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Q24 - There is little point

by zl7391e Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:51 pm

Confusions about the word 'most'.
The second sentence in the stimulus reads "Most of them hold political views ... less insightful than... who is not an artist." I thought the quantifier 'most' is defined to be 'a majority, possibly all' on the LSAT. If I'm correct in interpreting 'most' as possibly containing the meaning 'all', then the we cannot infer answer choice E) from the stimulus. This is because if we substitute 'all' for 'most' in the second sentence in the stimulus, it becomes 'all of them [(artists)] hold political views that are less insightful than those of any reasonably well-educated person who is not an artist.' Thus, E would be an incorrect inference. I would truly appreciate the help if anyone could clarify this question. Thanks so much in advance!
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Re: Q24 - There is little point

by noah Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:23 am

I have to say I agree with you on first glance! But, we have to accept that LSAC meant (E) to be right, so let's figure out what they were doing.

We know that:
- a majority of artists hold pol views that are stupider than the stupidest view of any non artist.
- when you average the views, we can conclude that artistic talent are pol. insight rarely found together.

(Note, we're always talking about reasonably well-educated non-artists, so I don't even mention it)

I believe the key is the "rarely" if it's rarely found, then it is sometimes found together, so the average didn't show a complete disconnect between the two. Therefore, we have to have some data that shifts the needle towards a connection. This means there must be some artists with political insight that warrants saying there's a connection.

For me, it's a bit of a leap to say that it means that these especially insightful artists have views at least as insightful as some non-artists, because perhaps the stupidest political view of a non-artist is still more insightful than the most insightful political view held by an artist. In short, I'm struggling with the sudden emergence of the binary nature of the argument's view of insightfulness.

However, the LSAT is playing on the fact that if all the artists' views were stupider than non-artists', we wouldn't be able to conclude that there are some rare moments when artistic talent and political insight are seen together. I may be missing a bit of the leap LSAC is making here...so be it!

But, it sure is easy to eliminate the four wrong answers because they mostly have extreme language or issues with scope:

(A) we have been told that most artists have views that are less insightful...not that they don't have insights.

(B) is out of scope - we don't know about the education of the artists.

(C) is tempting but too extreme. We are told that most artists have stupider views than most non-artists, but it's OK if there are a few non-artists that have less insight (more stupid) than an artist or two.

(D) is out of scope - we're not talking about politicians!

If someone figures this out a bit more, I'd love to hear.
 
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Re: Q24 - There is little point in looking to artists for insigh

by zl7391e Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:48 pm

Thank you, Noah. That really helps!
 
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Re: Q24 - There is little point in looking to artists for insigh

by zl7391e Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:40 pm

Hi Noah, I've been thinking about the question during the day. Here is something that I come up with.

I've been asking myself what sets of things/skills that this question tests us. First, (in my opinion,) it tests whether we understand quantifiers like 'most' and 'rarely'. I looked up 'rarely' in the dictionary and one of the entries defines it to be 'in few instances.' (And thanks again for pointing that out.) Second, (also in my opinion,) it tests whether we can recognize what type of roles individual sentences play in an argument. Notice that the sentence that comes after the word "indeed" in the stimulus serves not only to confirm what comes before 'indeed' but also to qualify/add an exception to that claim (due to the occurrence of 'rarely' ). (This is a standard tactic of argumentation that makes a strong claim first and then immediately follows a qualification. So even if the reader who initially disagrees with the strong claim, after seeing the qualification, the reader is more likely to agree with what the author says. This is better than the argumentative tactic to begin with a weak claim and then strengthen it, for the reader is less likely to agree with it.)

Anyway, the structure of the argument looks like:

Claim 1:= Most artists [51 percent to 100 percent artists] are less pol insightful than non-artists.

INDEED

Let's denote the sentence after Claim 1 that begins with the word 'Indeed' to be INDEED. Then, INDEED serves as a qualification to Claim 1. Namely, what INDEED functions in the argument is to say 'okay, in few instances(= 'rarely'), there are exceptions to Claim 1.' Thus, we know that there exists at least one circumstance in which it is not true that Claim 1. Thus, in at least one circumstance, some artists are not less pol insightful than non-artists.

