LSAT Logical Reasoning : Determine the method of reasoning used in the argument

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for LSAT Logical Reasoning

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Method Of Reasoning

A small shop has a policy that in order to sell fruit at the front of the store, it must be both organic and locally grown. Recently, a producer who has farmland slightly more than a quarter of a mile away wanted to have his persimmons sold at the store and showcased in the store’s large wooden display case. Upon receiving his request, the storeowners did a background check and determined that the farmer’s produce was in fact organic. Therefore, the storeowners allowed the farmer’s persimmons to be sold as he had requested. 

The argument’s conclusion follows logically if which of the following is assumed to be true?

Possible Answers:

It can reasonably be inferred that if the farmer’s land is a little more than a quarter of a mile away from the store that he would qualify as a local farmer. 

Customers tend to buy organic and locally grown produce much more frequently than other produce that is not labeled as such. 

Only fruit that would be allowed in the front of the store can be showcased in the store’s large wooden display case. 

If the farmer did not use organic farming practices, he would not have been allowed to sell his produce in the store. 

In order for produce to be deemed organic, it is necessary to conduct a background check on the farming practices. 

Correct answer:

Only fruit that would be allowed in the front of the store can be showcased in the store’s large wooden display case. 

Explanation:

The passage explains that the farmer’s persimmons are organic, and a reasonable inference can be made that they are also locally grown. Given that the passage states that “…therefore” the farmer may sell the persimmons in the shop, the argument will only logically flow if it is required that the farmer’s persimmons be both organic and locally grown. Given that these are the same prerequisites for selling the fruit at the front of the store, "Only fruit that would be allowed in the front of the store can be showcased in the store’s large wooden display case" is the correct answer. None of the other answer choices make it clear that it is required for the persimmons to be both organic and locally grown. 

Example Question #1 : Method Of Reasoning

Publisher: It is usually not a good idea for a first-time author to begin with a novel which the author intends to become part of a series. Most series novels are not published, but publishing companies are more likely to make series deals with authors who have previously published at least one stand-alone novel. If the stand-alone novel is a success, it is a good possibility that a subsequent series by that author will also be successful.

Which one of the following most accurately describes the role played in the publisher’s argument by the statement that most series novels are not published?

Possible Answers:

It identifies a condition which, if not met, is fatal to the argument’s main conclusion.

It is one of the argument’s conclusions, but not its main conclusion.

It is an unsupported statement which serves only to weaken the argument.

It is the argument’s only conclusion.

It is a claim that is used to introduce another claim which supports the argument’s main conclusion.

Correct answer:

It is a claim that is used to introduce another claim which supports the argument’s main conclusion.

Explanation:

While not vital to the argument, the claim that most series novels are not published is used to lead to the argument’s main premise, which is that publishing a stand-alone novel gives authors a better chance of later publishing a series. The statement does not weaken the argument, but rather puts it in context.

Example Question #2 : Method Of Reasoning

Shopping in person is an activity that many people loathe. This accounts for the popularity of online shopping, which has few of the hassles of in-person shopping. Online shoppers are able to avoid lines, traffic, and having to hunt around the store for the items they need. With a few keystrokes and a credit card, they can accomplish a task in a few minutes that might have taken hours in "real life."

The claim that shopping in person is an activity that many people loathe plays which of the following roles in the argument?

Possible Answers:

It is a generalization which is based on the premise that in-person shopping takes considerably more time to accomplish than online shopping.

It is a premise given as a reason for the conclusion that online shopping is popular.

It is a conclusion supported by evidence of the hassles of in-person shopping in comparison to online shopping.

It is a premise supported by the claim that online shoppers can accomplish their task quickly with a few keystrokes and a credit card.

It is a conclusion supported by the premise that online shopping is becoming increasingly popular.

Correct answer:

It is a premise given as a reason for the conclusion that online shopping is popular.

Explanation:

This claim sets up the argument, which concludes that online shopping is popular precisely because many people loathe shopping in person. It is, therefore, a premise and not a conclusion, and is the reason for the conclusion. While it might feasibly be characterized as a generalization, that is not the role the claim plays in the argument.

