Whenever an artist endowed with both a high level of artistic skill and a high degree of creativity combines these tw...

Kenji on April 27 at 07:45AM

statement negation

I have trouble negating statements for necessary premise questions. For instance, with the following sentence, "An artist endowed with a high degree of creativity and a high level of artistic skill will necessarily produce great works of art," would the negated version be, "an artist NOT endowed with a high degree of creativity and a high level of artistic skills will NOT necessarily produce great works of art."?

1 Reply

Shunhe on April 27 at 09:32PM

Hi @kenken,

Thanks for the question! So negating conditionals is pretty hard and not something you’ll really have to do for the LSAT. One way that I like to think of negations in general is that when you negate a statement, it’s kind of like saying “it is not the case that…” whatever that statement is. And then from there you can kind of understand what the negation might look like. So basically, the negation of “An artist endowed with a high degree of creativity and a high level of artistic skill will necessarily produce great works of art” is “It is not the case that an artist endowed with a high degree of creativity and a high level of artistic skill will necessarily produce great works of art.” In other words, it’s possible for there to be an artist who has a high degree of creativity and a high level of artistic skill, but who doesn’t produce great works of art. So one way of thinking about the negation of P—>Q is as P & ~Q, since those are cases in which P happens, and Q doesn’t.

But as I said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a problem where you’ve had to negate a conditional like that, and this question you certainly don’t need to. But notice that your negated version is wrong because it’s completely consistent with the original premise. Let’s say that there was an artist not endowed with whatever and who doesn’t necessarily produce great works of art. That’s not the logical negation of the original stimulus, which concerns artists who are endowed with those features. So you can’t negate both sides of the conditional like you did there.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.