclusion ? I was pretty confident that the last sentence was the conclusion of the argument. " their claim therefore should be dismissed " .


Thank you
John
Clay Cooper
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Hi johnclem,

Thanks for your question - it is a good one.

This is an assumption question. You are correct to associate the phrase 'properly drawn' with justify questions - it generally indicates a justify question. However, it does not always do so, and this question is a great example.

The essential difference between justify and assumption questions is that justify questions ask us: which answer choice, if true, is sufficient to prove the conclusion?

whereas assumption questions ask us: which answer choice is required for the conclusion to be true (or 'properly drawn' as it is phrased here)?

This question stem is clearly an example of the latter case, and is thus an assumption question. It asks us which of the answer choices 'must be assumed.' While a question stem's containing the word 'assumed' does not necessarily make it an assumption question, when that word is used as it is here - to indicate that the answer choice we pick contains a statement that must be true for the conclusion to be true - ithe result is an assumption question.

As for your second question, I do not think the question stem points us toward an intermediate conclusion - just an assumption. An assumption is, by definition (on the LSAT), unstated, and therefore the question stem cannot indicate anything that we have already been told.

I hope that helps. Keep working hard.
Sneev
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Hi there,
I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this, but think I've almost got it. Hope you don't mind my writing out my understanding of what is being argued.

"Environmentalists" make an Environmental claim.
But, since the "Environmentalists" makes Environmental claims against virutally all Development Proposals (occasionally they make claims that are not based on environmental concerns?), their prior actions (Making these claims) show that this particular Environmental claim in nothing but a mask for their Anti-development/progress agenda.
Their claim should be dismissed (due to the hidden agenda).

A is correct because if not every development proposal had been opposed by the "Environmentalists" based on environmental concerns (e.g. 9/10 of the claims the "environmentalists" make were based in environmental concerns, but they had based one claim against a previous proposed development on concerns that the architectural style of a proposed building was too dissimilar to the buildings surrounding it), then they would be shown to be something other than concerned simply for environmental matters.

My question: is the word "virtually" the controlling word in the stimulus? Somewhere in their past, these "environmentalists" must have slipped up and argued against a proposal based on reasoning outside of environmental concerns thus revealing their inconsistency? The argument of the speaker is that since they're not consistent, they have ulterior motives (anti-development/progress), and since they have ulterior motives, their concerns should be dismissed?

Furthermore, as to the negation technique: "Every development proposal opposed in recent years by these so-called environmentalists was opposed because they believed it to pose a threat to the environment" shows that they were consistent, and thus genuine in their concerns, which weakens the speaker's reasoning for claiming other motives? That is, they are Environmentalists, not "Environmentalists"?

I know this is a bit much, but just want to make totally sure I've got this before moving on. Thanks!
Francis O'Rourke
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Hi Sneev,

The modifier "virtually every" means that most if not all development proposal has been challenged by these environmentalists. It may be that they opposed the 1/10th (as you put it) based on non-environmental grounds, or they simply did not challenge the 1/10th at all.

The reasoning that this speaker is employing is that the so-called environmentalists make so many claims against development, then they must simply be against development. After all surely there are some environmentally sound development projects in recent years! Therefore, these people are simply using environmental concerns as a cover for their anti-development agenda.

This argument is obviously flawed; it could be the case that each one of those proposed developments had real environmental concerns. The speaker needs to assume that some of their objections were not based on environmental concerns. Answer choice (A) provides this assumption.

Let me know if this helps you make sense of the argument.