Example Question #1 : Determine The Method Of Reasoning Used In The Argument

Bill: Popular musicians today cannot find much success through the traditional routes.  Since nearly all of their songs are now available for easy access on streaming web sites and services, they cannot hope to make money by selling albums.  Now they must focus on live shows, and must increase the shows’ ticket prices if they hope to gain any profit.

Karen: Why do you think success should only be measured in terms of direct sales?  Much of the job of musicians is to publicize themselves, and any exposure they can get is useful in the long run, even if initially they don’t receive immediate royalties.  This was true even before the digital age.

Karen responds to Bill’s argument by

Possible Answers:

presenting evidence that directly contradicts Bill’s offered evidence

misrepresenting the argument’s premises and conclusion

casting doubt on Bill’s knowledge about the concept of proper marketing

showing that the argument is fundamentally flawed in its method of reasoning

suggesting an alternative standard to evaluate the point being discussed

Correct answer:

suggesting an alternative standard to evaluate the point being discussed

Explanation:

Karen does not argue against Bill’s conclusion directly, but rather offers an alternate standard by which to evaluate the commercial “success” of musicians.  Thus, Karen does not claim Bill’s reasoning is fallacious nor that any of his premises are incorrect; she merely reframes the argument by focusing on one of its key terms.

Example Question #4 : Method Of Reasoning

James: Public schools should require students to wear uniforms.  Studies have shown that both violence and bullying can be curtailed if such measures are taken.

Violet: I don't agree.  Those same studies show that in schools where uniforms are required, there was still an average of 11.6 reported episodes of gang-related incidents and 8.4 reported bullying incidents per month.  With those kinds of numbers, uniforms are clearly not worth the loss of student self-expression. 

Violet responds to James' argument in which one of the following ways?

Possible Answers:

She disputes one of James' premises and argues that its refutation justifies disregarding James' conclusion.

She criticizes a flaw in James' reasoning and shows how his premises, even when taken at face value, fail to justify his conclusion.

She challenges James' conclusion by noting that the value of self-expression is such that it outweighs most concerns regarding violence against the individual.

She notes an inherent ambiguity in the word "violence" and argues that such a term cannot be effectively quantified.

She cites statistics showing that uniforms actually increase, rather than decrease, gang-related violence and bullying in schools that require uniforms.

Correct answer:

She disputes one of James' premises and argues that its refutation justifies disregarding James' conclusion.

Explanation:

Violet's primary disagreement with James is with his idea that "both violence and bullying can be curtailed" if uniforms are required at schools.  She cites statistics showing that they will not be curtailed, thus disputing his premise.  With that premise disregarded, she argues that his conclusion does not follow in light of the loss of student self-expression that wearing uniforms entails.  The remaining answer choices do not correctly characterize Violet's response.

Example Question #2 : Determine The Method Of Reasoning Used In The Argument

Carlos: Beethoven is clearly the best of the Romantic era's composers.  His melodies, diversity of genre, and innovations in musical form make him unsurpassed among composers of his time.

Susan: But Beethoven is best characterized as a Classical era composer.  True, he did bring about the transition to Romanticism near the end of his career, but his styles and innovations were firmly rooted in the Classical period.

Susan responds to Carlos' argument by

Possible Answers:

proposing a compromise based on her disagreement with one of his fundamental premises

 using an analogy to illustrate the proper classification of Beethoven's music

pointing out a factual dispute existing in the classical music community

challenging his conclusion on the basis that it makes an improper comparison

noting an inaccuracy in his formal definition of the word "Romantic"

Correct answer:

challenging his conclusion on the basis that it makes an improper comparison

Explanation:

Susan believes that Carlos' conclusion is erroneous solely because it makes an improper comparison: pitting a Classical era composer against Romantic era composers.  Because she believes Carlos' categorization is improper, she dismisses his entire argument on that basis.  Susan does not bring up any terminology differences; she merely argues that the "Romantic" label does not apply to Beethoven.  Nor does she use an analogy, mention a factual dispute, or propose a compromise.

