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Quick Hit: The False Choice

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Quick Hit: The False Choice

69.1.7

The thing I like about this question (it's a Necessary Assumption question, for those of you keeping score at home) is the clear instance of what I refer to as a False Choice flaw.

By my count, this is the fourth-most-common error in reasoning on the test (your count will vary a bit depending on how you classify things). The False Choice is that hot mess that happens when you try to argue by enumeration. Like this:

"I want to impress that girl. But I don't have the moves like Jagger, and I have only a wee willie (baseball card. Why? What were you thinking about?), so I need to do really well on the LSAT."

First, you might notice that there's certainly an assumption involved here about how much--or whether--a big LSAT score impresses girls. But even if we were to grant that it does*, why is that the thing you need to do? I mean, why not learn how to be funny? Or work up some feats of strength? Wear cologne? Drive a bitchin' Camaro? Grow some facial hair? Bathe properly?

For me, the most striking feature of the argument is the false choice it indicates: it assumes, without offering any evidence, that you must either have (A) Jagger-moves, (B) more than a wee willie (baseball card!), or else (C) a high LSAT score. The argument fails because it just assumes that those are the only three options for impressing girls. In order for this technique--ticking items off a list--to be successful, you've got to know what all your options are.

Same thing in Question 7 here.

The photos came out bad. Then we argue that if (A) the film was OK, if (B) the camera was OK, and if (C) the customer handled the film right, then the mistake must have been due to the store's processing technique.

This is a False Choice; maybe it was the store's fault, but only if we assume that those are the only four ways a photo can go bad.

Answer choice (B) states that assumption, and is therefore the right answer.

Questions about this?

Sock 'em to me.

 

*IT TOTALLY DOES.