Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?

Meckena on May 31, 2019

Question 12

In question 12 my original thinking was the question used the word "accident" in 2 different different senses, because it begins by using accident as a whole and then later generalizes to household accidents. How can i avoid falling into this trap. It reminded me of question 4 where it compared retiring from quad city and retiring in general. I understand now how B is logical but C still seems like a possible choice.

3 Replies

Victoria on May 31, 2019

Hi @Meckena-Hilton,

When an answer choice suggests that the reasoning is flawed because the argument uses a word in two different senses, it is generally referring to instances where a word is used to mean two different things, as opposed to where a word is used once to refer to a general concept and then a second time to refer to a more specific subset of this concept, as 'accident' and 'household accident' were used in this question. Household accidents are a type of accident. Therefore, the word 'accident' is not used to mean something different here.

An example where a word/phrase is used in two different ways can be found in the June 2004 LSAT: Section 3, Question 18.

"In a highly publicized kidnapping case in Ontario, the judge barred all media and spectators from the courtroom. Her decision was based on the judgment that the public interest would not be served by allowing spectators. A local citizen argued, 'They pleaded with the public to help find the victim; they pleaded with the public to provide tips; they aroused the public interest, then they claimed that allowing us to attend would not serve the public interest. These actions are inconsistent."

Question Stem:
"The reasoning in the local citizen's argument is flawed because this argument..."

Correct Answer:
"Trades on an ambiguity with respect to the term 'public interest'"

In this example, the judge uses 'public interest' to refer to the broader welfare or wellbeing of the general public. The local citizen argues that the judge's conclusion was incorrect because the public contributed to the case which piqued their interest and that not allowing them to attend the trial is against this 'public interest.'

This is a flawed argument because it does not matter if the public was interested in the case. The judge based her decision on the judgment that the public interest (used to refer to the broader welfare or wellbeing of the general public) would not be served by allowing the public to attend the trial.

As you can see from this example, the word or phrase is used in two drastically different ways as opposed to referring to a general concept and then a specific subset of this concept as in your example question.

Keep practicing and you will find you get better at picking out flaws in reasoning!

Hope this was helpful! Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Victoria on May 31, 2019

Sorry @Meckena-*Hultin autocorrect

Kenji on April 13 at 06:27AM

I have similar question to one that was asked by another student. In example 12, the video says clearly there are more left-handed people than right-handed people in the general population. If I had assumed this to be true, I probably gotten the correct answer. However, I thought we should not assume anything unless it's implied or stated in the paragraph. That said, I want to know what sort of "assumptions" are ok to be made in lsat question. Is it just based on common knowledge? Thanks.