With which one of the following statements about the society in which the clay tokens were used would Schmandt-Besser...

Sam on July 6, 2019

Why D over A?

Hello there, LSATMax team. I do not understand why choose D over A. While I was doing this reading, I struggled between A and D. While I could see how the last paragraph seeks to gradually explain that the two marks on tablet does two tokens job, it does not seem to directly or explicitly suggest the claims D made. D says that the token system was replaced because it was disregarded as redundant. However, this claim to me seems too strong: people could reasonably replace the token system with tablet system due to the fact that it is easier to carry (just one tablet instead of many tokens), safer against theft, etc, and last paragraph supports these theses just as much as it would support redundancy as the primary reason for which the society got rid of the tokens. On the other hand, I think A's claim could be better inferred from the researcher's theory that the tokens were used as official records to ensure individual economic contributions (pretty much taxes), and both features entail that a strong central governmental authority was in place. So that's why I chose A over D. I greatly appreciate your response, and the past instructors responses have been generally helpful to me personally. For this question, however, could you please specifically identify the errors that occurred in my reasoning (or why the reasoning you provide is right and how do I know that yours is right and mine is wrong) in addition to your reasoning? I think that would help me better understand, thank you very much!

1 Reply

Victoria on July 6, 2019

Hi @samxinghaoli,

A is incorrect because it is too far of a leap to make. There are three main issues with answer choice A:

1) The passage solely tells us that villagers contributed to "temple-based grain and livestock pools." While it does mention that there was a rise in industry in 4000 BC, this is not sufficient to conclude that there were multiple economic activities that were managed by a governmental authority.

2) Contributions to "grain and livestock pools" sound more like a social safety net than a trade system.

3) We know that the pools were "temple-based." This sounds more like a temple-by-temple regional religious authority than a centralized governmental authority.

In comparison, D is supported by lines 38 to 40 which state that "the token system...was replaced...by a system of clay tablets." The use of the word 'replaced' implies that the token system was outdated or redundant and was replaced by a superior model. In addition to this, lines 46 to 53 outline how the tokens evolved to the tablets. As opposed to using two ovoid tokens, the tablet system allowed the society to convey the same message using two, eventually three, markings. This reduces redundancies as the communication now requires one tablet as opposed to two identical tablets.

When going through reading passages, make sure that you are not filling in your own assumptions and interpretations. We can only draw conclusions based on the information that is provided to us in the passage.

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