In sum, the word 'rarely' tells us that the sentence comes after 'indeed' serves as a qualification to the claim that comes before it, namely Claim 1. Therefore, E) can be inferred from the stimulus, if we take in account how the argument goes.

Of course, this is just my personal opinion. I would also love to hear how people think on this question.
 
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Re: Q24 - There is little point in looking to artists for insigh

by goriano Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:26 pm

zl7391e wrote:Hi Noah, I've been thinking about the question during the day. Here is something that I come up with.

I've been asking myself what sets of things/skills that this question tests us. First, (in my opinion,) it tests whether we understand quantifiers like 'most' and 'rarely'. I looked up 'rarely' in the dictionary and one of the entries defines it to be 'in few instances.' (And thanks again for pointing that out.) Second, (also in my opinion,) it tests whether we can recognize what type of roles individual sentences play in an argument. Notice that the sentence that comes after the word "indeed" in the stimulus serves not only to confirm what comes before 'indeed' but also to qualify/add an exception to that claim (due to the occurrence of 'rarely' ). (This is a standard tactic of argumentation that makes a strong claim first and then immediately follows a qualification. So even if the reader who initially disagrees with the strong claim, after seeing the qualification, the reader is more likely to agree with what the author says. This is better than the argumentative tactic to begin with a weak claim and then strengthen it, for the reader is less likely to agree with it.)

Anyway, the structure of the argument looks like:

Claim 1:= Most artists [51 percent to 100 percent artists] are less pol insightful than non-artists.

INDEED

Let's denote the sentence after Claim 1 that begins with the word 'Indeed' to be INDEED. Then, INDEED serves as a qualification to Claim 1. Namely, what INDEED functions in the argument is to say 'okay, in few instances(= 'rarely'), there are exceptions to Claim 1.' Thus, we know that there exists at least one circumstance in which it is not true that Claim 1. Thus, in at least one circumstance, some artists are not less pol insightful than non-artists.

In sum, the word 'rarely' tells us that the sentence comes after 'indeed' serves as a qualification to the claim that comes before it, namely Claim 1. Therefore, E) can be inferred from the stimulus, if we take in account how the argument goes.

Of course, this is just my personal opinion. I would also love to hear how people think on this question.


I've taken quite a number of LSATs to recognize that in some cases, when the stimulus states Most X do Y, there is also the assumption that Some X don't do Y. I know that this is especially dangerous if taken as an unequivocal truth, but knowing that I've come across questions where this assumption was made helped me become more confident in picking (E).
 
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Re: Q24 - There is little point in looking to artists for insigh

by timmydoeslsat Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:03 pm

I would agree with Noah in that the connection between E and the stimulus is with the word rarely.

I would always go with the idea of A most B....to imply that there is a possibility of all As being Bs.

We cannot assume that some A's are not B's.
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Re: Q24 - There is little point in looking to artists for insigh

by noah Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:40 pm

goriano wrote:I've taken quite a number of LSATs to recognize that in some cases, when the stimulus states Most X do Y, there is also the assumption that Some X don't do Y. I know that this is especially dangerous if taken as an unequivocal truth, but knowing that I've come across questions where this assumption was made helped me become more confident in picking (E).

Interesting--I'll have to keep an eye out. I imagine that it is often the the case that "most" is used in an argument in such a way as to also indicate that some are not. But, as you and Timmy both point out, there's a bit of danger in this. I bet that we'd struggle to find an example where there is no other bit--like the last sentence in this argument--that helps us define the most. Without that, I'd stick with the formal definition.
 
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Re: Q24 - There is little point

by zagreus77 Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:36 pm

I chalk this up to this being an early LSAT. I agree with you that rarely implies that sometimes artistic ability and insight go together. But as you noted you can not validly infer that this implies that at least one artist is as insightful as the well educated non artist. Also, in common parlance, "most" often does imply not all. But in terms of deductive reason, most can not allow a valid inference of not all without a provision that most does imply not all. I think this is one of the very, very rare examples of what appears to be an invalid argument presented in the MBT inference category. I've seen some a tad fuzzy, or ones where if you were really picayune, you could fault, but this one just seems like a stinker. It gave me no problem on the question, because the other choices were just horrid.

