June 2000 LSAT Section 2 Question 14

# Historian: Leibniz, the seventeenthâ€“century philosopher, published his version of calculus before Newton did. But t...

1 Reply

Victoria on August 3 at 01:45PM

Hi @JoshG,Happy to help!

This is a Strengthen with Necessary Premise question. We are looking for the assumption that is required by the argument i.e. if this assumption is negated, then the conclusion no longer stands.

The passage concludes that Leibniz and Newton each independently discovered calculus because both had been using these ideas, but neither knew of the other's work. Note that the passage is not so much focused on who was "first"; rather, the passage is focused on the conclusion that each man independently discovered calculus without the aid of the other.

What the passage neglects to address is whether someone else had previously discovered calculus because both Newton and Leibniz could have learned calculus from this third party even if they were unaware of one another's work. This would mean that neither man "discovered" calculus.

Answer choice (B) does not solve this issue as, even if a third person discovered calculus prior to both Newton and Leibniz, it is entirely possible that neither man knew of this third person's discovery. Therefore, negating this answer choice does not necessarily impact the historian's ability to draw their conclusion as all three could have independently discovered calculus.

Answer choice (E) is a better answer choice than (B) because it goes a step further in saying that there was a third party who independently discovered calculus, but that neither Newton nor Leibniz learned about calculus from this third party.

If we negate this assumption, then neither Newton nor Leibniz independently discovered calculus because they both learned crucial details about calculus from a third source.

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