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General questions relating to LSAT Logical Reasoning.
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 blakefu
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#103087
Hi, folks.

When I practiced the LR questions, I came across a lot of answers(normally false) that say one's premise is inconsistent with his conclusion. I am confused about the meaning of "inconsistent". In which situation the flaw is the inconsistency between premise and conclusion?

It would be nice if someone could give an example.

Thanks a lot!
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 Dave Killoran
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#103088
Hi Blake,

In LSAT terms, "inconsistent" simply means "contradicts." It does not mean "different from," which is the way many people interpret that term in the real world. In terms of abstract truth, "consistent" means Could Be True whereas "inconsistent" means Cannot Be True.

For example, let's say I made the statement that "Some houses in Minneapolis are painted purple." There are very few statements that are inconsistent here since we need something that can't be the case or contradicts that statement. "No house in Minneapolis is painted purple" would be inconsistent.

Statements that are consistent are essentially infinite, and would include all of the following and more:

"Some houses in Minneapolis are not painted purple."
"It snows a lot in Minneapolis."
"Minnesota has over 16,000 lakes in the state."
"The Green Bay Packers suck."
and so on.

For a typical statement, there are an endless number of statements that would be consistent because consistent statement just need to be possibly true (the Could Be True element). They don't have to "agree" with the statement or even be related to it. Inconsistent statements are far more limited and have to actually go against something being said.

Please let me know if that helps clear it up. Thanks!
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 blakefu
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#103101
Thanks! That's very helpful. My understanding of this is that when there are several premises, it is likely that some premise is consistent with the conclusion.

The "inconsistent" correct normally happens when there is one or a few premises and none of them is consistent with the conclusion.
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 Dave Killoran
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#103154
Hi Blake,

If you don't mind, take a moment and set aside what you previously thought/believed, and then go back into what I wrote and read it carefully. At that point, consider what is likely or possible within arguments and the premises based on those definitions.

As explained above, it's incredibly easy for things to be consistent with each other and very difficult (or really, it has to be very specific scenario where one statement is directly counter to another statement) for them to be inconsistent.

Thus, it's typically the case in arguments on the LSAT that all premise(s) and conclusion(s) are consistent. Very rarely do you have two premises or a premise and conclusion that are inconsistent, in those cases they usually give you a Flaw question where you have to identify that pieces of the argument are inconsistent. A Parallel Flaw is also possible but even less common for this type of error.

As an aside, in most Flaw scenarios when you see the "two pieces are inconsistent" answer choice it is a wrong answer, but on occasion it is correct and you'll very definitely have to be able to identify two pieces at odds with each other.

Thanks!
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 blakefu
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#103162
I really appreciated it. I feel much better about this question now!

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