Each week, we analyze a movie that illustrates a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who said Netflix can’t help you study? 🎥📖
I grew up in the suburbs of Jersey. My mom – one of the PTA regulars – always helped run our school’s Fun Fair – an afternoon of silly games that awarded tickets you could redeem for prizes. It was a fundraiser for the school, and my friends and I all anxiously awaited it. Me more than them, as my mom’s position afforded me the chance to see all the cool toys we could win ahead of time.
When I was eight or nine, I got really sick a few days before the Fun Fair. It was one of those early disappointments in life that will always stick with you – nothing too big, but big enough to a young Matt that I was in a bad mood. Read more
I know you’re studying right now. The test is this weekend.
Stop. Read more
Winter might seem like the worst season to start your LSAT prep. It’s dark. It’s gloomy. It’s full of distractions. But it’s not the worst season to start your LSAT prep; it’s the best season. Read more
Every week we bring you a new movie that teaches us about a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who says Netflix can’t help you study?
Originally scripted by Rod “I don’t have a nickname because you should know who I am” Serling, Planet of the Apes is the tale of when a group of astronauts stop being polite and start getting killed by walking, talking apes.
Today, we’re going to look at the game that had everyone talking after the June 2014 LSAT exam: Summit Company. Summit Company had everyone thrown for a little bit of a loop, and it’s not surprising why. It has been awhile since a Transposition game has shown up on the LSAT. Watch this video to hear Christine Defenbaugh explain the four step process to attack and conquer Transposition games.
I LOVE Beyoncé. I want to sing like her and be like her, and last month I was supposed to fly to Dallas just to go to her concert with my sister. But instead, my flight was canceled and I was stranded in Queens watching You Tube clips while my sister and brother-in-law tried repeatedly to Facetime me from the rafters of the enormous theater. My self-pity video marathon included “All the Single Ladies,” and later, when I was thinking about this series and how best to describe negation technique, I thought of the song. While putting a ring on it is what Beyoncé wants for all you single ladies, what I want for you is this: When you’re facing an extreme statement (“all” “none” “best” “worst”)—not unlike my adoration for Queen B, herself—what I want you to do is put a hole in it.
For a quick refresher, we’re discussing how to “negate” an answer choice to a necessary assumption question on the logical reasoning section of the LSAT. You do this in order to test it. If negating the answer choice makes the argument fall apart, it is necessary. (If negating the answer choice doesn’t destroy the argument, or if you can’t tell what it does, look for a better answer.) Last week I wrote my first post of three on negation techniques. Today, we keep going.
What do I mean by “put a hole in it?”
If the answer choice reads, “All birds fly,” you negate it by poking a hole in it: not all birds fly. Or some birds don’t fly. Same thing. Either way, notice what we’re doing. If the statement were a big hot air balloon, we’d be pin-pricking it. We aren’t, in other words, trying to melt it down then mold it into something else completely: “No birds fly.” That’s not negation. That brings me to the DON’T of this post, what my friend calls roofing it.
Roofing a joke is when people are discussing a subject and someone takes it too far. A classic example is when someone calls you Hitler when you express your view that a local park needs a thorough mowing. Or when everyone is discussing how annoying skunks are, and someone suggests we just blow up all the skunks.
When it comes to extreme answer choices to necessary assumption questions, don’t negate the sweeping statement with an opposing sweeping statement—don’t roof it.
Suppose (A) reads, “Dr. Seuss is the best children’s author ever.” You could negate this by saying, “There was another children’s author who was as good as Dr. Seuss.” You wouldn’t say, “Dr. Seuss was the worst children’s author ever to walk on earth.” That would be roofing it.
Say (B) reads, “Dr. Seuss wrote faster than any other writer in history.” Negate it: He didn’t. Or, someone wrote faster than him. Yes, and yes. Roofing it: He wrote as slow as your granny backing out of her driveway. Too far.
In sum, when it comes to extreme statements in answer choices, poke it, don’t roof it.
Next week we’ll be discussing my rule for negating mild statements, courtesy of Destiny’s Child.