LSAT and Law School Admissions Forum

Get expert LSAT preparation and law school admissions advice from PowerScore Test Preparation.

 Administrator
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 8208
  • Joined: Feb 02, 2011
|
#22904
Complete Question Explanation

Justify. The correct answer choice is (B)

This stimulus begins with a brief discussion of Isaac Newton who, in addition to making valuable discoveries, used significant amounts of time on alchemy (in which he was obviously not successful). The author's conclusion is that seventeenth century publication of alchemy results would have led to more advanced eighteenth century chemistry:

  • Alchemy results published .......... greater subsequent advances in chemistry
In order to justify this conditional conclusion, we should seek another conditional statement in the correct answer choice.

Answer choice (A): The stimulus is not about historians, but rather about the practitioners themselves, and what would have resulted had they recorded their results.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice, as it provides the exact conditional relationship that we were looking for:

  • Reports published .......... Greater scientific advances
This does indeed justify the author's conclusion from the stimulus.

Answer choice (C): This answer presents one possible ramification if Newton's alchemy results had been published, but it does not speak to the notion of reports leading to subsequent advances, so this answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (D): The author does not discuss the idea of increasing specialization, so this choice is incorrect. The point of the stimulus is that experimental results, when recorded, can hasten later scientific advances.

Asnwer choice (E): This answer does not justify the conclusion of the author, who is not focused on how the alchemists could have achieved their goals, but rather on whether the reporting of the alchemy results would have led to greater advances in chemistry during the following century.
 Blueballoon5%
  • Posts: 157
  • Joined: Jul 13, 2015
|
#44501
Hello! I have a question about the question stem. Why is this a justify the conclusion question and not an assumption question? It doesn't have the sufficient indicator "if." Instead, it just has the phrasing "allow the conclusion... to be properly drawn," but is that the only reason why this is not an assumption question? Does assumption question stem never have "allows the conclusion to be properly drawn" or "enables the conclusion to be properly drawn"?

Hope you can help me!


Added:
Similarly, question 5 (on page 4-73), in the justify the conclusion homework section, has the question stem: "Which one of the following is an assumption that would make the conclusion in the passage a logical one?" Similar to question stem on 17th century physicist (above), this question stem doesn't have the sufficient indicator "if" in front of assumption, but it has the wording "would make the conclusion in the passage a logical one."
 Shannon Parker
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 148
  • Joined: Jun 08, 2016
|
#44532
Blueballoon5% wrote:Hello! I have a question about the question stem. Why is this a justify the conclusion question and not an assumption question? It doesn't have the sufficient indicator "if." Instead, it just has the phrasing "allow the conclusion... to be properly drawn," but is that the only reason why this is not an assumption question? Does assumption question stem never have "allows the conclusion to be properly drawn" or "enables the conclusion to be properly drawn"?

Hope you can help me!


Added:
Similarly, question 5 (on page 4-73), in the justify the conclusion homework section, has the question stem: "Which one of the following is an assumption that would make the conclusion in the passage a logical one?" Similar to question stem on 17th century physicist (above), this question stem doesn't have the sufficient indicator "if" in front of assumption, but it has the wording "would make the conclusion in the passage a logical one."
The difference between an assumption question and a justify question is small but important. An assumption question asks you to identify an unstated premise of the argument. It is something that MUST be true (in conditional reasoning terms it is the necessary condition). Whereas, a justify question is asking you to strengthen the argument to the point that the conclusion may be properly drawn. It is looking for something that makes it true but does not have to be true (in conditional terms, the sufficient condition).

Here this is a justify question because you asked to identify an assumption that allows the conclusion to properly be drawn, as opposed to identifying an assumption that the argument relies on.

hope this helps.
shannon
 Blueballoon5%
  • Posts: 157
  • Joined: Jul 13, 2015
|
#44543
Thanks so much shannon! You're super helpful!! :)
 Blueballoon5%
  • Posts: 157
  • Joined: Jul 13, 2015
|
#44651
Hi Shannon! I found an assumption question stem in the lesson book that confused me. On page 5-23, the question stem reads, "Which one of the following is an assumption that the art historian's argument requires in order for its conclusion to be properly drawn?" I immediately thought this was an assumption question stem because of the wording "requires" (necessary indicator). However, the phrase "conclusion to be properly drawn" threw me off. This is a similar wording to many justify question stems.
 Malila Robinson
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 296
  • Joined: Feb 01, 2018
|
#45576
Hi BlueBalloon,
As you stated an Assumption is something that is necessary for the argument. In the question you quoted you could remove the part that sounds like a Justify question and it would still ask for an Assumption.

Original question: "Which one of the following is an assumption that the art historian's argument requires in order for its conclusion to be properly drawn?"

Drop the Justify sounding part: "Which one of the following is an assumption that the art historian's argument requires?"

