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Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the reasoning. The correct answer choice is (E)

The argument in this stimulus concludes that music has a temporal dimension, while paintings do not. This is supported by the fact that music is presented as a set sequence of sounds, whereas paintings are presented as a whole to the viewer, and the viewer has no set path to follow with his eyes. The obvious retort to this argument is "What about the path that the viewer creates for himself with his eyes when he views the painting? How is viewing the painting first from the corners, then inwards not a temporal sequence?" As such, even though the viewer creates his own path while viewing the painting, the path that he creates supplies the temporal dimension. The only difference, therefore, is who creates the path—with music, it is the composer; with paintings, it is the viewer. Nevertheless, in both cases, there remains a temporal dimension.

Answer choice (A) It mentions the passage of time as a red herring. However, remember what the argument is about—the absence of a set sequence or path in which the art form is presented. Immersion in the experience of a painting so that one loses track of the passage of time has nothing to do with the rest of the stimulus.

Answer choice (B) The stimulus is mainly dealing with paintings, and only uses music as an example of an art form that is allegedly distinct from paintings in that it has a temporal dimension. The flaw in the argument has nothing to do with the example of music, but rather its discussion of paintings.

Answer choice (C) This is an example of an answer choice that at first glance seems profound, but upon reflection, really does not say anything useful at all. What are these aspects common to both music and painting that the argument fails to bring out? There may be many, and indeed, can be anything that music and paintings have in common, but even if brought out, such would not remedy the flaw in the argument.

Answer choice (D) It essentially criticizes the argument for relying too much on the metaphor of "reading," so much so that the metaphor itself assumes the conclusion to be established. However, using the metaphor of reading in no way causes the argument to assume the truth of the conclusion. Rather, the argument still focuses on the lack of a set sequence in which things are presented in a painting to conclude that paintings lack a temporal dimension.

Answer choice (E) is the correct answer choice. It rephrases our objection in more eloquent terms. Hence, when viewing a painting, there exists some path that the eye takes, and therefore, there exists a temporal dimension in viewing a painting as the eye moves along this path.
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Pieces of music consist of sounds and silences presented to the listener in a temporal order...[Question content removed by Admin. LSAC rules unfortunately do not allow the posting of the text of complete LSAT questions. But, if you give us the test date or PrepTest number, the section, and the question number (which I put into the question title), we can find it easily and still answer the question. Thanks!]

The right answer is (E). Can somebody explain this answer to me?
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Hi there,

Thanks for your question!

In essence, the flaw in this stimulus is that it makes the assumption that because there is no path the painting viewer "must" follow, that therefore viewers will not follow a path.

As a comparison, if I were to say, "There is no study plan for the LSAT that you must necessarily follow. Therefore you will not use a study plan," again the flaw would be that the fact that something is not certain or mandatory does not mean it can't or won't occur.

E best describes the flaw, as discussed above.

Hope this helps!
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Thank you Beth! Now I understand!
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I was deciding between D & E for a while, then ultimately really confidently chose D. -- Mainly because I totally ruled out E (the argument was not saying that the eye follows NO path. Just that there is not a path that the eye MUST follow), and D seems to make total sense to me (& still does). But, after reading the explanation, I realize that I looked exclusively at a premise in the argument, rather than the conclusion (which, if I had done that, I would have realized that it was saying there was NO temporal dimension/path to looking at a painting, and thus, would have picked E over D).

My questions is: well, as I'm writing this, I'm kind of answering the question for myself. My question was going to be about looking at either the premise or the conlc when assessing the "argument" but I already 100% know that an argument is the premise + conclusion, so I should always refer to both together when looking at an argument. And here, if I had done that, I would have still seen that the conclusion overrides the premise, in terms of degree of strength about the temporal dimension.
 Nikki Siclunov
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Angel - you got it! :) When test-makers refer to argumentation, they include both the premises and the conclusion in that reference. The conclusion is almost always the key, especially when attacking Flaw questions. Here, the flaw is the unwarranted assumption that to follow a path, the eye needs to follow a particular path:

Unwarranted Assumption: Eye follow path :arrow: Particular path

As always, prephrasing is key to identifying the correct answer choices in Flaw questions.


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