Example Question #6 : Method Of Reasoning

Frank: I’m tired of hearing people talk about ghosts and disembodied spirits nowadays. Everyone knows that thousands of years ago these supernatural forces were given as explanations for phenomena which we could not explain. Now that we have a scientific explanation for these occurrences, there’s no reason to go back to the old myths.

Annie: These old myths, while they might not sound as logical as you’d like them to, are vital to the continuing development of both religion and literature in many cultures. Besides, who is to say that ghosts don’t exist? Just because something can be explained scientifically doesn’t rule out the possibility of supernatural intervention that happens to utilize natural laws.

Annie’s statement that the “old myths” spoken of by Frank were vital to the development of religion and literature in many cultures serves to:

Possible Answers:

challenge Frank’s conclusion by providing an example of usefulness outside a scientific context

merely change the topic of discussion rather than address Frank’s argument

illustrate a point which is further developed in the remainder of Annie’s argument

provide an emotional argument to challenge Frank’s logical one

refute Frank’s assertion that supernatural forces cannot explain certain phenomena

Correct answer:

challenge Frank’s conclusion by providing an example of usefulness outside a scientific context

Explanation:

Frank concludes that these “old myths” are antiquated, and implies that they are useless in light of modern scientific explanations. Annie’s statement does not dispute the scientific usefulness of the old myths, but rather provides an example of their usefulness on different grounds.

Example Question #7 : Method Of Reasoning

A school teacher divides her class into three separate groups based on students' reading abilities. She thinks this will allow her best students to get ahead in reading, math, and science, while also allowing her weakest students to work with her best students and learn from them as well as herself.

The method of reasoning used by this teacher is best described as __________.

Possible Answers:

believing that learning reading, math, and science requires quite different skills from students

assuming the best students at one skill are the best students overall

believing that each child has discrete skills that can help the entire class

assuming that the poor students will not be able to improve

thinking that students will learn better when divided into smaller groups

Correct answer:

assuming the best students at one skill are the best students overall

Explanation:

The teacher has divided her class by skill level, but only in terms of reading ability. Yet, she still has these divisions set up to help the students improve in reading, math, and science. This means that the teacher believes learning ability in skills in one area translate to success in other areas.

Example Question #157 : Lsat Logical Reasoning

The spread of viral diseases like Ebola is not just a medical problem, but an infrastructure problem. Building more roads and better sewage systems will allow a much easier path to fighting the disease for aid workers and medical professionals. Once the sick and dying can be more readily reached, the disease will be much more easily combatted.

The method of reasoning in this passage is best described as __________.

Possible Answers:

creating a larger issue than the one being addressed.

assuming an event will automatically create another event.

working through all possibilities to find a solution.

seeing a problem as multidimensional and fluid.

viewing a single action as the solution to a problem.

Correct answer:

viewing a single action as the solution to a problem.

Explanation:

The passage proposes that the serious problem of a terrible disease can be easily solved by the panacea of better infrastructure, which is then asserted to be easy to place in the countries fighting Ebola. One can articulate the passage's method of reasoning in saying that the passage views the solution to a problem as being found in a single action.

Example Question #3 : Determine The Method Of Reasoning Used In The Argument

Executive: The new software has outperformed its predecessor in first month sales. The upgrade to the interface is the most obvious change between the two versions. All software should now be outfitted with the same interface.

The best description of the executive’s reasoning is that __________.

Possible Answers:

the cause of a new event is never easily deduced at first

a massive change in circumstances must have many causes

a singular event has no obvious consequences

a preceding event is necessarily a cause of a following action

the direct effect of any action is not repeatable

Correct answer:

a preceding event is necessarily a cause of a following action

Explanation:

The executive's reasoning is extremely straightforward and, in fact, rather crude. This does not make it easy to describe, however, and it is important to note that the executive directly links the new interface to the program's success in a large way. This indicates the executive sees the preceding event of the interface change as causing the software's success.

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