LSAT and Law School Admissions Forum

Get expert LSAT preparation and law school admissions advice from PowerScore Test Preparation.

General questions relating to LSAT Logical Reasoning.
User avatar
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: Mar 21, 2023
Is it possible for correlation relationships to have sufficient/necessary indicator words? Or if it has sufficient/necessary indicator words it must be considered a causal relationship?

For example: When I wear jeans, I often tie my hair.

Would this automatically mean that if I don't tie my hair, I'm (probably?) not wearing jeans? Or is it only conditional if I omit the "often" in the original sentence so its a certain situation? So in that case, it's okay for correlations to have sufficient/necessary indicators. What I'm trying to say in the original sentence is that me wearing jeans and tying my hair goes together frequently, but not always.

Could you also please clarify if sufficient & necessary is even considered causation?

Apologies if this isn't clear - I'm probably making up complex situations and confusing myself. What I'm mainly trying to figure out is the first question in this post. Thank you!
User avatar
  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: Mar 21, 2023
A broader question I have branching off of my initial post is: Can conditional statements be causal relationships/correlation relationships?
User avatar
 Dave Killoran
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 5810
  • Joined: Mar 25, 2011
Hi EC,

A few quick thoughts:

1. They certainly can and do throw in causal language into some conditional relationships; that doesn't necessarily mean it becomes all causal and never conditional. But usually they don't make solving the problem reliant on making any distinction there. they know it's not clear and so avoid it as being the crux of the solution.

2. Your example, for LSAT purposes, is conditional and not at all causal. I could rewrite it as:

  • When I wear jeans, most of the time I tie my hair.

    Wear Jeans :arrow: Tie hair most of time

In that sentence, then, the necessary condition is tying your hair more than half the time when you wear jeans (which is what "most" means). That's not saying it's specifically correlated, just that it has to happen enough of the time to meet the necessary condition standard.

From a contrapositive standpoint, if you don't tie your hair most of the time, then you aren't wearing jeans. So, if you didn't tie it all, you aren't wearing jeans. But note that allows for you to not tie it some of the time; that's okay under what the necessary specifies.

3. Conditionality is NOT causality. There are several distinguishing feature such as time sequence and actual causal force that separate the two. There are sections in the LRB and our course that outline this exact difference, so check those out!

4. Last, they could be both, but you don't see that often on the LSAT and they'd have to use some additional language to make it so both relationships were clearly the case.


Get the most out of your LSAT Prep Plus subscription.

Analyze and track your performance with our Testing and Analytics Package.