University spokesperson: Most of the students surveyed at the university said they would prefer that the current food...

Sean on November 7, 2018

PT 80, S4, Q11

I don't understand why the answer is A, over C, or E. Could you please explain? Thank you!

1 Reply

Mehran on November 7, 2018

Hi @smilde11, thanks for your post. Let's start with a careful assessment of the stimulus (as always). This one presents an argument; the conclusion is "we should rehire Hall Dining next year." Why? The premises given are that (1) most of the students surveyed at the university said they would prefer that the current food vendor be replaced (2) several vendors have publicly expressed interest in working for the university (3) the only alternative is Hall Dining (4) Hall Dining was the vendor up until this past year and (5) the preferences of the majority of students should be adhered to.

The question stem presents an Errors of Reasoning question. What is wrong with this argument, we are asked?

You can eliminate answer choice (C) because it is irrelevant. Notice that the argument in the stimulus does not say that the *only* factor to be considered is student preference. Rather, premise #3 is that Hall Dining is the only viable alternative to the current vendor. Thus, the author of this stimulus is not basing her conclusion solely on student preferences; rather, she is also considering what vendor(s) might actually be available to take the current vendor's place. Answer choice (C) can be eliminated because it is not an accurate description of the error in reasoning in this particular stimulus.

Answer choice (E) is logically identical to answer choice (C). Again: the author of the stimulus is *not* arguing that "a certain action" (rehiring Hall Dining) should be undertaken "merely on the grounds that it would be popular." Rather, the author of the stimulus explains, in the premise I have labeled #3, that only one vendor is a viable alternative to the current vendor. If answer choice (C) were correct, answer choice (E) would also be correct, and vice versa - and you can only have one right answer on any given LSAT question.

Answer choice (A) is correct because it points out a possible disconnect between the two argumentative premises supporting the ultimate conclusion: one about student preferences, and the other about which vendor is actually viable to replace the current vendor. Yes, we know that a majority of the students want the current vendor gone - but would the majority of students still feel that way if they knew that the only option is to revert back to Hill Dining? Maybe not, right? And this is the possibility that is overlooked by the argument. Put another way: the author of the stimulus never connects Premises 1 & 5, on the one hand, with Premises 2, 3 & 4, on the other. This is a weakness in her argument.

Hope this helps.