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Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by ManhattanPrepLSAT1 Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:28 am

This is an EXCEPT question, so four of the answer choices will weaken the argument and the one that doesn’t is the correct answer.

This argument mistakes a correlation for a cause and effect relationship. There are plenty of ways to undermine a causal relationship so that will lend itself well to having four answer choices that undermine the conclusion. So, just because efficient managers have good time management skills doesn’t mean that attending a time management seminar will improve productivity.

(A) weakens the argument. If consultants use the same criteria for measuring efficiency as they do for measuring time management skills then the correlation put forward in the evidence is no longer a correlation between two different things but rather the same thing measured in two ways.
(B) weakens the argument. If successful time management is more dependent on motivation than on good technique, then providing good technique will not provide the desired effect.
(C) weakens the argument. If the managers at other companies who attended time management seminars did not become productive, then it is less likely that at this company sending unproductive managers to time management seminars will have the desired affect.
(D) is irrelevant and therefore the correct answer. We do not care about the managers who are already efficient. We care about the managers who are not yet efficient and who could benefit from time management seminars.
(E) weakens the argument. If most managers who are efficient have never attended time management seminars the relationship between attending the seminars and being efficient is not as strong and the causal relationship posited and the conclusion is less likely to be true.
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by LSAT-Chang Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:27 am

Hi Matt,
So I can see that you inferred "middle-level managers" = "unproductive managers"? Is it because the evidence given is about "most efficient managers" and the conclusion is about "middle-level managers" so we assume that these middle-level managers are not most efficient managers? Since if they were, we wouldn't be recommending them to attend the seminar since they would already have excellent time management skills?
 
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Re: Q23 - Our consultants report that

by sr Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:37 am

I don't see how E weakens the causal relationship.

The relationship is:

Time management seminar ---> more efficient
(T --> E)

To weaken this, one would need to show :
T --> ~E

However answer choice (E) only shows:
E --> ~T
It just shows that you can have E without T. But that does not contradict the causal!

T-->E does not mean T is required for E! We already know that we can have E without T. The only thing that this causal is saying is that T causes E. But E can be caused by other things too. So answer choice (E) does not contradict the causal just by showing that E happened without T.
 
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Re: Q23 - Our consultants report that

by monster_omiga Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:37 am

sr wrote:I don't see how E weakens the causal relationship.

The relationship is:

Time management seminar ---> more efficient
(T --> E)

To weaken this, one would need to show :
T --> ~E

However answer choice (E) only shows:
E --> ~T
It just shows that you can have E without T. But that does not contradict the causal!

T-->E does not mean T is required for E! We already know that we can have E without T. The only thing that this causal is saying is that T causes E. But E can be caused by other things too. So answer choice (E) does not contradict the causal just by showing that E happened without T.


agree. any explanations?
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by nflamel69 Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:36 pm

same reason why I was stuck between D and E. anyone?
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by justinjordantyler Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:14 am

sr wrote:To weaken this, one would need to show :
T --> ~E

However answer choice (E) only shows:
E --> ~T
It just shows that you can have E without T. But that does not contradict the causal!


T -> ~E and E -> ~T are contrapositives and logical equivalents of each other.

We are trying to weaken by saying either T -> ~E or E -> ~T; that is, that the time management seminar doesn't necessarily lead to improved efficiency, or that an improvement in efficiency can be had in a way other than the time management seminar.

Answer choice (E) shows that most of the managers who are efficient [E] became efficient in a way other than the training seminar [~T], which weakens the causal argument.

Hope that helps!
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by shirando21 Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:50 pm

changsoyeon wrote:Hi Matt,
So I can see that you inferred "middle-level managers" = "unproductive managers"? Is it because the evidence given is about "most efficient managers" and the conclusion is about "middle-level managers" so we assume that these middle-level managers are not most efficient managers? Since if they were, we wouldn't be recommending them to attend the seminar since they would already have excellent time management skills?


I think D is to weaken the conclusion, but not the connection btw premise and conclusion.

