# Law School Discussion

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### AuthorTopic: Stuck on Conditional Reasoning...  (Read 1891 times)

#### Silence

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##### Stuck on Conditional Reasoning...
« on: April 12, 2008, 04:13:45 PM »
Everywhere I look the LSAT is chalk full of conditional reasoning, and as luck would have it I am struggling with this concept. Virtually every question on the LR section, which has answer choices consisting of mistaken reversals and mistaken negations, I answer incorrectly. I realize that in order for me to improve on the LR section (I have a pretty good grasp on LG conditionals only because of the If/then nature of the rules and flipping it to find the contrapositive I find easy), I have to be able to quickly digest the conditional scenario. (Notice that I find if/then easy and the rest hard…does this tell you anything??)

Since, I know that this in my weakness I have been pouring over the bibles for weeks…like I said I “got” the LG conditionals but the LR is a whole different animal. I am at a loss…every piece of info I run across I study it, yet to no avail. I just cannot make this stick! What am I missing? Is there a great resource that explains this simply (I need to begin from a third grade level obviously), and uses various examples instead of “John got an A, so he must have studied”? Is there a trick that I can use at the beginning to help me understand/ recognize when I run across a MR or MN? AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN NOT GET THIS CONCEPT???

Really beating my head against the wall over here!

Thanks,
The Idiot

#### EarlCat

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##### Re: Stuck on Conditional Reasoning...
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2008, 08:27:24 PM »
If you've got the hang on them for games, but not LR, it sounds like you're having a difficult time translating them.

Here are some basic words that translate into conditionals:

all = if
when = if
any = if
no = if then not (No A's are B's = A --> ~B)
only if = then
...is necessary for = If (A is necessary for B = B --> A)
unless = if not (B will go unless A goes = ~A --> B)
because = if

That should get you started.  Post any statements you're unsure about.

#### EarlCat

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##### Re: Stuck on Conditional Reasoning...
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2008, 08:28:27 PM »
Thanks,
The Idiot

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##### Re: Stuck on Conditional Reasoning...
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2008, 09:30:59 PM »
I had difficulties with conditionals as well but as I kept studying, I started tlo get the hang of it.  I found it helpful to rephrase conditional statements in "if...then" terms.  It helped me get a firm grasp on which was the necessary condition and which was the sufficient. Maybe you can try that and see if it helps.  Good luck with studying and EarlCat is right, maintain a positive attitude.  One cannot overstate how important it is to be confident for this test.

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##### Re: Stuck on Conditional Reasoning...
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2008, 10:49:00 AM »
LOL.  That goes to show you that Spiderman ain't a one trick pony, dude has a lot of dance moves in his arsenal.

#### Silence

• Jr. Member
• Posts: 10
##### Re: Stuck on Conditional Reasoning...
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2008, 01:30:19 PM »
If you've got the hang on them for games, but not LR, it sounds like you're having a difficult time translating them.

Here are some basic words that translate into conditionals:

all = if
when = if
any = if
no = if then not (No A's are B's = A --> ~B)
only if = then
...is necessary for = If (A is necessary for B = B --> A)
unless = if not (B will go unless A goes = ~A --> B)
because = if

That should get you started.  Post any statements you're unsure about.

Okay...this is what I am unsure about....

Unless = if not (What)?
From what I understood...unless signaled a necessay condition...right?
So from your example B will go unless A goes  I thought it would be: B --> A and the contrapositive wold be A --> B...(Inference - A and B will never go together).

Although, I am so confused at this point I have no idea!

LOL,
ME

#### Silence

• Jr. Member
• Posts: 10
##### Re: Stuck on Conditional Reasoning...
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2008, 01:41:48 PM »
Okay…Here are the types of questions that I am missing consistently:

Vague laws set vague limits on people’s freedom, which makes it impossible for them to know for certain whether their actions are legal. Thus, under vague laws people cannot feel secure.

The conclusion follows logically if which one of the following is assumed?

1.People can feel secure only if they know for certain whether their actions are legal.
2.If people do not know for certain whether their actions are legal, then they might not feel secure.
3.If people know for certain whether their actions are legal, they can feel secure.
4.People can feel secure if they are governed by laws that are not vague.
5.Only people who feel secure can know for certain whether their actions are legal.

If you were taking the test tomorrow and you ran upon this question would you have to diagram it out AB C or could you just figure it out in your head? I am thinking that I need to get to the point where I can do this on the spot in my head because of the time constraints…I can’t as of right now. In fact…I can’t even come up with the right answer…again I am becoming confused distinguishing between MR and MN. (HELP!)

So, I am at the point of starting over again and trying to get a firm grasp on the subject from the beginning, but where do I start?

Is this the right thinking…?

1.Memorize the words/ translation that introduces sufficient/necessary.
2.Practice diagramming.
3.Learn how to diagram several conditional premises.
4.Drill recognizing MR and MN.
5.LSAT Question drills on CR.

To be honest guys, I had not memorized the list of indicators…I worked on this yesterday and I think I have it now. Concerned with diagramming…I just don’t think that I will have time to do this on the LR sections. Should I still do it now just to get a hang of it, particularly when there are several sufficient and necessary conditions?  Where (besides bible) can I find drills on recognizing MR and MN?