So an Assumption question asks for something that is already there and is underlying the argument, this is what makes it necessary. Think of it as a piece of foundational information that holds up an argument.

A Justify question is asking you to fill a hole with something new, so this is not something that was already in the argument. A justify question would be phrased something like "Which one of the following would enable the conclusion to be properly drawn?" This type of question is saying that we are missing something and need to add it in order for the conclusion to make sense.

Hope that helps,
Malila
 lolaSur
  • Posts: 47
  • Joined: Nov 11, 2019
|
#72145
Hi!

When I looked at the stimulus I tried to use the mechanical method to solving the answer to this justify the conclusion question. I tried looking for a term in the premises that was not in the conclusion or a term in the conclusion that was not in the premises so that I could try to connect the terms. I further tried to connect the information provided about Newton, a seventeeth-century physicist, to the information provided about the eighteenth century alchemists.

My thought process was the following: I know that Newton is remembered chiefly for his treatises on motion and gravity. This means that Newton published his work on motion and gravity and was successful. Similarly if the seventeenth century alchemists also published their works these alchemists could also be successful in causing science to be more advanced in the eighteenth century.

However, in your explanation here you focus only on the conclusion which is conditional. When should I focus solely on the conclusion and when should I focus on trying to find and connecting the different concepts within the stimulus?

When I did this question I picked E even though I was not certain that E was the correct answer. I picked E because unfortunately I did not know what hasten meant. For this reason, E appeared to be the most correct. Now that I have looked up the word hasten, I understand why B is the correct answer.

Thank you so much for your help!

For my reference: L4, Justify 1-5, q 2
Last edited by lolaSur on Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
 James Finch
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 944
  • Joined: Sep 06, 2017
|
#72173
Hi Lola,

The mechanical approach would still work here, although it becomes slightly trickier with a conditional conclusion like this. Here we have to apply the dangling premise of unsuccessful alchemical experiments and make that fit with a conditional statement that says Experiments Made Public :arrow: Science Advanced. The best way to do this is to Prephrase a generalized conditional principle that would fit the case here, something along the lines of, "Publicizing any experiment, successful or not, advances science." (B) gives us exactly that, although it may be more difficult to understand without knowing the word "hasten."

Hope this helps!
User avatar
 JocelynL
  • Posts: 51
  • Joined: Dec 22, 2020
|
#83903
Malila Robinson wrote: Thu May 10, 2018 1:08 pm Hi BlueBalloon,
As you stated an Assumption is something that is necessary for the argument. In the question you quoted you could remove the part that sounds like a Justify question and it would still ask for an Assumption.

Original question: "Which one of the following is an assumption that the art historian's argument requires in order for its conclusion to be properly drawn?"

Drop the Justify sounding part: "Which one of the following is an assumption that the art historian's argument requires?"

So an Assumption question asks for something that is already there and is underlying the argument, this is what makes it necessary. Think of it as a piece of foundational information that holds up an argument.

A Justify question is asking you to fill a hole with something new, so this is not something that was already in the argument. A justify question would be phrased something like "Which one of the following would enable the conclusion to be properly drawn?" This type of question is saying that we are missing something and need to add it in order for the conclusion to make sense.

Hope that helps,
Malila
Hello,
I came across this post and it confused me. How would we know to drop the "properly drawn" portion of the question stem and answer it as an assumption question rather to than to tackle it as a justify question?
User avatar
 KelseyWoods
PowerScore Staff
  • PowerScore Staff
  • Posts: 1080
  • Joined: Jun 26, 2013
|
#83999
Hi Jocelyn!

These question stems can get tricky!

Let's look at both of these examples:

#1: "Which one of the following assumptions would allow the conclusion concerning eighteenth-century chemistry to be properly drawn?"

#2: "Which one of the following is an assumption that the art historian's argument requires in order for its conclusion to be properly drawn?"

The phrase "properly drawn" is really not as important as the rest of the stem. What we're actually trying to determine is: are we looking for something that is necessary for the conclusion to be properly drawn or sufficient for the conclusion to be properly drawn?

In #1, we're being asked to find an assumption that would allow the conclusion to be properly drawn. If it's an assumption that allows the conclusion to be properly drawn, that's essentially saying that it is sufficient for the conclusion, which makes it a Justify question.

In #2, we're being asked for an assumption that the argument requires for its conclusion to be properly drawn. If the answer choice is required for the argument, that's a necessary Assumption question.

Basically, there are some terms and phrases that are typically found in certain question stem types, but you're always going to have to rely on the exact wording of the stem and the relationship that they are describing between the answer choice and the stimulus. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that "every time you see this word/phrase it's this type of question"--there are so many variations in how the LSAT makers word their questions. Read closely and think about those relationships!

Hope this helps!

Best,
Kelsey

Get the most out of your LSAT Prep Plus subscription.

Analyze and track your performance with our Testing and Analytics Package.