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Hello Dear LSAT masters:

Question for 9. The reason D is the correct answer choice is because it is the only answer choice touch base on SOCIAL POLICIES mentioned in the conclusions in the stimulus?

A. Political policy.
B. Economical Policy.
C. Political regarding wealth --- out of scope.
D. Social Policy.
E. Unemployment --- out of scope.

Is my reasoning correct on this question? Thank you in advance!
 Adam Tyson
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I think you're on a good path there, gen2871! I agree that we can eliminate certain answer choices here because they do not deal with principles of justice, or with social policy, or both. I wouldn't say that the problem with answer E is that it is out of scope, since unemployment benefits are very much an outgrowth of social policy, but the problem is that the results in that answer are contrary to what the argument put forth, weakening the argument rather than strengthening it. We needed to see two countries that end up with different policies, making the details unpredictable, whereas in E they ended up with the same policies, possibly being predictable! There's a similar problem in answer C, in that the two countries had similar, rather than divergent, results, although it's also unclear whether that has anything to do with principles of justice or with any particular set of social policies.

My point is, be careful about painting with too broad a brush. If you interpret the stimulus too narrowly you run the risk of eliminating a good answer and selecting a bad one. Focus on the structure and conclusion of the argument you want to strengthen, and be prepared to accept any answer that helps make that conclusion more likely. Keep up the good work!
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Got it, thank you for the detailed explanation, Adam! It is such a challenging task, which makes my previous years of learning English Language so trivial, but I will keep up. Practice makes perfect ONLY under the meaningful guidance! Thank you and I truly appreciate your wisdom.
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My approach for this question was to eliminate answer choices (A) and (B) because I didn't find sufficient evidence to determine whether "two socialist states" or "two democratic industrial states" automatically qualify as sharing a similar conception of general principles of justice INSTEAD of eliminating answer choices (A) and (B) because different types of machines for counting ballots and proportioning land to forestry, respectively, didn't/did qualify as a "social policy".

Do you think the assumption I made is a fair one or do you think LSAC would ask one to infer that, for example, two socialist states imply a similar conception of the general principles of justice. Trying to wrap my head around what is/isn't "common knowledge" as defined by LSAC.

Thank you!
Last edited by OneSeventy2019 on Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
 Claire Horan
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Hi David,

Adam's response applies fairly well to your question as well, so be sure to check out his answer in this thread. To answer your question broadly, be extremely wary of "inferring" anything based on your outside knowledge--this is more likely to hurt than help. When the LSAT does ask you to "infer," it means to take a logical step from the information given.

As to Question #9 specifically, though, there was no need to infer anything at all about the two socialist states in A because the choice A states explicitly that they "each adhered to the same electoral principles." Similarly, in B we have two democratic industrialist states that "both subscrib[e] to capitalistic economic principles." So no need to add in any assumptions. I agree with you, though, that it's a stretch to classify "electoral principles" or "economic principles" as "general principles of justice." Comparing these to the correct answer D, which describes two states "adhering to similar principles of justice" will convince you further that A and B do not match the stimulus as well as D does. Then, once you weigh weighing the second parts of each choice describe "details of social policies" and you should be very confident in your answer.

It's a good idea to find as many reasons as you can why the answer you have chosen is correct and the others are wrong. Strong test-takers will consider all of the available information in selecting their choice. That way, if you are in doubt as to whether you are interpreting the language correctly, you have backup reasons that help bolster your choice.

Thanks for the great question, and good luck!

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