The author would be most likely to agree with which one of the following statements?

First on August 8, 2019

Question 7 - Sales vs. Shipping question

My question is regarding answer choice A on this question. I think there is valid reason to argue A could be correct. Sorry in advance for the CAPS, just a tool for emphasis, not intending to yell ;-) A) reads "that the sales department TAKEN BY ITSELF is not critical to the company's success as a whole" - to me, this reads "on its own, the sales department cannot guarantee the success of the whole company", which is essentially exactly what the shipping manager says - "There are several departments OTHER THAN SALES that also MUST function successfully for the COMPANY to succeed". The way the sentence is constructed, the LSAT authors have once again intended to confuse us because it implies sales is not critical at all, but if read with the important phrase "taken by itself", the meaning changes. Sales is critical, but NOT if taken by itself. Again, this is a restatement of the Shipping Manager's exact argument. Answer choice D is clearly defensible too, but can you please provide some additional explanation for why A is absolutely incorrect? Thanks!

3 Replies

Irina on August 8, 2019


Great question and totally appropriate use of CAPS.

Let's review the argument:

Sales M tells us that the highest priority should be given to the needs of the sales department because without successful sales the company will fail.

Shipping M counters by saying that there are several departments other than sales that also must function successfully for the company to succeed. It is impossible to give the highest priority to all of them.

Sales M basically says that a successful sales department is a necessary condition for the company's success. Shipping M criticizes his argument by saying that successful departments xyz are also necessary for the company's success. Shipping M is not saying that the sales department is not critical/ necessary by itself, but that there are other departments that are equally critical. Even though (A) uses "taken by itself," the meaning is is still the same. The sales department is critical to the success of the company independent of other departments, think about it as one of many necessary conditions. It is accurate to thus say that sales department taken by itself is necessary for the success of the company, even though by itself it is not sufficient.

Does this help?

Let me know if you have any other questions.

First on August 8, 2019

Thanks for your detailed response, Irina! So basically, the Shipping Manager and the Sales Manager place the Sales Department in different positions re: Sufficient and Necessary? Shipping Manager says it is a necessary department, in conjunction with other depts, while Sales Manager says Sales is the Sufficient Dept for the company's success, therefore not requiring any other dept? Also, if you could let me know where this question is in the book, that would be helpful...I can't find it anywhere, and there aren't any master page numbers in the paperback copy so I have no reference point!

Thanks again!

Irina on August 8, 2019

That's right, sales manager says just because it is necessary it should get highest priority, and the shipping manager agrees that it is necessary but points out that it is not sufficient, and there are other departments that are necessary as well. I do not have access to the copy of the printed materials that come with the course unfortunately, but this question is from December 1999 LSAT,Section 4, Question 16 if that helps.