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  • Posts: 157
  • Joined: Jul 13, 2015
I am not sure if this would be considered a drill question, but I couldn't find a category for homework lesson questions. I hope you can help me regardless!

The stimulus starts with, "Maria won this year's local sailboat race..."

My Question: I am having trouble diagramming the conditional statement in the stimulus. The explanation in the lesson book explains that the premise (Maria winning) is the sufficient condition and that the conclusion (Maria working hard) is the necessary condition. But can this be reversed? Why does the conclusion have to be the necessary condition? Or is the phrasing "We can conclude..." a necessary indicator?
 Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
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  • Joined: Apr 14, 2011
The reason you are having trouble, Blueballoon, is that there IS no conditional claim in the stimulus! We were given a premise Maria won - and a conclusion - she trained hard. That's not conditional, because there is no "if/then" element to the stimulus. It's just a fact and a conclusion that allegedly follows from that fact (but which might not - maybe she cheated, or got lucky, or the opponent slacked off, or the opponent threw the race after placing a large bet on Maria, or any number of other possible reasons for Maria winning).

Where conditionality shows up here is in the answer choices, or more accurately, in the way the answer choices will relate to the stimulus. It is the nature of all Justify questions that we are looking for a new bit of information - a new premise - that will, when added to the existing premises, make the conclusion necessary. We don't have a conditional argument at the outset, but we want to create one! So, look for the answer choice which, when added to the existing premise, makes the conclusion necessary. That's why these questions are also often called "Sufficient Assumption" questions: we are looking for something that is sufficient to make the conclusion necessary.

Here, the prephrase should be "winning requires hard training". If that's true, and if she won (which we know she did, because they told us so), then the conclusion that she trained hard follows logically (aka it must be true, it is necessary, it is required, etc.)

In short, a Justify question need not contain any conditional claims in the stimulus (although it certainly can), but the answer must create (or complete) a conditional relationship wherein the conclusion becomes the necessary condition.

I hope that clarifies the goal for you! Keep at it!

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