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December 2004 LSAT
Agricultural economist: Over the past several years, increases in worldwide grain production have virtually ceased. ...
on October 9, 2018
What;'s the answer?
on February 3, 2019
Why is E correct?
on February 5, 2019
@Ceci and @Shiyi-Zhang,
Happy to help.
The agricultural economist opens her argument by saying that over the
last several years, increases in worldwide grain production have
virtually ceased. These are facts.
She then says that further increases in production will be really
tough because most usable farmland is already being farmed almost as
efficiently as it can be.
However, she says that worldwide demand for grain has been increasing
steadily, largely due to the continuing population growth. As a result
of this, she posits that a severe worldwide grain shortage is likely.
In order to answer this question well, it's imperative that we have a
great grasp of the argument structure that's present.
There are two ideas being supported in the stimulus: further increases
will be extremely difficult and a severe worldwide grain shortage is
Which one of these is the overall conclusion? We can put the two
phrases next to each other with a 'because' in between them to see
which one makes more sense as the overall conclusion.
further increases (in production) will be extremely difficult BECAUSE
a severe worldwide grain shortage is likely
Does that make sense? Not at all. Let's try the other way around.
a severe worldwide grain shortage is likely BECAUSE further increases
(in production) will be extremely difficult
Does this one make sense? Yes, it does! This means that 'a severe
worldwide grain shortage is likely' is our main conclusion, and
'further increases will be extremely difficult' is a
subsidiary/intermediate conclusion that supports the overall
conclusion of the argument.
The question stem asks us to identify the role played by the claim
that further increases in worldwide grain production will be extremely
difficult. This is what we identified as the subsidiary/intermediate
conclusion, so we need to go to the answers with that in mind.
(E) says, "It is an intermediate conclusion that is presented as
evidence for the argument's main conclusion."
This is exactly what we had anticipated the correct answer saying, so
(E) is our choice.
Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!
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