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#35161
Complete Question Explanation

Method of Reasoning—AP, CE. The correct answer choice is (E)

Your task in this Method of Reasoning – Argument Part question is to select the answer that
properly identifies the role played by the claim that to explain the causes of cultural phenomena,
a social scientist needs data about several societies. This claim is followed by a colon, indicating
that what will follow is an explanation of the statement. What follows is an example regarding what
information is needed to determine what caused an observed political structure to emerge.

Your prephrase is that the part played by the role is an claim, rather than your normal conclusion,
that is explained by the example described above.

Answer choice (A): This is a shell game answer that uses the term “certain” in a different context
than was used in the stimulus to create confusion. In the stimulus, “certain” referred one out of a
group, while in the answer choice “certainty” is used to describe the state of having no doubt.

Answer choice (B): The statement is not a premise, because it is not offered in support of any other
statement.

Answer choice (C): This choice is incorrect because the example does not show that there is a causal
relationship. Rather, the philosopher states that the relationship is unknown, and that is why the
scientists need the data identified.

Answer choice (D): The statement identified in the stimulus is not a dilemma, which is a choice
between two options.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. The example provided by the philosopher
to support the statement identified in the question stem pertains to what is needed to determine what
caused the political structure to emerge.
 htngo12
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#34425
I had a hard time understanding the jest of this argument. I originally picked B as an answer, but can understand why E is the correct answer.

For this method of reasoning question, the philosopher's argument says, "A social scientist needs data about several societies to explain the causes of cultural phenomena."

And then he states an example that one cannot be sure that Cause:ecological (E) and climatic (C) factors brings about Effect: political structure unless one knows that E &C are not the cause(s) there are no similarly structured societies and when E&C are the cause(s) that no societies are not structured.

My interpretation is: one is not sure that E & C are the causes for a political structure but to be sure, the requirement is to know that when E&C are not the cause(s) that there are no similarly structured societies (restated: no structured societies alike, possible some societies different) and when E&C are the the cause that there are no societies that are not structured (possible that some societies are structured).

Not sure my interpretation is solid.
 Charlie Melman
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#34437
Hi htngo,

The author here is essentially supporting his conclusion, which you correctly identified is everything that comes before the colon in the first sentence, by appealing to the strategies we normally use to attack causal reasoning. In other words, he says that we need the requirement he describes because without it, we couldn't be sure if we had properly used cause-and-effect reasoning. We might have the purported effect actually causing the purported cause, or the purported cause not actually leading to the purported effect.

Answer choice (B) is incorrect because the author never makes a general theoretical claim about cause-and-effect relationships. He just gives examples of how they might be invalidated.

Answer choice (E) is correct because it describes, in abstract terms, what I discussed above: The author says we need to know that purported effects aren't causing purported causes, and so on.

Hope this helps!
 htngo12
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#34500
I guess my brain starts to analyze arguments in preparation for any formal logic and infers a little more then I need.

After reading your response, I able to comprehend the argument structure. Generally in C&E arguments, there are two main methods, to Weaken or Strengthen the relationship of the C & E. In this case, the author chooses to weaken.

So to reinterpret your response, I can weaken the C&E relationship with the two requirements:
1) I had to wrap my head around this one a little longer to translate in to something I could understand.
So restating word for word 'no similarly structured societies not subject to those factors', translating as no effect (no
political structure) not from cause. (no C-> no effect).
I was able to reinterpret this as contrapositive: (effect ->C) the effect leads to the cause.

2) This one one was easier to grasp. So the no effect (no political structures) from the cause. (C-> no effect)

Thanks for your help!
 mN2mmvf
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#39107
Can you help me understand why (A) is incorrect? I realize that "certain" is used in two different ways but that seemed pretty beside the point to me. (A) seems accurate to me: the philosopher is describing how much data is needed to make conclusions about various phenomena; that's because we expect a high level of certainty in our hypotheses and achieve this by ruling out alternative causes.

I see the appeal in (E), I just didn't understand what it meant by "one kind" of causal relationship. What kind is it talking about?
 James Finch
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#39482
Hi M,

Let me answer your questions in reverse order: the "one kind of causal relationship" that (E) refers to is the example given in the stimulus, and means only that the stimulus author is referring to a specific example of a causal relationship, in this case that of "political structure(s)" and "ecological or climactic factors." In short "kind" is used as a synonym for "example." Moreover, (E) correctly identifies the phrase in the question as a claim, in this case the conclusion of the argument.

Answer choice (A) does not include any reference to the fact that the question is referencing a claim or conclusion, but instead hints at a premise in a potential paradox or counterargument, neither of which are present in the stimulus. In method questions like this, the correct answer will always refer directly to the role that the phrase mentioned in the question plays in the argument made in the stimulus.
 mN2mmvf
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#39526
Thanks James. I didn't realize that the role was always explicitly identified. So we should be on the lookout for words like "claim" "premise" and "conclusion." Any others often show up?
 James Finch
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#39593
Glad I could help. Logical Reasoning Method-Argument Part questions tend to stick to the basics: claim/conclusions, intermediate conclusions, premises/evidence, claim to be refuted, etc.

The Reading Comprehension Method questions can be more difficult, as the longer passages allow for more room to disguise argument parts or just have more of them, which can make it difficult to distinguish between answer choices (one might be missing an element that the correct answer has, but it can be hard to see when both have 5-6 elements listed). The phrasing is also wordier, and tends to explain the role the element plays in the context of the passage rather than use the more abstract "premise" or "conclusion."

Question #21 on this same test (Preptest 65) provides a good example of a REading Comprehension Method question.
 yusrak
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#75498
Hi,

I had a clarifying question about the terms used to describe the role of this argument part. I initially prephrased that the argument part identified in the question as a conclusion which describes a principle and is supported by an example. The example serves to support the conclusion that data is needed to explain the causes of cultural phenomena.

But in my LSAT course I was told that the term "claim" is used to describe a premise. So I dismissed this answer choice E.

So is the argument part a conclusion? And is "claim" synonymous with "premise"? Can someone please elaborate on what the administrator meant by, "the part played by the role is a claim, rather than your normal conclusion."

Thanks in advance!
Yusra
 Jeremy Press
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#75499
Hi Yusra,

Probably the closest synonym of "claim" (as the LSAT uses it) is the term "statement." As such, the term "claim" can be used to identify either a premise or a conclusion. The best evidence for this is PT 74 (December 2014), LR1, question 14, a Method-Argument Part question for which the correct answer (answer choice D) states that the identified statement is "a claim that serves as the argument's main conclusion." Khan Academy, which operates in collaboration with the LSAT's makers, also uses the term "claim" in this broader sense, to identify main conclusions, sub-conclusions, and premises (https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/l ... learn-more).

It's fair to describe the identified argument part here as a conclusion, since it is clear the author means to support it by the remaining sentences in the stimulus. The administrator explanation above (which mirrors the language of answer choice E) does helpfully point out, though, that the relationship between the identified statement and the remaining statements in the stimulus is more nearly that of an example elaborating on the first statement (a different kind of support than we might usually see).

Hopefully this helps!

Jeremy

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