The Logical Reasoning Tomato Duper!

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Dearest LSAT friends, I want to be completely honest with you. We’ve been through thick and thin on this blog and on your LSAT prep journey. I believe it’s my duty to tell you the truth. This past Sunday, in a moment of weakness, I was duped by flawed logic. I feel that I have betrayed you, dear logical “reasoners.” I hope that in coming clean and explaining the flaw to you, we can make amends and get past this. Every one is human, after all.  Heed my story and forget not the fallacies we have gone over, so that this grievance will not be done to you!

Okay, so it wasn’t that intense, but we have to take Logical Reasoning seriously! So, what happened? One of my little Sunday pleasures is to drive over to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, buy fresh produce, eat brunch and walk around. I try to go every Sunday because it gets me out in the sun, and I feel like I’m doing my part for my body and local farmers in buying organic, locally grown produce. This Sunday I was in a bit of a hurry and I needed to buy a bunch of tomatoes to make a delicious red sauce for pasta. The tomato guy I usually went to was unfortunately not there, and so I had to venture onward and find a replacement tomato vendor. I saw a simple stand with a bunch of tomatoes aesthetically stacked in barrels. A couple of the tomatoes were sliced open showing the deep red of the meat inside. They were beautiful tomatoes. I walked up and asked the vendor if all the tomatoes were as red inside. He said, “Grab any one you want and we can slice it in front of you.” In my rush of having to go home, I didn’t find anything wrong with the vendor’s statement, grabbed a tomato from the barrel and handed it to him. He sliced it in front of me and there it was, deliciously dark red meat. I bought 10 tomatoes, and got home as quickly as possible to start my pasta sauce.

As I started slicing the tomatoes, to my complete surprise and utter disappointment, six of the ten tomatoes were pink and not dark red inside. I was irate! How could this be!? The vendor showed me how the tomatoes were all red inside! Or did he? Let’s rewind. I asked the vendor, “Are all of the tomatoes as red inside?” He answered, “Grab any one you want and we can slice it in front of you.” Basically, the vendor’s argument was:

I will slice whatever one tomato from the barrel that you choose, and it will be dark red inside. Therefore, all of the tomatoes in the barrel are red.

What flaw immediately jumps at you? Part to whole. This flaw occurs when parts of a whole have a characteristic that you assume the whole must have, as well. For instance, “This piece of the bike was handmade, therefore, the whole bike was handmade.” Likewise, regarding the tomato vendor scandal, just because one of the tomatoes from the barrel is dark red inside, doesn’t mean they all are! And I, your LSAT Guru, fell for it. Why? Because I was rushing!

So, what must we take away from this? First, everyone commits logical fallacies once in a while. Don’t fret your pretty LSAT prep head. Second, your biggest traitor is rushing through the prompt. Don’t skip over identifying the premise and conclusion of each argument. And, in case you were worried, the sauce still turned out great in the end.

Happy Studying!

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Updated on Aug 18, 2016