City councilperson: Many city residents oppose the city art commission's proposed purchase of an unusual stone edifi...

Joseph on October 30, 2015

Why isn't it E?

Why isn't E the correct answer?

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Mehran on November 17, 2015

This is a strengthening question, and the question stem is asking us to identify the assumption that is sufficient to trigger the conclusion presented in the stimulus. So let's start there—with the argument in the stimulus—and make sure we are clear on its reasoning and the gap we need to fill.

The city councilperson concludes that the unusual stone edifice qualifies as art. Why? Here are his premises:

P: Critics are divided over whether the edifice really qualifies as art.

P: The purpose of art is to cause experts to debate ideas, including re: what constitutes art itself.

P: This edifice has, in fact, caused experts to debate what constitutes art itself.

There is a very subtle jump here — can you see it? The premises establish that this edifice has fulfilled the purpose of art (to cause experts to debate). From those premises, however, the city councilperson leaps to a different conclusion: that this edifice does, in fact, qualify as art.

This is classic LSAT trickery — writing about ideas that seem so closely related that you may think they are identical. But just because something serves the purpose of art does not mean that that thing qualifies as art, per se.

Answer choice (E) does not strengthen the city councilperson's conclusion — it's very important to focus in on the precise, narrow terms of each argument on the LSAT. And in this case, the conclusion is that the edifice qualifies as art. It says nothing about whether the commission should therefore purchase the edifice. That's why (E) can be eliminated.

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