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 Robert Carroll
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#73360
Robin,

Ultimately, because answer choice (E) is wrong, I don't think it's particularly important to know whether it's wrong because it strengthens or wrong because it just doesn't relate to the argument. I do think answer choice (E) is wrong because it doesn't relate to the argument. The information it gives about speaking staffs doesn't clearly address the question of identification of the item in question. A speaking staff may symbolize a mace. Maybe something else resembles a mace even more, and that's what this item is. We just don't know how (E) relates.

Again, the important point is...(E) is wrong. I often find that I'm not sure why an answer is wrong, but I am sure THAT it is wrong - maybe it strengthens (opposite for a weaken) or doesn't relate, and I can't be sure which one, but I AM sure it's one of them. If that sounds strange, imagine this - I'm sure the number of stars in the universe is either odd or even, but I sure can't tell which it is! So, if I can categorize this answer as a loser (as you did), that's all that matters.

Robert Carroll
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 ange.li6778
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#95217
B seems to require the assumption that an object that's passed down through generations won't be found in a tomb, but I felt like that logical leap was too big to make. Granted, I did misread E when I chose it during the test and a second look showed me that it's definitely wrong, but is the logical leap in B standard for LR questions? I feel like this LR section in particular required a lot of logical leaps in different questions, more so than more recent PTs...does that sound about right or am I just biased against this section because I got more wrong than usual? :-D
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 katehos
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#95260
Hi Ange,

Great question! As a whole, this question is tricky, largely because even answer choice (B) isn't that great, it's just the best answer for weakening the conclusion. Part of what makes (B) not so great is the fact that it's possible to envision a scenario where this communal objects, even if they are generally passed down, might end up in a tomb (for example, if a member of the community had strong ties to the flint object and thus when they passed the community decided to bury it with them). However, it's still the best answer to weaken the conclusion because if communal objects are normally passed down, then this object ending up in a tomb means it wasn't passed down!

That said, the LSAT does require some general knowledge about the world; in this case, the knowledge is that tombs are where people can be laid to rest and, generally, objects found in them are not accessible to future generations because they remain in the tomb. So, while answer choice (B) requires somewhat of an assumption/leap, it's grounded in general understandings of the world. Similar sorts of understanding can be found on the exam now, but, in fairness, this question is particularly tricky!

I hope that helps :)
-Kate
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 mab9178
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#95367
Hi

Forgive me for asking about an observation that might be the result of an erroneous translation (English is my third language and, to make matters more challenging, I did not begin to learn it until I turned 21 years of age): E states: "A speaking staff with a stone head is thought to symbolize a warrior's mace."

I understand the discussion surrounding the word "symbolize," and I get it. (The American Bold Eagle symbolizes liberty, but the eagle itself does not bring about what it symbolizes).

However, I eliminated answer-choice E very quickly and perhaps erroneously, hence my post! I am concerned that I might have eliminated it for the wrong reasons.

E designates the object as a "speaking staff with a stone head." Couldn't we just a-priori eliminate E since it matches the author's designation of the object, "speaking staff," a conclusion which we are supposed to undermine?

Thank you

Mazen
 Adam Tyson
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#95430
That would be a risky strategy, Mazen, because a good weaken answer could also have spoken of a speaking staff with a stone head. Answer B, the correct answer, could have been re-written to say "a speaking staff with a stone head would not have been buried in a tomb, but passed on to the next generation." That's essentially what answer B IS saying, after all! Answer E is wrong not because it matches the author's designation of the object, but because it raises no doubts about that designation.
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 mab9178
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#95457
"Risky strategy," Duly Noted and for the reasons you stated. Thank you Adam!
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 Overthinker99
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#104208
I understand why B undermines the argument, however, I do not understand why E does not as well. While it is true that symbolizing does not mean that the object IS what it symbolizes, the arguer uses the fact that a head symbolizes speech as evidence that it was a speaking staff. If it turns out that evidence is false—and it instead symbolizes a mace—it undermines his evidence, and thus the argument. Can someone please explain why that isn’t true?
 Luke Haqq
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#104238
Hi Overthinker99!

The conclusion of this stimulus is that "the object was probably the head of a speaking staff," referring to a "carved flint object depicting a stylized human head with an open mouth."

The author rejects the argument that it is the head of a warrior's mace, explaining that it is too small for that purpose. If (E) were true, if this object were thought to "symbolize a warrior's mace," this wouldn't change what it was--i.e. a speaking staff, instead of a weapon. Even if it symbolized a weapon, it is still a speaking staff in (E). (E) therefore doesn't undermine the conclusion that "the object was probably the head of a speaking staff."

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