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Complete Question Explanation

Justify the Conclusion—SN. The correct answer choice is (A)

In this stimulus, the actor considers whether plays by a person named Brecht are genuinely successful dramas, and reaches the conclusion that they are not. In support of this position, the actor points out that the audiences and actors playing the roles in Brecht’s plays have difficulty discerning the characters’ personalities. And, the actor claims, if a play is to succeed as a drama, it is required that audiences “care about what happens to at least some of its characters.” Based on this evidence, the actor concludes that “Brecht’s plays are not genuinely successful dramas.”

The question stem identifies this as a Justify the Conclusion question. Our task is to find an answer choice that proves the conclusion is valid. It is clear that the actor thinks that audiences do not care about what happens to the characters in Brecht’s plays, because that criterion, that audiences care about at least some of the characters, is the sole criterion offered to determine a play’s success as a drama.

What is unclear from the stimulus is why the actor says that audiences do not care about what happens to Brecht’s characters. The only other evidence presented about the audiences is that they have a hard time discerning the characters’ personalities. So, it appears that the actor is implicitly applying a rule to the evidence stating that if an audience has difficulty discerning a character’s personality, then the audience will not care about what happens to the character. Once the rule establishes that audiences do not care about what happens to Brecht’s characters, the conclusion will logically follow that Brecht’s plays are not successful dramas.

Our prephrase is that the correct answer choice will provide this rule, linking together the actor’s premises and justifying the conclusion that Brecht’s plays are not successful dramas.

Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice because it provides the rule described in our prephrase, linking together the actor’s premises that audiences have difficulty discerning the characters’ personalities and that for a play to be a successful drama, the audience must care about what happens to at least some of the characters.

Answer choice (B): This answer choice is incorrect because it only offers background information about how to understand a character’s personality, rather than linking together the actor’s existing premises to reach the conclusion.

Answer choice (C): As with answer choice (B), this answer is incorrect because it merely provides support for one of the premises in isolation, the premise that for a play to succeed as a drama, the audience must care about the characters.

Answer choice (D): Here, the answer choice refers to the audience being able to discern the personalities of a play’s characters, but does not link that discernibility to the audience caring about what happens to the characters, which is the link that could justify the conclusion.

Answer choice (E): This answer choice uses the word “empathize” to say essentially that if an audience cares about what happens to a play’s characters, then that play will succeed as a drama. However, the argument in the stimulus concerns plays containing characters with whom audiences do not sympathize, and the fact that those plays are not successful. So, this information addresses a situation collateral to that described in the stimulus, and does not justify the argument’s conclusion.
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I was able to choose the right answer but I would just like to clarify some things about the conditional reasoning involved. For the last statement of the stimulus it can be diagrammed:
Succeed → Care for Some Characters

Would the contrapositive take into account the 'at least some' of its characters part?
(A) Care for All Characters → Not Succeed
(B) Care for Some Characters → Not Succeed

Am I confusing some-all (logical opposites) with something else here?
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I chose A. Is this a question that needed to be diagrammed?
 Jay Donnell
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Hi MrMola and LSAT2018!

I think I can help clear up both of your responses here.

For MrMola, as a Justify question, it's extremely likely that conditional diagramming can help open up a clear view into the "gap" between premise and assumption that will be bridged by the correct response. Is it required to diagram? Not necessarily, but mastering the concept is recommended to enable you to verify to 100% that you have the correct response. Some students can just see the missing relationship, especially in Justify questions in the first 10 questions or so in the section, but in doing so you're actually diagramming in your head without realizing it.

The process for this question type should always be to find and separate the conclusion from the given premises, find the offsetting terms and look for the answer that provides them in the right format. Simply identifying the missing terms in your head and chasing them in the answers can be dangerous in that you could potentially pick an answer with all the right words, but in all the wrong order; often an incorrect response is simply a Mistaken Reversal of the correct answer.

In this question, the structure should look as such:

P: BBP --> ~ADCP
P: SD --> ACC

C: BBP --> ~SD

BPP: Bertolt Brecht's Plays
ADCP: audience discern's characters' personalities
SD: succeed as a drama
ACC: audience cares about (at least some) characters

Since both terms found in the stimulus are in the premises, the 'gap' will therefore be in between the two given premises, as the beginning (sufficient) and end (necessary) of the argument's chain are already provided.

To see that exact missing link, I would take the contrapositive of premise two, so that the final necessary condition in the evidence matches that of the conclusion:

P: BBP --> ~ADCP

P: ~ACC --> ~SD
C: BBP --> ~SD

Then, we can see the missing link clearly as: ~ADCP --> ~ACC, or its contrapositive: ACC --> ADCP. Either form would work to Justify the conclusion, but the correct response chooses the first version.

In sum, though it's not strictly necessary to diagram this or any Justify question, it's VERY recommended to begin doing so. Practice in diagramming even what may seem as the 'easier' Justify questions can allow you to use those diagramming skills to make even the most difficult questions feel as predictable as this one.

For LSAT2018,

The logical opposite of 'some' is 'none,' with 'some' representing from 1-100, and 'none' of course representing the opposite of that range, which is 0.

Here, a plays success as a drama requires the audience caring about what happens to at least some of its characters. That contrapositive would read: If the audience does not care about any (aka none) of the characters, then the play does not succeed as a drama.

Hope that helps you both, keep on truckin' and keep those questions coming!

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