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 Administrator
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#34754
Complete Question Explanation
(See the complete passage discussion here: lsat/viewtopic.php?t=14088)

The correct answer choice is (C)

As described above, the author’s main point is that the Marcusian view is incorrect. Rational, informed adults are capable of seeing past advertising techniques and are able to freely and intentionally purchase advertised products and derive real, rather than false, fulfillment from their use.

Answer choice (A): Although the author did say that advertisements can occasionally provide fulfillment through the entertainment value of the commercials themselves (lines 47-49), the author did not label advertisements “socially valuable,” and did not say that commercials are an effective means of informing consumers.

Answer choice (B): Here, the answer choice is consistent with the passage as far as it goes, but it does not capture the author’s view that rational, informed adults can make willful decisions in response to advertisements that enable them to receive genuine fulfillment.

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice because it reflects the author’s overall point that the Marcusian view is mistaken because rational consumers are able to make conscious, willful decisions in response to advertisements and are even capable of obtaining genuine fulfillment of real needs despite companies’ advertising techniques.

Answer choice (D): In this case, the answer choice is inconsistent with the passage because the author tells us that an implication of the Marcusian view is that people cannot distinguish their real needs from the false needs created by advertisers. According to the author, the Marcusians’ error is in assuming that people do not respond to advertisements autonomously.

Answer choice (E): This answer choice is incorrect because the author explicitly states in the second paragraph: “Marcuse supposed that we all have certain real needs, both physical and psychological.” (Lines 16-17).
 snowy
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#63740
Hi! Can someone reiterate why D is incorrect? I'm not sure if I am reading something wrong but it doesn't feel like the explanation above addresses what answer choice D says, and I can't find much in the passage that goes against D. (I was between C and D and ultimately went with C, but more so as a guess than because I truly figured out that C was correct). Thank you!
 Adam Tyson
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#63848
Happy to help there, snowy, and I agree that answer D looks enticing. However, there are two problems that I see with it. First, the Marcusians (boy, do they sound like something right out of Star Trek!) DO consider whether people can make autonomous choices, and ultimately they determine that they cannot.

Second, and more important, is that even if you think their having assumed that people cannot make those choices means that they did not really consider the alternative, this answer doesn't capture the Main Point of the passage, but only a portion of it. The main point is more than just what the critics of advertising do, but that they are wrong, and that people can make choices freely even while being aware that they are being manipulated. Answer D just doesn't go far enough! It's not enough for an answer to be true - it has to answer the question that was asked. These "true but wrong" answers are a common trap on Main Point questions.

To protect yourself from being drawn in by answers like this one, start with your prephrase. What was this passage all about? What was the author driving at or trying to prove? I'd start with something like "the Marcusians are wrong because people can freely and intentionally use consumer goods to get real fulfillment." Answer D never quite gets to the part about what people can do, and doesn't really say that the Marcusians are wrong, and for those reasons it is a wrong answer to this Main Point question.
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 mkarimi73
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#97381
I picked (B) because I was dissuaded by the phrase in (C) that said: "Marcusian arguments regarding advertisers' creation of false needs are mistaken.." It was my interpretation that the author was disputing an assumption upon which Marcusian arguments are based, not disputing the arguments themselves. The author was not disputing that the advertisements create false needs in consumers, but rather the author was disputing the assumption that consumers cannot distinguish between real and false needs in ads.

Am I reading too much into this? My pre-phrase matched (C) very nicely, but I got dissuaded by that first phrase in (C) and end up choosing (B), even though I did not like the latter half of (B). In addition, I realized that I misinterpreted "obscured" in (B), which means "not clearly expressed or easily understood." Thus, (B) is actually contradicted in the passage, since the author states that consumers do know the difference in the last paragraph.

What's the best way to approach these Main Point questions? Pre-phrases help a lot, but I would argue it is also trying to find issues with the answer choices in order to eliminate, correct?
 Robert Carroll
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#97407
mkarimi,

While it's certainly possible for someone to claim that someone else has a mistaken assumption, but then ultimately agree with that person's conclusion, that's definitely not happening here. The author does not regard the Marcusian assumption as an unfortunate error in an otherwise sound argument, but a key error in a fundamentally misguided argument. The author completely disagrees with the Marcusians. That said, the phrase that caused you hesitation in answer choice (C) is in fact exactly correct.

Prephrasing is important, and finding problems with answer choices is always helpful for First Family question, because an answer partly right and partly wrong is always totally wrong. Here, the issue seemed to be that you didn't understand how fundamentally mistaken the author thinks the Marcusian perspective is.

Robert Carroll
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 mkarimi73
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#97561
I wouldn't say the author completely disagrees with Marcuse when the author concedes "It is no doubt true that in many--perhaps even most--cases the use of an advertised product does not yield the precise sort of emotional dividend that advertisements seem to promise." The author states this clearly in the last paragraph. Thus, I don't think you can say that the author "completely" disagrees.

Nonetheless, it doesn't matter. I guess you have to choose the best answer choice on the LSAT that matches your pre-phrase and captures the author's voice/main point in writing the passage.
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 Jeff Wren
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#97900
Hi mkarimi73,

While the author does concede that using an advertised product doesn't necessarily yield the emotional dividend promised in the ad, that is in the context of an overall critique of Marcuse's arguments. In other words, the author is basically saying, "Sure, you may not literally feel like a winner after eating Wheaties as their ad seems to suggest, but you still get to enjoy eating the cereal and buyers understand the difference."

When reading answer (C), it may be helpful to read it as saying "Marcusian arguments regarding advertisers' creation of false needs are mistaken" specifically in so far as these arguments fail to realize that "individuals are able to make autonomous decisions ...." In other words, the Marcusian arguments are mistaken about this specific issue.

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