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 AthenaDalton
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#39365
Hi lathlee,

It's not critical to realize that the particular phrase you highlighted is irrelevant to completing this problem. What's important is piecing together the parts of the argument that are necessary to justify the argument's conclusion. :-D On the LSAT, as in legal practice, there will be some extraneous sentences / details that are not essential to solving the problem. It's ok to have some tools left over after you've selected the right answer choice!

Good luck studying!

Athena Dalton
 deck1134
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#49210
Hi PowerScore,

I have read the above explanation for this question, and am sorry to beat a dead horse.

Can we conclude that the "good life" part is irrelevant simply because it isn't needed in finding the correct answer? I ask because I first attempted to solve the problem mechanistically, without realizing that the good life was irrelevant, and arrived at the wrong answer.

How do we make sure to discount irrelevant information in this instance? The JUSTIFY FORMULA specifically says to look for rogue elements, and this question seems to foil that plan.
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 Dave Killoran
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#49215
deck1134 wrote:How do we make sure to discount irrelevant information in this instance? The JUSTIFY FORMULA specifically says to look for rogue elements, and this question seems to foil that plan.
Careful here, Deck. The Justify Formula says that rogue elements are often involved in correct answers, but it doesn't say that every single rogue element must be involved in the correct answer. As noted in the main explanation, there is the idea of the relevant premises to the creating the conclusion. The test makers are plenty smart, and can easily toss in useless information as a distraction. Here's a simple example:

  • Premise: A :arrow: B

    Premise: C :arrow: D

    Premise: E

    Conclusion: A :arrow: D
In the example above, the answer B :arrow: C would work perfectly, but note how E, which is a rogue element, is irrelevant to the argument. It effectively serves as a distraction inside the problem, but would surely show up in multiple answers.

It's good to think about these problems from the bigger picture, but always keep in mind the test makers have so many avenues of attack you have to be flexible in your thinking.

Thanks!
 deck1134
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#49216
Thanks, Dave!
 jdavidwik
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#85862
"Even though there are no conclusion indicators to help us identify the conclusion, note that the
remainder of the sentence contains two premises that support the observation in the first clause:
first, there is no individual freedom without social integrity, and second, pursuing the good life
is not possible without social integrity."

I do not see how the second independent clause supports the first independent clause. The second clause could be considered superfluous/extraneous as noted as well, but alternatively couldn't one see the "good life" independent clause as the Conclusion? We have a Compound-Complex sentence, so how can one deem one independent clause more central than the other? I have not read a convincing explanation addressing this point, but rather I see that there is evasion which just consigns the "good life" independent clause to irrelevance or premise status when it does not appear to be so straightforward that either of these is definitively the case.
 jdavidwik
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#85961
Premise: A > B

Premise: E > B

Conclusion: A > C

Answer: B > C

As Dave says above, E "is a rogue element, (and) is irrelevant to the argument. It effectively serves as a distraction inside the problem". He goes on to advise being flexible in one's thinking. This is the first example of such type of question that I have come across, and I could see where having a red herring here and there in the LSAT would imitate a real legal scenario. It seems to be a question that is a time sink not just in a mechanistic sense but in a way that demands an intuitive sense of when and what to eliminate as irrelevant. Maybe the only way to note them quickly is after much LR practice?
 Adam Tyson
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#86367
I do not see how the second independent clause supports the first independent clause.
That's because it doesn't actually support it, jdavidwik! But whether a premise actually supports a conclusion or not is a question about the validity of the argument, not the structure of the argument, and while we can see that it's just a red herring and of no value here, the author appears to have believed that it supported his conclusion. It's a premise not because it provides support, but because the author INTENDED that it provide support. The premise indicator "for" after the first phrase tells us that the two statements that follow are meant to be used as premises. Whether the argument is valid or not (it's not) is a different question entirely!

Practice is the best way to get familiar with this sort of pattern, which is not that rare on the test. Many conditional stimuli include a claim that does not connect, and does not need to connect, to the other claims. Through diagramming these statements we can get better at seeing which ones connect and which ones don't, and use that information to form our prephrases and avoid answer traps that involve those outlier claims that have no place in the correct answer.
 jdavidwik
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#86428
Adam, thanks for your numerous insights and for pointing out some of my blind spots, which vision could be improved with practice as you say.

Just before you replied, I referred back to my notes from Formal Logic>Symbolic Logic, re a past course. In reviewing syllogisms we had pointed out numerous examples of valid vs. invalid arguments and why invalid arguments could be so. Sound vs. unsound arguments were also covered at the same time. In jumping back to this example I can see that it does concern that level of analysis just above structure as you state; form informs the validity of the argument.

I referred to the original Administrator's explanation when I stated, "I do not see how the second independent clause supports the first independent clause.", but I had not seen that after that explanation stated that the "good life" clause supported the conclusion, it then proceeded to state that it did not support the conclusion. Admittedly I should not have cherry-picked there, and I should have read on. Instead I had read an explanation in another place, not PowerScore-related, which also claimed thusly, and the two did not gibe with Dave's later explanation. I may have been too mechanical there; when I reached a line of PowerScore code that did not compute, I aborted the program when I should have scanned down a bit.

Anyway I see that you give good advice, as such "intended premises" may signal a flaw in reasoning or a deliberate attempt at persuasion via a false premise, or just extraneous information. I think I need to keep practicing and not be intimidated. I was also trying to avoid diagramming before when what looked like straightforward stimuli arose, but I can see now that I need to diagram these statements of conditional stimuli as a rule. Not doing that potentially leads into trap answers.

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