In a weaken question, we want to attack the connection more than merely the conclusion.
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by abcde Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:28 pm

Hello,

(A) weakens the argument. If consultants use the same criteria for measuring efficiency as they do for measuring time management skills then the correlation put forward in the evidence is no longer a correlation between two different things but rather the same thing measured in two ways.


I don't think I understand why this weakens the president's recommendation. Doesn't (A) mean the consultants use the same principle to evaluate manager's productivity and their time management skills? I thought this makes the correlation between two stronger, making the president's recommendation reasonable.

Please advise what I'm missing/misunderstanding.....
Thank you so much!
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by melmoththewanderer88 Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:32 pm

I would like to cross check my reasons for selecting "D" with you guys.

Is "D" irrelevant because what is at issue is whether productivity is sufficient to improve efficiency (and not whether it is necessary)? For the record, "D" says productivity is not necessary for efficiency.

The way I saw the logical chain was:

seminar --> improve time management --> improve productivity --> make workers more efficient
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by Djjustin818 Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:56 pm

Hey Matt,

For #23, PT 48 S4, you stated that:

(A) weakens the argument. If consultants use the same criteria for measuring efficiency as they do for measuring time management skills then the correlation put forward in the evidence is no longer a correlation between two different things but rather the same thing measured in two ways.

I still don't really understand how this weakens the argument. Could you please explain in further detail? It seems like using the same criteria would strengthen the argument...
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by etwcho Mon May 13, 2013 12:13 am

In a causal reasoning there are several ways in which you can weaken the causal argument

1. Cause but no effect
2. Effect but no cause
3. Reversed relationship (Usually the answer when premise states correlation)
4. 3rd variable that is the cause of both stated cause&effect
5. The whole experiment/survey was wrong

A) is weakened by #5. What they thought 2 different variables, a&b, were in fact the same thing. Meaning, there is no causal relationship. Example: researchers found a correlation between the best skaters and the fastest skaters. But if the criteria for being the best skater was by being the fastest, you can't conclude that one caused the another, because you would be creating a tautology by saying being the fastest skater contributed to being the fastest skater.
B) is weakened by #4
C) is weakened by #1
E) is weakened by #2

Edited for #ing error
Last edited by etwcho on Wed May 15, 2013 12:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by ManhattanPrepLSAT1 Mon May 13, 2013 12:26 pm

Great explanation etwcho!
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by yifanfeng Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:30 pm

@justinjordantyler
We are not required to falsify the argument in the statement by stating a causal relationship. That is, to falsify the statement T --> E requires demonstrating T -/-> E and not, as you say, "T --> ~E" (the two are not equivalent).
Nor does answer E obviously demonstrate T -/-> E, as I will show below.

@etwcho
I'd be careful with that typology. Providing evidence of an effect without cause does not necessarily weaken a causal relationship (both on the LSAT and as a general principle of logic). That Amy got a good grade without studying does not mean that studying will not bring about a good grade. Rather, it shows that it's possible to get a good grade without studying.


I believe the reason that E is considered a weakening answer, in this specific instance is that it demonstrates the possibility that there is one or more alternative methods for improving productivity and that the LSAT permits the assumption, then, that at least one of these methods is better than a time-management seminar. Perhaps it's less expensive, perhaps it's more efficient _ all that I mean by better, here, is that the company has a reason to prefer the alternative to the seminar.

Of course, answer D can also weaken the argument if we assume that a significant portion of mid-level managers are already efficient _ that is, significant enough that the company would not want to raise the efficiency of the other managers.

The exam writer believed that the former assumption is more permissible than the latter. Indeed, it may be possible to argue that this is the case. For instance, considering that most companies operate with the same criteria (i.e. money), that *most* efficient managers do not use the seminar may indeed show that better alternatives are available. And it is indeed less likely that the president of a company would suggest methods for improving efficiency if a substantial portion of his managers were already efficient.

