LSAT Kung Fu Blog / Quick Hit: Don't be That Guy

Quick Hit: Don't be That Guy

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You know how sucky it is when you're at a social gathering, and somebody's telling you an awesome story about this ninja they met in Iga, and then some other guy butts in and he's all like, "Actually, ninjutzu was started as a reaction to the showy, antiquated style of the samurai, by a former..." and you tune him out almost immediately, but while you do so, you have a vision of stabbing him in the kneecap with a fork, ninja-style? Yeah, I know. You're sitting next to THAT GUY, and that sucks. Nobody likes the guy who starts sentences with the word "actually." It has never, in the entire history of its usage, preceded any remark that wasn't douchey.

Anyway, the accountant in Question 2 is totally That Guy.

And he's doing a typical LSAT Logical Reasoning thing, where he ascribes a position to some other party just in order to refute it. Here, he's telling us what some people (the newspaper industrial complex) say about costs, in order to say that they're wrong. Why are they wrong? BECAUSE HE SAYS SO IS WHY. Because the real threats are allegedly circulation and advertising fall-offs. Maybe, but he doesn't give us any evidence of it. He just claims it, and assumes it's relevant to the discussion.

And here's why that matters: this faulty logic is a typical error in reasoning committed by the LSAT, and you'll notice that here, it doesn't come in an argument that we've been asked to attack or defend. Here, we're just asked to describe what the accountant did. But that job is easier here—as it would also be easier in a question asking us to weaken or strengthen or whatever—by the fact that we can quickly describe his reasoning by appeal to a type that we have already seen before.

I describe the accountant's argument like this: That Guy is saying that the newspaper people are wrong about why they're losing money, because it's... wait for it... ACTUALLY for different reasons [that may or may not be true].

From that jumping-off point, it's easy to pick (D) for its similar assessment (we used the words "why" and "reasons" where the test writers used the word "explanations." This is the kind of synonymous description we're looking for in a right answer).

So, I guess what I'm saying is this:

  1. Knowing types of commonly-committed errors of reasoning is helpful for more than just identifying and exploiting flaws.
  2. Answering questions before going to answer choices makes us more efficient, more correct, and more full of the smug deliciousness of self-satisfaction (yeah, I don't know about that last one. It just seemed like the structure here called for a third thing that we're more of).
  3. Don't be That Guy.