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Q20 - Policy Adviser: Freedom of speech

by lichenrachel Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:41 am

Answer C states "a coupling of moral ideals with self-interest". What part in the argument refers to self-interest?
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Re: Q20 - Policy Adviser: Freedom of speech

by bbirdwell Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:52 pm

Nasty question!!

I think the "moral ideals" refers to the "basic human right" segment. It seems like the self-interest is the self-interest of the government, having to do with the "good ideas flourishing, and the silly and dangerous ideas being dismissed or responded to," rather than the personal self-interest of the analyst himself.

Note that A, D, and E are obviously wrong, and B is unacceptable because it's not "for its own sake." If this were true, it would be sufficient to say that free speech is a "human right." By going further, and discussing the reasons why it's "rational" for the government (the piece about ideas), the author introduces another element beyond "for its own sake."
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Re: Q20 - Freedom of speech is not only a basic

by lhermary Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:18 pm

Why is A obviously wrong? It seemed like the only logical choice to me.
 
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Re: Q20 - Freedom of speech is not only a basic

by wguwguwgu Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:07 pm

I almost picked B, because I thought the "it" in "for its own sake" refers to the government. Would this be a legitimate reading?

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Re: Q20 - Freedom of speech is not only a basic

by timmydoeslsat Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:16 pm

I can see the ambiguity you have addressed in this answer choice. I would say that the "its own sake" is referring to "basic right of citizens."

In other words, it is saying that the argument is advocating respect for basic rights of citizens for just that reason. No other reason, not that it would be beneficial for the government, etc.

And as Brian pointed out, the argument goes beyond that. It does talk about a self-interest the government has in giving this basic right for citizens.
 
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Re: Q20 - Policy Adviser: Freedom of speech

by soyeonjeon Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:07 am

Why would E be wrong? I think E is correct. and I don't understand why A is wrong either.

With regard to C, that's not the method of persuasion but simply a description of the conclusion of the argument. I would think that E is correct because it actually describes the premises, the method of reasoning.

And I still don't get why C is correct.

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Re: Q20 - Policy Adviser: Freedom of speech

by sweetygurl Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:21 pm

soyeonjeon wrote:Why would E be wrong? I think E is correct. and I don't understand why A is wrong either.

With regard to C, that's not the method of persuasion but simply a description of the conclusion of the argument. I would think that E is correct because it actually describes the premises, the method of reasoning.

And I still don't get why C is correct.

Thank in advance.



E is incorrect because nowhere in the stimulus does it say that the ideal situation "cannot be realistically achieved" -- the language is too strong and it is unsupported.

A is wrong because "circular reasoning" is when the premise and the conclusion are essentially the same or when they are doing the same thing for each other (premise supporting conclusion, and conclusion supporting premise).

However, in this case, the author's conclusion is in a form of recommendation: "freedom of speech is not only a basic human right; it is also the only rational policy for this government to adopt", and the evidence in support of the conclusion is 1) good ideas will flourish 2) silly ideas will be easily recognized 3) dangerous ideas will be responded 4) nothing is gained by forcing citizens to disseminate their thoughts in secret.
Thus, the conclusion and the evidence in support of the conclusion are different.

An example of circular reasoning that echoes the essence of the stimulus will look somewhat like this:
Freedom of speech is not only a basic human right; it is also the only rational policy for this government to adopt. Because it is the most sensible and logical decision for the government to make, the policy should be adopted.

Hope it clarified?

Indeed, the question and the answer choices are not the most ideal - but sometimes you have to go through the process of elimination to get the "best" answer.
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Re: Q20 - Policy Adviser: Freedom of speech

by maryadkins Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:07 pm

This question definitely stinks, and I agree with sweetygurl that this is an instance where you really have to rely on process of elimination to end up with (C).

(A) is wrong because it's not circular. Circular reasoning would be something like: dogs that are the best best don't bark, and therefore the dogs that don't bark are the best. It comes full circle and basically will come across as saying nothing. That's not the case here. We have a lot of different pieces involved in this argument.

(B) is wrong because of "for its own sake" as timmydoeslsat noted. (B) makes the argument seem as if the whole thing is about the basic rights of citizens and that only--not the case.

(D) is wrong because there is no warning that suppressing the truth is difficult.

(E) is wrong because, like (D), it's not in there. Remember: we're looking for what the policy advisor's method of persuasion is. Is his method of persuasion to describe a situation that he believes cannot be achieved? No!
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Re: Q20 - Policy Adviser: Freedom of speech

by Mab6q Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:56 pm

C is right because it really isn't. It's the least incorrect answer choice of the bunch. Terrible question LSAT! Sorry. :twisted:
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Re: Q20 - Policy Adviser: Freedom of speech

by af10 Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:03 pm

Don't think anyone touched on why the self-interest portion of (C) is supported by the stimulus.

