- Mon May 22, 2023 1:35 pm
The language in these answer choices certainly can be tricky at first, but by studying the language used by the test makers to describe the various flaws that appear on the LSAT and familiarizing yourself with the different ways that they describe these flaws, they become much easier to recognize and understand.
Before even looking at the answers, it's important to realize that both of these arguments contain an error in conditional reasoning that we refer to as a Mistaken Reversal, which basically means that the argument tries to go from a necessary condition to a sufficient condition, which is backwards. Of course, Mistaken Reversal is the term that we use, but the LSAT will describe this flaw in a number of ways, usually using the terms "sufficient" and/or "necessary" or synonyms for these terms, such as "confuses the necessary for the sufficient."
Here, Answer D is the only answer that uses these terms, and it correctly describes the Mistaken Reversals in the arguments above.
To answer your question, the "certain property" in Answer D refers to "favorable consequences" in Terry's argument, but refers to "not having favorable consequences" in Pat's argument.
The diagram for Terry's argument would be:
AG -> FC
(if an action is good, then it has favorable consequences)
Terry's argument then states that since some actions considered bad have FC (favorable consequences), some actions considered bad are AG (actually good).
Pat's argument uses the negative conditional statement "no"
The way that you diagram a negative conditional like "no, none, never," etc. is to negate the necessary.
Here, the diagram would be:
CB -> Not FC
(If an action is considered bad, then it does not have favorable consequences)
Pat's argument then states that since some good actions do not FC (do not have have favorable consequences), then some good actions CB (are considered bad).
As for the other answer choices,
Answer A is basically saying that if one property (like having favorable consequences) distinguishes two types of action, then there are many properties that distinguish them.
Answer B is basically saying that if most actions of a certain type (like good actions) share a quality (like favorable consequences), then all good actions would share that quality.
Answer C is basically saying that if certain actions (like good actions) share a certain quality (like favorable consequences) in a given society (like ancient Rome) then they would share that quality in all societies.
Answer E is basically saying that if a certain property (like favorable consequences) is shared by two different types of actions (like good actions and bad actions), then that quality is what distinguishes good and bad actions from all other actions (like actions that are neutral).
None of these wrong answers remotely get at the conditional flaw in the arguments above, and are just there to distract and confuse test takers. Having a solid prephrase really helps identify the correct answer here.