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November 26, 2010

LSAT Logic (Of Course) & Bargaining For Deals

LSAT Blog Logic Course Deals Bargaining Black FridayHope everyone celebrating Thanksgiving had a happy one!

With the holiday season coming up, many of you will be shopping for friends and family. In a down economy, it's more important than ever to get the best possible deal.

While sites like Amazon already have huge Black Friday sales, sometimes you'll actually have to get out of your pajamas and bargain with a real, live human (maybe at a boutique or something). They'll resist your efforts, but recognizing the flaws in their reasoning will help you make the best possible argument.


False Analogy
LSAT Blog False Analogy











"With the deal you're asking for, you'd be stealing money right out of my pocket."

"With a customer like you, I might as well just flush my money down the toilet."

The salesman treats different situations as if they are similar. Even if the salesman were to lose money on the deal, that's not quite the same as "stealing." Nor is it the same as flushing money down the toilet. Giving a good deal is much less likely to clog one's toilet, and it has the added benefit of creating goodwill (although that doesn't necessarily make it a good business decision).

In LSAT language:

"treats as similar two cases that are different in a critical respect."

Examples of the same flaw in actual LSAT questions:
PrepTest 29 (October 1999 LSAT), S4, Q25 (p43)
PrepTest 31 (June 2000 LSAT), S3, Q5 (p97)
PrepTest 33 (December 2000 LSAT), S3, Q15 (p172)



Ad Hominem Attack (Personal Attack)

LSAT Blog Ad Hominem Personal Attack Flaw








"You drove here in a Maserati. Why should I give you the deep discount you want?"

"That's a nice iPad for you to use while claiming that my prices will put you in the poorhouse."


The customer's ownership of the Maserati has nothing to do with the value of the item the customer is purchasing from the salesman.

Perhaps the customer can't afford to pay a lot for the item precisely because he or she bought the iPad.


In LSAT language:
"rejects a claim by attacking the proponents of the claim rather than addressing the claim itself"
"attack employers' motives instead of addressing their arguments"
"criticizing the source of a claim rather than examining the claim itself"

Examples of the same flaw in actual LSAT questions:
PrepTest 19 (June 1996 LSAT), S2, Q14 (p24)
PrepTest 26 (June 1998 LSAT), S4, Q4 (p241) (esp. relevant to Park51)
PrepTest 32 (October 2000 LSAT), S2, Q6 (p139)
PrepTest 34 (June 2001 LSAT), S2, Q1 (p194)



Appeal to Popular Opinion

"This is one of our most popular items. Everyone loves it, so you will too!"

Or check out this portion of a random banner ad:

LSAT Blog Appeal To Popular Opinion


Or this McDonald's sign:

LSAT Blog Appeal Popular Opinion Flaw






Just because more people go with Visa (whatever that means) and just because McDonald's has served over 99 billion meals, does that mean going with them is the way to go? Maybe they've just managed to fool all those people, but going with them wasn't necessarily the smartest move.

An example of LSAT language describing this flaw:

"taking evidence that a claim is believed to be true to constitute evidence that the claim is in fact true"

Examples of the same flaw in actual LSAT questions:
PrepTest 28 (June 1999 LSAT), S1, Q9 (p324)
PrepTest 32 (October 2000 LSAT), S4, Q13 (p141)



Part-to-Whole Flaw
LSAT Blog Logic Part Whole Flaw











This is a flaw that stores actually try to get you to commit. They prominently feature the best deals to draw you into the store, so you'll likely buy more expensive items when the advertised cheap ones have already sold out.

"This store has the best deals - I saw they're selling Call of Duty for only $29.99. Oh, they were sold out at 6AM because only 50 were in stock? Hmm...I'll buy this (overpriced) Microsoft Kinect for $299 instead."

(I don't know about you, but if I'm awake at 5AM, I don't want it to be because I'm waiting outside in the cold at some department store fighting to get the last discounted flatscreen TV at Best Buy.)

In LSAT language:
"improperly draws an inference about the scientific community from a premise about individual scientists"

Examples of the same flaw in actual LSAT questions:
PrepTest 19 (June 1996 LSAT), S4, Q3 (p36)
PrepTest 35 (October 2001 LSAT), S4, S18 (p245)




2 comments:

  1. Do you know where I can access any free, online, legitimate practice LSAT tests? Thanks
    -S

    ReplyDelete
  2. There is only ONE free practice test...the rest you have to buy...

    June 2007
    http://www.lsac.org/jd/pdfs/SamplePTJune.pdf

    ReplyDelete