The last sentence says: Nothing is ever gained by forcing citizens to disseminate their thoughts in secret.

....and I think, as simple as it seems, is the portion that supports to self-interest part of the answer choice. The policy adviser essentially ends with saying that there aren't any benefits (as well) to not having freedom of speech.

It didn't really click when I read the question ..was only until after a few minutes analyzing the question, and I don't really know why (probably some psychometric trick).
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Re: Q20 - Policy Adviser: Freedom of speech

by uhdang Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:59 pm

Such a hard time figuring out this question. Answer choices seem very vague. I thought there are multiple parts that are being VERY STRETCHED to logically make sense, and this was making me irritated. Anyhow, here we go.

First of all, the core:

When ideas are openly aired, good ideas flourish, silly proposals are easily recognized as such, and dangerous ideas can be responded to by rational argument. + Nothing is ever gained by forcing citizens to disseminate their thoughts in secret
==>
Freedom of speech is not only a basic human right but also rational policy for this government to adopt.

There seem to be multiple gaps or unclarity that I sensed (really didn't like them..)

1) The author connects freedom of speech to ideas are openly aired. It makes sense that these two have overlapping qualities, but I thought this is a bit of a stretch. Freedom of speech has a focus on whether or not you can express it without any, maybe forceful, interruption. However, being openly aired has more focus on how widespread an idea is spreading. In other words, ideas can still be openly aired even if there is no freedom of speech. So, when I was first tackling the question and looking for any gap, this came to me as the first possible gap.

2) Stating "the only rational policies" is a huge statement without regarding other adoptable government policies. "Freedom of speech" may in fact BE a rational policy for government to adopt. But is it the ONLY one? Adopting this will ensure better idea flourishing, but what about the other aspect of government policies? How about, for example, the equality under the law? "Freedom of speech" may cover "expression" aspect of government policy, but it doesn't cover "legal" aspect of government policy. Stating it is the ONLY rational government policy is like saying, "a fork is the only rational choice for us to eat because it covers poking-and-lifting aspect of eating, while we also need a spoon to cover scooping aspect of eating." When I read "the only rational policies", it felt so vulnerable because it generalizes it way way too much on its effect on government policies.

3) The last sentence is a big big generalization. Even if it is true, stating "Nothing" is a huge generalization. What guarantee is there that when ideas are openly aired, only good ideas will flourish? what if mediocre but interesting ideas get flourished? Realistically speaking, isn't that what is easier to be spreading?

Thinking this far, I first chose E) because like stated in 3), it sounded very unrealistic. However, when I looked back at this question, I figured out something: even if it is unrealistic, it IS one of the possible scenarios of what could happen. So, stating "cannot be achieved" in E) is wrong, while "ideal situation" can be found in this stimulus.

Now, let's go to the answer choices.

a) There is no circular justification of idea of free speech. If there were, it would look something like this: Freedom of speech flourishes when freedom of speech is allowed to flourish. This is NOT what the argument is doing.

b) Although an aspect of "basic rights of citizens" is mentioned, this is a secondary idea to support the fact that it is a rational choice for government. This is not the method an author used for persuasion.

d) No warning present nor difficulty.

e) As explained above, it is description of an ideal situation, but we are not given anything about not being able to achieve it. It is still a possibility.

These reasoning let me eliminate all answer choices except for c). It took me a while to make sense of c), too but it does make sense.

c) "Moral Ideals" combines "human right" aspect of Freedom of speech and the ideal situation described in the stimulus (2nd sentence). Regarding "self-interest", a language of extreme / overgeneralization we discussed above makes the sentence sound personal. This sounds like the author is rather strongly for his claim to indicate that it is in his/her interest. Having identified this far, combining these "Moral ideals" and "self-interest" does seem to be what the author is doing.

I can't help but thinking I had to make sense of reasoning a lot to GET to the answer.. so I really don't like this question.. I'm not sure if this is a hard question or a nasty question like many posts above have said... Can this be considered a legitimate hard question?
Last edited by uhdang on Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Q20 - Policy Adviser: Freedom of speech

by tommywallach Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:52 pm

I'd say it's legitimately tough! Great breakdown though!
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Re: Q20 - Policy Adviser: Freedom of speech

by YanZ350 Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:10 am

For c) I think that it can be linked back to the 1st statement, which says that freedom of speech is 1) basic human right 2) rational policy for gov.

Personally I think that maybe, 1) basic human right can be understood as 'moral ideals'; meanwhile 2) rational policy for gov is understood as the term 'self-interest', whose name is just given in contrast to 'moral ideals' (cuz generally we think that moral ideals will not contain anything that may seek self-interest)


Hope this will clarify a little bit