By referring to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as "purely programmatic" (line 49) in nature, the author mo...

Jory on August 16, 2018

Example 2

I sort of have a reoccurring issue with all LR questions that this example about the 19th century floorboards helps articulate. I think I sort of understand what happens to me but I'm wondering if maybe there's some sort of general rule that could help me when I get confused. In this example, the correct answer (B) requires a logical next step in reasoning, ie the floorboards being effectively the same piece means that the voice to use narrow floorboards is unnecessary, but indicates a choice to spend more money on the narrow vs the wider. In answer choice (A), why couldn't I have taken it one step further in saying that perhaps the reason why the houses with narrow floorboards lasted longer was because they were of better quality? If they were of better quality, wouldn't it mean that perhaps they cost more, and that would strengthen the argument that better quality costs more and only the wealthy could afford better quality? I'm not sure if this is making sense but my point is that I get confused as to when it is ok to take an answer choice one step further vs when it is not, and this could mean the difference between getting an answer right vs wrong. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

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Mehran on September 24, 2018

@joryjes example 2 is a cause & effect argument. The observed effect that the author is trying to explain is "that the boards used on the floors of bigger houses were generally much narrower than those used on the floors of smaller houses."

The author's proposed cause? Narrow boards were a status symbol, designed to proclaim the owner's wealth.

We know that one way to strengthen cause and effect arguments is by ruling out alternative causes.

Now let's address this idea of taking an answer choice one step further because that is actually not what we are doing with (B).

(B) tells us that a price of narrow floorboard was effectively the same price as piece of wide floorboard. This rules out a possible alternative explanation to the observed effect of cost considerations. Since bigger houses have more floor, it would take more materials to cover their floors. Maybe this is why we see more narrow floorboards in bigger houses, i.e. they are more cost effective than wide boards.

(B) rules this out by saying they cost the same, which obviously means it would cost more to cover since more narrow boards would be required than wide boards.

This is not a jump or an assumption. This is fact.

That is the difference between (B) and your example in (A).

All (A) says is that more original floorboards survived. You don't even know that these "surviving boards" are narrow. That is not stated in (A) so that would be your first improper assumption. Second, you are assuming the reason they survived has to do with quality, another unwarranted assumption.

Does that make sense?

Jory on October 3, 2018

Yes. Thank you so much

Olivia on March 10, 2020

For example 2, why is E irrelevant? Wouldn't the fact that the bigger houses have more expensive material support the historian's argument that more wealthier people live in bigger houses by showing that their houses have more expensive materials than the smaller houses?