Earlier this week, we gave you a rundown on some of the most common fallacies on the LSAT. It is, of course, helpful to understand those fallacies for Flaw questions in the Logical Reasoning section. However, familiarity with common flaws also helps you in other sections of the LSAT.
This one’s a no-brainer – in order to find the correct answer on a Parallel Flaw question, you’ll need to first identify the fallacy, and then find an answer choice that commits the same fallacy. Identifying the right answer choice is a helluva lot easier when you know what you’re looking for.
Strengthen and Weaken
Flaws come into play in two ways for Strengthen and Weaken questions. For one thing, you’ll want to start the question by figuring out what’s wrong with the argument, since identifying the flaw will help you either strengthen the argument by fixing the problem or weaken the argument by making the problem worse. Secondly, when evaluating whether the answer choices truly affect the argument, you’ll need to be wary of committing flaws yourself.
Sufficient and Necessary Assumption
Although sufficient and necessary assumption questions are asking for two very different types of assumptions, your first step will always be the same – to figure out what’s missing from the argument. How do you do that? By looking for common fallacies, of course.
Must Be True and Soft Must Be True
The Implication family is rife with opportunities to commit fallacies of your very own – each question is packed with answer choices that are about topics that are very similar to the stimulus, but not exactly the same (which is just begging for you to commit an equivocation fallacy) and other things of that ilk. Being comfortable with flaws also helps you spot wrong answers, and soon you’ll be nodding knowingly to yourself and muttering “Ah, this answer choice is trying to get me to make an incomplete comparison!” You won’t make a lot of friends at your testing center, but you’ll get a great score.
Showing off to your friends
Okay, this isn’t part of the LSAT, but it’s an integral part of LSAT prep. Everyone loves a know-it-all, so be sure to relentlessly correct your friends when they commit fallacies, and explain at great length why they’re wrong. In addition to the common fallacies we discussed on Tuesday, you’ll want to get familiar with the ad hominem fallacy, which is one of the most common ones you’ll see IRL (though, sadly, not nearly as common on the LSAT) . Like, when a certain cable news commentator exclaims, “Brad Pitt took his private jet to Europe to tell us all about how bad global warming is and that we should be mindful of the environment!” Yeah, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong about global warming, jerk.