To predict that a device will be invented, one must develop a conception of the device that includes some details at ...

Rachel on March 20, 2018

Help

Hi, could you please explain what the answer choices mean? Thanks!

1 Reply

Mehran on March 22, 2018

Hi there, yes absolutely. One of the hardest things about methods of reasoning / errors in reasoning questions on the LSAT is the abstract language the test writers use for the answer choices. As you practice, it is very important to try to "convert" this abstract language into plain English (in your mind) to ensure that you do not inadvertently select the wrong answer.

Always start with the stimulus, to ensure you understand it.

The stimulus here presents an argument. The conclusion of the argument is "the notion of predicting an invention is self-contradictory." The premises given in support of that conclusion are: (1) to predict that a device will be invented, one must develop a conception of the device that includes some details at least about how it will function and the consequences of its use, and (2) inventing means developing a detailed conception, (3) and one cannot predict what has already taken place.

The argument therefore proceeds by appealing to definitions ("to predict" means . . . and "to invent" means . . .) to infer the impossibility of a kind of occurrence ("the notion of predicting an invention is self-contradictory"). That's answer choice (B).

(A) can be eliminated because the argument in the stimulus does not provide "a general hypothesis about the future."

(C) can be eliminated because there is no "indicati[on of] the falsehood of the implications of a hypothesis.

(D) can be eliminated because there is nothing in the stimulus about how this issue is "widely thought to be scientific."

And (E) can be eliminated (although it's probably the wrong answer that appeals to the most students) because the *method** of reasoning here does not involve showing anything (i.e., with evidence or facts) - it's just based on definitions.

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any additional questions.