Am I missing anything?

I just wanted to also say thanks….you guys are amazing. It really is appreciated how hard you work for all of us on here!

#### ssilver0210

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• Posts: 210
##### Re: Stuck on Conditional Reasoning...
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2008, 06:52:57 PM »
Let me try to help based on how I would go about reasoning this type of question. I tend to work with words rather than diagrams, so I'll go that route, though I'm sure someone can chime in with a diagram to help you out as well.

The statement is telling us why some people do not feel secure.  That is really important. The statement is not telling us about why people do feel secure, or what will be required to cause people to feel secure. It's simply telling us a reason why some people do not feel secure.

If people do not know whether their actions are legal then they do not feel secure. If there are vague limits on people's freedoms then they will not know whether their actions are legal. If there are vague laws, then there will be vague limits on peoples' freedoms.

So vague laws cause vague limits on peoples' freedoms, which cause people to not feel secure.

Choice (1) says that people can feel secure only if they know for certain whether their actions are legal. We know that people do not feel secure if they do not know for certain whether their actions are legal. That's ALL we know. We don't know whether a person will feel secure if they know for certain that their actions are legal.  This eliminates both choices (1) and (3).

Choice (4) says that people can feel secure if they are governed by laws that are not vague. This is very much like choice (1) and (3). It's telling us what is required for people to feel secure. But we haven't been given enough information to come to any conclusion about what might cause a person to feel secure. I know I'm being redundant, but we only know what is required for someone to not feel secure.

Choice (5) says that only people who feel secure can know for certain whether their actions are legal. We haven't been told anything about what is required for someone to know whether or not their actions are legal. We've only been told that not knowing whether an action is legal will lead to not feeling secure.

Choice (2) says that if people do not know for certain whether their actions are legal, then they might not feel secure.

Let's assume that's not true, and that people will feel secure even if they do not know for certain whether their actions are legal. The conclusion of the argument states that under vague laws people can not feel secure. If people will feel secure even if they do not know for certain whether their actions are legal, then vague laws wouldn't really have much of an effect on whether or not a person feels secure.

So, the conclusion of the argument (that under vague laws people can not feel secure) rests on the assumption that if people do not for certain whether their actions are legal, then they might not feel secure.

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#### EarlCat

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##### Re: Stuck on Conditional Reasoning...
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2008, 11:53:51 PM »
Vague laws set vague limits on people’s freedom, which makes it impossible for them to know for certain whether their actions are legal. Thus, under vague laws people cannot feel secure.

Premise:     VLaw  -> VLim  -> ~KLegal
Conclusion:  VLaw ----------------------> ~FS
Assumption:                    ~KLegal -> ~FS
Contrapositive:                     FS -> KLegal

#### Die Gefährt!

• Newbie
• Posts: 1
##### Re: Stuck on Conditional Reasoning...
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2008, 06:11:16 PM »
Let me try to help based on how I would go about reasoning this type of question. I tend to work with words rather than diagrams, so I'll go that route, though I'm sure someone can chime in with a diagram to help you out as well.

The statement is telling us why some people do not feel secure.  That is really important. The statement is not telling us about why people do feel secure, or what will be required to cause people to feel secure. It's simply telling us a reason why some people do not feel secure.

If people do not know whether their actions are legal then they do not feel secure. If there are vague limits on people's freedoms then they will not know whether their actions are legal. If there are vague laws, then there will be vague limits on peoples' freedoms.

So vague laws cause vague limits on peoples' freedoms, which cause people to not feel secure.

Choice (1) says that people can feel secure only if they know for certain whether their actions are legal. We know that people do not feel secure if they do not know for certain whether their actions are legal. That's ALL we know. We don't know whether a person will feel secure if they know for certain that their actions are legal.  This eliminates both choices (1) and (3).

Choice (4) says that people can feel secure if they are governed by laws that are not vague. This is very much like choice (1) and (3). It's telling us what is required for people to feel secure. But we haven't been given enough information to come to any conclusion about what might cause a person to feel secure. I know I'm being redundant, but we only know what is required for someone to not feel secure.

Choice (5) says that only people who feel secure can know for certain whether their actions are legal. We haven't been told anything about what is required for someone to know whether or not their actions are legal. We've only been told that not knowing whether an action is legal will lead to not feeling secure.

Choice (2) says that if people do not know for certain whether their actions are legal, then they might not feel secure.

Let's assume that's not true, and that people will feel secure even if they do not know for certain whether their actions are legal. The conclusion of the argument states that under vague laws people can not feel secure. If people will feel secure even if they do not know for certain whether their actions are legal, then vague laws wouldn't really have much of an effect on whether or not a person feels secure.

So, the conclusion of the argument (that under vague laws people can not feel secure) rests on the assumption that if people do not for certain whether their actions are legal, then they might not feel secure.

//Who is this misguided clown and why is he continually posting crap like this?//

Sean, since it is clear that you don't understand basic formal logic, do everyone a favor and STFU. Thanks buddy.

To everyone else, read what EarlCat wrote and ignore Sean's posts because he hasn't got a clue.

Yours truly,

F_U