Again, I chalk this up to the inchoate nature of the LSAT in its very early stages. I've noticed the really early LSATs just seem less well thought out than the later ones.
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Re: Q24 - There is little point

by Mab6q Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:41 am

Here's one thing I dont understand. If E can be right, then why can't we infer that C is also right, assuming that we are giving exception to the use of MOST be regarded as all.
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Re: Q24 - There is little point

by sportsfan8491 Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:09 pm

I'd like to share how I approached this question and I'm going to start off by quoting mattsherman, from his post to Q4 in PT3, Section 2 ("A work of architecture"), because I think it is extremely relevant for this question. In regards to the inference question that I just mentioned from PT3, mattsherman wrote:

"Remember, generally the stimulus (the initial paragraph) can take two forms - either a series of facts or an argument. If we are presented with an argument, then we should analyze it and determine what it's weaknesses are (possibly even find the assumption of the argument). However, if we are given a series of facts, this is not necessary. In this case, all we need to do is find an answer choice that must be true if all the statements in the stimulus are true."

If you notice, this inference question is a little unique because it presents us with an argument. So, I approached this as more of an assumption question; I was on the lookout for a necessary assumption as I went to the answers.

The conclusion is found in the first sentence, while the remainder of the argument is structured to support this first sentence. Notice how qualified the author's statements are and, in particular, I think the key words to pay attention to are "little point" in the conclusion and, as noah as well as other posters have pointed out, the words "rarely found together" are very important from the final sentence, which acts as a premise in the argument.

The assumption that jumped out at me almost immediately was that the author must think that there is still "some" point to look to artists for political insights, or else he/she would have said "there's no point" in the conclusion (instead of saying that there's "little point"). Furthermore, the author would have used the word "never" instead of "rarely" in the final sentence, which is a premise of course. But why is this the case, you might ask? The reason for this must be that, as (E) points out, there must some artists that are just as politically insightful as the other group; if there weren't, the argument would fall apart instantaneously!

So, if one approached this question like I did, answers (A), (B), and (D) could be seen to be hopeless from the get-go.

Answer (C) is wrong because it weakens the argument directly and before you even negate it. If this answer were true, then why would there be "little point" or why would they "rarely" be found together?

So, to summarize, (C) is wrong because it weakens before it is negated and tends to strengthen the argument after it is negated. Answer choice (E) does the exact opposite and is thus the correct answer.

Experts, please let me know if you agree with my analysis or if you see any issues with what I have written. I hope it is correct and helpful.
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Re: Q24 - There is little point

by noah Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:26 pm

sportsfan, I like your analysis. I have spoken with Matt about his approach to inference questions with arguments in them, and I think it makes a lot of sense. It's a rare twist, so not worth a chapter in our books, but bravo on spotting this one.

It's tough to hang our hat on "little point" and "rarely" indicating a presence, but it does unlock this one.
 
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all and most v. few and none

by judyl101 Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:41 pm

if most can mean all, why can't rarely mean none?
can "not many," and "few," mean none?
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Re: Q24 - There is little point

by ohthatpatrick Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:08 pm

I think "not many" and "few" can mean none.

Not many US Presidents have been female
vs.
Many US Presidents have been female

Those are logical opposites, so one should be true / one should be false. And we know the 2nd one is false.

"Few" is a modifier that means "less than 50%". So it is allowed to mean "0 %" supposedly.
"A few" is a noun that means "three or four". LSAT doesn't really ever use it, but it can't be zero.

"Rarely" would seem to me like it COULD mean zero. It seems like its logical opposite is "Commonly", so either
US Presidents have rarely been female
or
US Presidents have commonly been female

I think the context of the argument is what allowed the test writers to think that we are clearly referring to a positive quantity. The final sentence is reporting back on a data set ... "when you look at the statements made by artists, talent and insight rarely went together". Since this author begins by saying "there is little point in looking to artists for insights", she is motivated to downplay how much insight and artistry ever overlap. If there were NO overlap, she'd just say they were "NEVER found together" / "there is NO point in looking to artists" / "NONE of them hold political views that are more insightful than ...."

Taken together, it feels like the speaker is conveying some instances in which artistry and insight overlap.
The question stem should be "most strongly supported", not "what must be true", but we're still just looking for the best available answer and this is a reasonable reaction to the stimulus.