On the exam, of course, the plausibility of assumptions would have to be more or less intuited. But it must be on this basis that answer D can be justified.
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by timsportschuetz Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:15 pm

I would like to add something important regarding (D), which nobody has mentioned above: Notice how the argument states a correlation between EFFICIENCY and TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS. Then, it continues by equating EFFICIENCY with PRODUCTIVITY and recommending TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS.

(D) simply compares equated words in order to trick test takers! This is a common technique to trap people and is called "irrelevant comparison".

Take a look at PT 31 Section 1 #11 (One of the answer choices uses precisely the same technique as in answer choice D).
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by aznriceboi17 Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:12 pm

@yifanfeng:
I thought it strange at first, but I've read in some prepbooks that in the context of the LSAT, when the author posits a causal relationship, A causes B, then they are also arguing that B is ALWAYS caused by A. This allows you to attack the argument by showing examples of B that are not accompanied by A.

@general audience:
For this question, I'm still confused about choice (A). The president believes that good time management (TM) skills lead to higher productivity (P). He wants to raise P, so he decides to make seminars available to improve TM.

If TM and P are in fact equivalent, then won't the seminars help since they are improving TM, ie improving P? I totally get that (A) attacks the causal relationship claim of the president, but the question here isn't to attack that claim, it's to attack the recommendation that TM seminars be made available to help improve P.
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by maryadkins Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:56 am

aznriceboi17 wrote:For this question, I'm still confused about choice (A). The president believes that good time management (TM) skills lead to higher productivity (P). He wants to raise P, so he decides to make seminars available to improve TM.

If TM and P are in fact equivalent, then won't the seminars help since they are improving TM, ie improving P? I totally get that (A) attacks the causal relationship claim of the president, but the question here isn't to attack that claim, it's to attack the recommendation that TM seminars be made available to help improve P.


Good question.

If TM and P are equivalent in how they're being MEASURED, then yes, improving TM will appear to improve P"”because they're being measured by the exact same criteria. But that doesn't mean TM is actually improving P. It means they're always going to appear to be correlated in the measurement, because the measurement is relying on the same data to represent both of them.

It's like if we measure my wealth by writing down the number in my bank account at 5pm everyday. And we measure my success in the exact same way. Then we compare the two data sets"”which are identical"”and say, "Mary's success is correlated with Mary's wealth!" But of course it's going to appear that way, because we are giving the same data set 2 different names and thereby creating a "correlation."

See?
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by blairped Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:37 am

I may be wrong but it seems like the author did not commit an error of false equation because the answer choices that are considered as weakening the support (hence wrong answers) make us assume that EFFICIENT is the same as PRODUCTIVE. If we assume that they are totally different from each other, we can't even consider an answer choice E, for instance, as weakening the support.

Answer E: error type: effect but no cause

It can be diagrammed as either

TM~ ----> IP
Or
TM~ ----> E
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by asafezrati Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:05 pm

I've got a question regarding B - even if there is a stronger factor which leads to improved productivity, as long as time management also helps improving it can be a good recommendation.

I chose D, but this issue with B has my attention. Any thoughts?
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by maryadkins Sat Sep 12, 2015 5:12 pm

The correct answer to a weaken question doesn't have to destroy the argument. In other words, it does not have to be the negation of a necessary assumption. Of course, if it is, that's a great weakener! But it's possible to weaken an argument without annihilating it.
 
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Re: Q23 - Company president: Our consultants report

by ShiyuF391 Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:07 am

etwcho wrote:In a causal reasoning there are several ways in which you can weaken the causal argument

1. Cause but no effect
2. Effect but no cause
3. Reversed relationship (Usually the answer when premise states correlation)
4. 3rd variable that is the cause of both stated cause&effect
5. The whole experiment/survey was wrong

A) is weakened by #5. What they thought 2 different variables, a&b, were in fact the same thing. Meaning, there is no causal relationship. Example: researchers found a correlation between the best skaters and the fastest skaters. But if the criteria for being the best skater was by being the fastest, you can't conclude that one caused the another, because you would be creating a tautology by saying being the fastest skater contributed to being the fastest skater.
B) is weakened by #4
C) is weakened by #1
E) is weakened by #2

Edited for #ing error


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