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 lsathelpwanted
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#80499
What is the difference (even in general terms, not just specifically related to cause/effect reasoning)? This question came to me in the section about causality in the premise or the conclusion.

I'm glad this came up b/c I would have thought these phrases were synonymous (Reasoning flawed and Argument flawed). I feel I may have not picked up on the broader lesson that could be important to other questions types.

My thought process for Reasoning:

Reasoning is HOW an opinion is justified. So they use their evidence (as premises) to prove their point (the conclusion). So a flaw in the reasoning would reside in the relationship between the premises and the given conclusion.

My thought process for an Argument:

An argument is an opinion that is backed up by evidence. Premises are given to try and prove a conclusion. On the LSAT, we grant premises as true, so the only errors can be the relationship between the premises and the conclusion, so I'm not seeing the difference between saying an argument is flawed versus saying the reasoning is flawed.

I feel like I am missing a pretty crucial aspect of this that is fundamental to just about this entire test!

Thank you and Happy Halloween!!!
 Jeremy Press
PowerScore Staff
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#80695
Hi lsathelp,

The test is generally not making a major distinction between these two phrases in Flaw questions. For example, your understanding of a "flaw in reasoning" (a problem in the "relationship between the premises and the given conclusion") is exhibited in PT 64, October 2011, LR 2, question 14, where the question stem states "Which one of the following most accurately expresses a flaw in the argument’s reasoning," and the answer is that the author's premise (that the other side's argument was inadequate) is insufficient to prove the falsity of the author's conclusion (that the other side's conclusion was definitively false). In this question, there's no problem in the premise, standing alone. The problem is in using that premise to justify an overly extreme conclusion. In other words, the problem is in the relationship between the premise and the conclusion.

But the same would be true of, for example, PT 81, June 2017, question 25, where the question stem states "Which one of the following most accurately describes a flaw in the argument’s reasoning," and the answer is that the author has confused a necessary condition for a sufficient condition (a classic Mistaken Reversal). Again, the problem resides in the relationship between the premise and the conclusion. The premise (the occurrence of the necessary condition) is insufficient to justify the conclusion (the certainty of the occurrence of the sufficient condition).

Basically, don't overthink it. Almost every Flaw question (whether the question stem identifies a flaw in the "argument" or a flaw in the "reasoning") is going to be asking about a problem in the relationship between the premise(s) and the conclusion. In other words, all Flaw questions focus on the basic issue of why certain types of premises do not automatically validate certain types of conclusions.

I hope this helps!
 lsathelpwanted
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#80719
Jeremy Press wrote: Again, the problem resides in the relationship between the premise and the conclusion.

I hope this helps!
Hi Jeremy thank you for your response; that helped to solidify some of my speculation.

Would you care to clarify the specifics when relating to causality?

On top of page 309 in the 2020 edition it says:

"Causal statements can be used in the premise or conclusion of an argument. If the causal statement is in the conclusion, then the REASONING is flawed. If the causal statement is in a premise, then the ARGUMENT may be flawed, but not because of the causal statement." (this was the basis for my confusion)

My thoughts:

1. Causal statement in conclusion: the relationship between the premise and conclusion does not prove the truth of the conclusion. (basically like most flaws from what I can tell)

2. Causal statement in premise: there may be a flaw in the argument, but the causality AS A PREMISE is to be taken as TRUE. So the flaw does not reside in the causality in and of itself. (If it were, I would essentially be denying the truth of a premise and we don't do that in LSAT world)

So #2 is basically a pro-tip that if I see causality in a premise don't waste time trying to look for a flaw in the causality.

Am I getting close?
 Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
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#80921
More than close, lsathelpwanted - you hit it right on the nose! Good work. We generally don't question a causal premise, or any other premise, but we do question a causal conclusion (as we question ALL conclusions - we are supposed to be skeptics, after all). One caveat, though, and that is that there may be causal intermediate conclusions out there, and because they are conclusions (albeit not the main conclusion) they ARE open to attack. An argument may be flawed because of a bad relationship between a premise and a causal intermediate conclusion, even though that intermediate conclusion also serves as a premise in support of the main conclusion.

Good work, keep that up!
 lsathelpwanted
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#81482
Adam Tyson wrote:More than close, lsathelpwanted - you hit it right on the nose! Good work. We generally don't question a causal premise, or any other premise, but we do question a causal conclusion (as we question ALL conclusions - we are supposed to be skeptics, after all). One caveat, though, and that is that there may be causal intermediate conclusions out there, and because they are conclusions (albeit not the main conclusion) they ARE open to attack. An argument may be flawed because of a bad relationship between a premise and a causal intermediate conclusion, even though that intermediate conclusion also serves as a premise in support of the main conclusion.

Good work, keep that up!

Thank you for your time Adam and the note on intermediate conclusions! Sorry for the late reply. I've been away for a bit.

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