Mary, a veterinary student, has been assigned an experiment in mammalian physiology that would require her to take a ...

on August 29 at 12:39AM


Can someone please walk through this question? It seems like there are several possible choices. And there didn't seem to be evidence to support the correct answer choice.

4 Replies

Victoria on August 29 at 06:01PM

Hi @@chris_va,

Happy to help!

This is a "Principle" question, so we are looking for the answer choice which outlines a principle that underlies the stimulus.

The stimulus tells us that Mary has decided not to do her mammalian physiology assignment.

Why? Because the assignment "would require her to take a healthy, anesthetized dog and subject it to a drastic blood loss in order to observe the physiological consequences of shock" and because "the dog would neither regain consciousness nor survive the experiment."

So, what is the principle underlying Mary's decision? That we should not take an animal's life without a strong justification for doing so.

Let's go through the answer choices.

Answer choice A seems tempting, however, the key word is "gratuitously." The experiment would not require Mary to gratuitously cause the dog to suffer as the dog is anesthetized and would lose consciousness from the blood loss. In this way, steps have been taken to minimize the dog's pain and the experiment relies on one action which would cause the dog to lose consciousness before passing away.

Answer choice C is incorrect because there are numerous other sufficient justifications for experimenting on animals which may have been considered in Mary's decision. For example, we do not know if Mary believes that it is justified to experiment on animals if future human suffering is prevented.

Answer choice D is incorrect because Mary is not a practicing veterinarian; she is a veterinary student.

Answer choice E is incorrect because the sole intention of the experiment was not to cause the death of a living thing. The goal of the experiment was to "observe the physiological consequences of shock."

This leaves us with answer choice B. This is the strongest answer choice as, while it is similar to C, it provides us with a wider range of justifications for animal experimentation. As none of these justifications underlie the experiment, it makes sense that this principle would inform Mary's decision not to participate.

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

on August 29 at 06:20PM

I appreciate the help! I am still struggling with how E is not correct, maybe I am getting to into the weeds with it. I couldn't extract any sense of justifiable reason. Furthermore, If you engage in doing something, knowing the outcome of that action can't you conclude that this evidence of intent? She may not have wanted to cause that animal to die, but if the choice was made to carry it out, it seems like that is pretty much hand and hand with intent. What am I missing here? Thanks again, sorry for getting so bogged down with this question, it just seemed so easy, but turned out to be quite the opposite.

Victoria on August 29 at 06:31PM

Hi @@chris_va

No worries at all! Please don't apologize! We are here to help you with your learning and try to prepare you as much as possible for success on the LSAT.

The key word to focus on in answer choice E is "sole." As the goal of the experiment is to "observe the physiological consequences of shock," it cannot be true that the sole intention of the action is to cause death. Therefore, the action would be justified because the sole intention is not to cause death; this intention exists simultaneously with the intention to observe the physiological consequences of shock. This cannot be the principle underlying Mary's decision because it contradicts her decision.

My advice would be to try not to get stuck too long on individual questions. As the scenarios and information presented in each question are different, it is more important that you understand the patterns that appear on the LSAT and how to attack each question type as opposed to each individual question.

That being said, we are always happy to help explain any individual questions that you get stuck on! Keep up the good work!

Selin on July 11 at 02:21PM

In answer choice B, how can we know that this procedure would not "immediately assist in saving several animal lives or in protecting the health of a person"? What if those physiological responses had a potential and great benefit?