LSAT Reading : Strengthen or Weaken Argument in Social Science Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for LSAT Reading

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Example Questions

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Example Question #61 : Social Science

The desire for a good meal is a near universal fact of human existence. Yet precisely what makes a meal “good” is highly dependent on personal preferences, cultural traditions, and the particular circumstances surrounding the search for a satisfying dining experience. The quality of the food being eaten might not even be the number one criteria in making a diner find a meal enjoyable, although it would be the main driving force in choosing what to eat and why. Certainly, the environment plays a large part in creating feelings of satisfaction during a meal, as no one has ever enjoyed a meal in a mood of anxiety and stress or in a setting which was uncomfortable. Even the most basic meals are enhanced when they are served by beloved family members in a festive setting. Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners are always well remembered, even when the turkey and dressing are premade, reheated items. The principle of dining environment also extends to eating out, as a restaurant can serve mediocre food in a pleasant environment with tremendous service and do quite well for itself. Of course, the restaurant with remarkable service in an enjoyable setting that also has high quality food will beat everything. Well flavored and perfectly cooked food hits the basic pleasure centers of the brain in a straightforward way, and any good tasting food will make a person much happier and satisfied. If it comes from a roadside shack, a family diner, or a three star Michelin restaurant can make no difference to the tastebuds. The overall atmosphere and experience is what makes good food into a great meal, and what causes this transformation depends on the background of the individual doing the eating. A person born and raised in Alabama who grew up regularly going to a shack serving excellent barbecue in its back yard will consider this the ideal dining experience. A native Osakan who once a week went to a ramen shop will find slurping noodles to be impossible to surpass as a meal. Meanwhile, a native Lyonnais will desire the finest gastronomic creations served in the fanciest restaurants to be the only acceptable good dining experience. The beauty of human interaction with food is that it is both one of the most elementary and universal experiences of the human condition, while also being absolutely particular to an individual’s culture, experience, and desires.

Which of the following statements, if true, would most weaken the author's argument?

Possible Answers:

When asked about dining preferences, most people respond with a range of different experiences they appreciate.

Making different styles of cuisine in a restaurant kitchen requires varying skills and costs for the restaurateur.

None of these answers is accurate.

The list of best restaurants in the country is dominated by traditional French fine dining restaurants.

A small diner is just as likely statistically to be a long term financial success as a fine dining establishment.

Correct answer:

The list of best restaurants in the country is dominated by traditional French fine dining restaurants.

Explanation:

As the author's argument is that a good dining experience is variable depending on circumstances and is therefore relatively unpredictable, a statement that weakens this argument needs to directly address this argument. The only answer choice which appropriately does this is "The list of best restaurants in the country is dominated by traditional French fine dining restaurants."

Example Question #71 : Social Science

"Team Sports" (2016)

Sports may seem to rule the world. The World Cup for association football, better known as soccer in North America and simply football in Britain, is the most watched event across the globe every four years. The Super Bowl, the championship for American football’s National Football League, has become a topic of conversation internationally, despite the localized reach of its parent league. The Indian Premier League tapped into a cricket mad population of over one billion, giving India a new national obsession in the twenty-first century.

Despite their ubiquity in our modern society, organized team sports are largely the invention of, to borrow from Sir Winston Churchill’s history writing, English speaking peoples during the nineteenth century. This is not to say that certain kinds of large scale games were never played, but they were seen primarily as children’s diversions. When played by adults, they took an informal, chaotic nature. “Football” often merely described a game played on foot rather than horseback, and it often had a simple target of one group of men attempting to get a ball past a parish or county boundary, with their opposition able to stop them anyway they saw fit. Cricket, the game of the upper classes that could play on days other than Sunday, was early developed compared to other sports, but it only had set numbers of players and regular length of games beginning in the mid-eighteenth century.

The nineteenth century saw a positive flood of rules for what were previously considered ways to keep kids amused during an afternoon. In New York, a men’s society calling themselves the Knickerbocker Club set down a firm set of rules for baseball, so that they could play it among themselves and against other teams. At England’s Cambridge University in 1848, a large group of students put together their different forms of football to create a more universal set of rules. The Melbourne Football Club from Victoria, Australia officially set down their own rules for their particular form of football in 1859, giving rise to the game now known as “Australian football.” The late nineteenth century saw the holdouts against the original Cambridge rules develop Rugby football on the principle that the ball should be handled occasionally, which would be modified into Rugby Union in the south of England, Rugby League in the north of England, and American and Canadian football in North America.

This obsession with rules might seem like a particularly Victorian pastime, making sure everything had its place and never allowing anything to get out of order. Yet it was also borne out of the fact that railroads meant that what used to be county pastimes could now be played at a national and even international level and newspapers allowed the stories of far away games to be transmitted almost instantaneously. The extra component that made organized team sports come into being would appear to be the will of the British and their former and current colonies to exert control and authority over every element of life.

Which of the following statements, if true, would most weaken the author's argument?

Possible Answers:

Organized team sports share many commonalities with less organized, older games played in past centuries

English speaking peoples created a wide variety of organizations and structures during the nineteenth century

Different sports are more popular in different parts of the world based on cultural preferences

There is little evidence of organized team sports in locations before being introduced by English speaking peoples

The official rules for a large number of team sports were created in the sixteenth century in Southern Europe

Correct answer:

The official rules for a large number of team sports were created in the sixteenth century in Southern Europe

Explanation:

The author's argument is that organized team sports as they are known in modern society are the result of English speaking peoples during the nineteenth century. If there was evidence that a large number of sports were created earlier in a place where there were not English-speaking peoples, this would directly undermine the author's argument.

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