Law School Discussion

"only"

"only"
« on: September 23, 2007, 11:45:29 PM »
Can someone please explain how "only" can be a necessary condition indicator and sufficient condition indicator?

I understand it is used differently based on the context it is used in (The only fruits are apples Vs. Only fruits are apples). Any extra elaboration into the logical limits of this particular word would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again!

Re: "only"
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2007, 11:53:25 PM »
there must be a different approach because I score around 165 range and I dont think about any of the stuff you mentioned at all..Prob why im not in the 170's...

I makes me feel like I either should have studied more or not visited this site..


Re: "only"
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2007, 11:56:27 PM »
there must be a different approach because I score around 165 range and I dont think about any of the stuff you mentioned at all..Prob why im not in the 170's...

I makes me feel like I either should have studied more or not visited this site..



So, does that mean you don't have the answer?? :)

Actually, I didn't start thinking about these things until a month ago. LRB and LGB got me to think about the logical limits of certain words and phrases. And if you are already scoring in the 165 range, looking into an added aresenal of logical knowledge could never hurt your score.


Re: "only"
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2007, 12:01:40 AM »
No sorry I dont have the answer..

I agree with you about looking into the limits of words..It couldnt hurt..

Hope someone answers your question...

Re: "only"
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2007, 12:23:26 AM »


Do you have an example of what you are referring to?  Only is a versatile nasty word for logic.  The textual context of its usage is key.

"The only way to achieve success is to work hard" Vs. "Only a professional consultant can solve the organizations problems."

Both of these are taken out of the LRB, but I don't feel the explanations elaborate enough on the logical limits of the word.
The first example makes "only" a sufficient condition indicator, while the next example makes "only" into a necessary condition indicator. What I do not understand is, in what contexts does the word shift meaning.

Thanks.

Re: "only"
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2007, 12:42:03 AM »
Page 132 of the LRB.

You are correct about "only" always indicating the necessary condition. But, my problem is: in what contexts does "only" not immediatly precede the necessary condition and still refer to the necessary condition?

For example: "The only way to achieve success is to work hard."

This confuses the heck out of me, because "only" is in front of "achieve success" which makes me assume its indicating the necessary condition. Yet, in this example the word "way" is modified somehow by "only," making it indicate "work hard" as the necessary condition. In this context, why and how does "only" modify "way?" And, are there other words that "only" can modify in this type of context?

Thanks.

Re: "only"
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2007, 01:12:36 AM »
Page 132 of the LRB.

You are correct about "only" always indicating the necessary condition. But, my problem is: in what contexts does "only" not immediatly precede the necessary condition and still refer to the necessary condition?

For example: "The only way to achieve success is to work hard."

This confuses the heck out of me, because "only" is in front of "achieve success" which makes me assume its indicating the necessary condition. Yet, in this example the word "way" is modified somehow by "only," making it indicate "work hard" as the necessary condition. In this context, why and how does "only" modify "way?" And, are there other words that "only" can modify in this type of context?

Thanks.

That goes into grammatical subject / predicate / verb usage / sentence construction stuff.

Only doesn't modify way.  

LRB, page 132, "In this sentence 'only' modifies 'way,' and the 'only way' refers to working hard. Thus, 'work hard' is in fact the necessary condition." This IS the explanation LRB gives for that particular sentence that I used. What does LRB mean by "only" modifying "way?" That is what is confusing me the most. How is "only way" referring to "working hard" and not to "achieve success?"

I know there has to be a more in depth explanation of this.

Jeffort, I know you got the answer to this you LSAT savant you!

Re: "only"
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2007, 01:21:00 AM »

How is "only way" referring to "working hard" and not to "achieve success?"


Is "achieving success" the ONLY WAY to do something in the sentence? No, the sentence was saying that "working hard" is the ONLY WAY to do something - the only way to achieve success. THAT'S how you know that only modifies "working hard" - you think about it logically. ;)

Re: "only"
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2007, 01:24:22 AM »
Also, "only" is an adjective that modifies the noun "way". You know it is an adjective because it describes what kind of way you have. What kind of way is it? It's the ONLY way. Then, the phrase "only way" turns around and refers to working hard, in that working hard is the "only way" to do something. You don't have to introduce something to refer to it.

At least, that's the way I see it. I haven't had a grammar class in a few years though.

Re: "only"
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2007, 01:24:37 AM »

How is "only way" referring to "working hard" and not to "achieve success?"


Is "achieving success" the ONLY WAY to do something in the sentence? No, the sentence was saying that "working hard" is the ONLY WAY to do something - the only way to achieve success. THAT'S how you know that only modifies "working hard" - you think about it logically. ;)

Ok, that brought me a little closer to sanity. Thanks Catwoman and Jeffort!

Catwoman is a great alter-ego to have on LSD. You can just whip people if they don't listen to you.