LSAT Kung Fu Blog / Quick Hit: Inconsistency and Ladies' Underwear

Quick Hit: Inconsistency and Ladies' Underwear

Quick Hit: Inconsistency and Ladies' Underwear


And now comes the time in our awesome LSAT prep when we need to talk about the word "consistent."

You know what that word means? Almost nothing, is what it means. Seriously, it has barely any meaning at all. Like this:

Wearing women's underwear is consistent with being a scary, stalkery creeper.
Of course, wearing women's underwear is also consistent with being a totally normal and lovely woman.

Sniffing glue is consistent with being a brain-dead sociopath.
Then again, sniffing glue is also consistent with being a bright and inquisitive puppy.

Kissing your boss on the lips is behavior consistent with a pink slip and also possibly a restraining order.
However, kissing your boss on the lips is also behavior consistent with being your boss's husband.

See what I mean? Consistency has no currency; that two things are consistent with each other means only that they are not mutually exclusive.

And now perhaps you can see where this is going; while consistent has almost no meaning, inconsistent means a whole big fat lot.

If two things are inconsistent, then those things are mutually exclusive. They cannot both happen at the same time and place:

Being in Boston at a certain time is inconsistent with being in Damascus at that time.

Wearing Crocs is inconsistent with enjoying a wide dating pool.

And so on.

So in this question, when we are asked what is inconsistent with the rule outlined in the passage, we are being asked for an answer that must be false, according to that rule.

In this case, the rule is (as it always is) a simple conditional: You can't restrict behavior unless you're preventing harm to others.

(I'm sure you remember how to deal symbolically with "unless", but if you need a refresher, here's a video recap).

When we're done, we should have this:

R[estrict/Interfere] → P[revent harm to others]

or, contrapositivize that bitch:

not-P[reventing] → no-R[etricting]

Among the answer choices, we may expect some wrong answers that follow the rule, and some other bad choices that just live outside the rule altogether (I'm especially looking at you, (B) and your scientist nonsense).

Then there will be one correct choice that directly violates the rule. Here, to be inconsistent we need an instance where we do restrict behavior, even though that restriction doesn't prevent harm to others.

And in answer choice (E), we're going to nanny state that shit, just to keep people from harming themselves. This is inconsistent with our rule!



Consistently yours,
Dave Hall