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Atticus Finch
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Re: Q12 - Researcher: A number of studies

by ohthatpatrick Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:25 pm

Right, the anti-conclusion mindset isn't useful here because this is one of the 0.1% of questions that just cheapen the value of the premise.

I would have been thinking, when I read this ...
GIVEN THAT everyone had similar improvement, despite different therapies
HOW CAN I SAY what made them better was NOT a common denominator?

I would have to argue that it's possible/plausible/probable that a bunch of different therapies would have similar measures of initial improvement.

Maybe taking to a therapist / being hypnotized / acupuncture / drawing pictures / smelling candles / etc. all lead to about X units of improvement in the short-term.

That would allow me to say, "just because they had similar improvement doesn't mean that the improvement came from a similar causal source".

And, since wordplay is not beyond LSAT, a "similar level of improvement" could be "zero improvement".

In that case, one wouldn't want to draw a conclusion like "any improvement is the result of a common denominator". A more apt conclusion would be, "none of these different methods yields much short term improvement".

So it would take a flexible read to interpret (A) and see that it's damaging to the author's case.

Ultimately, the idea of the anti-conclusion is just the metaphor for the Defense Attorney. The author of these LSAT arguments is prosecuting a case, marshaling evidence in favor of proving the verdict in the conclusion.

The defense doesn't need to prove the opposite of the verdict; she only needs to show that the prosecution hasn't proven his verdict.

Arguing from the point of view of the anti-conclusion is a mindset that helps you feel whether an idea is helpful to the Prosecution, helpful to you the Defense, or irrelevant.

You don't need to think of it as "I must prove a refutation of the conclusion".
Just think, "How do I create some doubt about the case this author is arguing?"

Mrs. Jackson says she saw Tommy at the scene of the crime. Thus, Tommy committed the crime.

Even though he was at the scene of the crime, I could still create doubt about whether Tommy committed the crime.

Mrs. Jackson has terrible cataracts and wouldn't be able to see someone as far away as Tommy was.

Both of those serve our purposes as the defense attorney, trying to weaken the prosecution's case.
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Jackie Chiles
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Re: Q12 - Researcher: A numbe of studies

by obobob Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:42 am

ManhattanPrepLSAT1 wrote:
interestedintacos wrote:Actually, this one wasn't that mythical premise attacker weaken question, as linzru86 and others subsequently pointed out.

There's only one premise in this argument so it should be pretty simple to test whether the answer choice functions by undermining a premise. Let's take a look.

The premise is that "clients in short-term psychotherapy show similar levels of improvement regardless of the kind of psychotherapy they receive."

Answer choice (A) asserts that the methods by which the studies measured whether clients improved ... failed to address other important kinds of improvement."

Wouldn't that suggest that the clients in short-term psychotherapy might not have all had the same level of improvement? What do you think interestedintacos?

ohthatpatrick wrote:Here, we're not attacking the validity of the premise. It is still true that the study DID report similar benefits. We're just offering more detail about what the study was specifically measuring. In doing so, we realize that the author is overlooking some potentially significant differences between different types of psychotherapy.

Okay, I read all the postings, and I am understanding better about this question. Also, I find @ohthatpatrick's last posting really insightful even though I am not sure if I will be able to take a similarly flexible read to interpret an answer choice to see if that weakens in the future if I face similar questions. Also, still confused about what the answer choice (A) is exactly doing to weaken the argument. So, is this weakening the premise or just breaking the connection between the premise and the conclusion? Or is the answer choice raising another possible explanation from the evidence as something similar to what @ohthatpatrick said in his posting above? Can someone please clarify this?
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Re: Q12 - Researcher: A number of studies

by ohthatpatrick Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:44 pm

Well, most importantly, the anti-conclusion is a tool / process / mindset for helping us to conjure up objections.

It's not a failsafe way to do every LR problem in the assumption family. For example, I would almost never use the anti-conclusion on a Sufficient Assumption or Principle-Justify question.

The anti-conclusion mindset is the same as "opposing counsel" mindset. You're just thinking, "If I'm the other lawyer, tasked with creating doubt about whether the conclusion is really true, what could I do / say?"

One move defense attorneys have is to undermine the credibility / expertise / relevance of the prosecution's witnesses or evidence.

Let's say the prosecution is saying, "Clearly, Mr. Jones is in good mental health. We administered a mental health test yesterday and he got a perfect score."

If we found out that 100% of people pass this mental health test (maybe it's a two question test that goes "1. Are you mentally healthy? 2. Are you sure?"), then the judge/jury will no longer find Mr. Jones's perfect score to be compelling testimony.

Thus, we've weakened the prosecution's case.

That's all we're thinking when we Weaken or Strengthen by assessing the credibility / expertise / relevance of a piece of evidence.

Another example:
"Mr. Jones is clearly in the same financial position this year as he was last year. After all, his responses to this financial questionnaire are the same as those of last year's identical questionnaire"

If we find out that the financial questionnaire only asks about Wages, but fails to ask about stocks, bonds, capital gain, gambling losses, expenses, etc., then we wouldn't trust this questionnaire to give us a full picture of Mr. Jones's current financial position.

That's all that's happening here with (A).

We could still use the Anti-conclusion here, but try not to get too rigidly affixed towards getting positive evidence in favor of the anti-conclusion.

Weakening an argument is just like weakening the prosecution's case:
- you can do so by producing new evidence of your own that seems to possibility outweigh the existing evidence
- you can attack the evidence already presented, and argue that it's not relevant / compelling / trustworthy in some way.

these studies suggest that short-term psych clients show similar levels of improvement regardless of type of therapy

some improvements in short-term psych are NOT common to all types of therapy

(A) we could say that these studies only measured a narrow range of improvement, so they failed to capture some important forms of improvement that result from certain types of treatment but not from others.

Hope this helps.