Traditionally, on the LSAT, questions in the Logical Reasoning section that used the word ‘principle have been grouped into their own category for teaching purposes. We teach that a principle is a general rule, which it is, and that correctly identifying the general rule that applies in a given question will lead you to the correct answer.I’ve been giving some thought to how principles are applied in the different questions that employ the word. Consider the following, “Which one of the following principles underlies the arbitrator’s argument/” Consider the word underlies. What underlies any given argument? It’s assumption, or assumptions. In this case, the question asks us to find the general rule that must apply in order for the arbitrator’s argument to proceed correctly. This is essentially an assumption question.
“Which of the following principles, if valid, most helps to justify the editorials argumentation?” When an answer justifies an argument, if strengthens it, right?
Question 10, on page 38 of the ‘Next Ten” LSAT book, asks, “Which one of the following most closely conforms to the principle that the passage above illustrates?”
Upon a closer look, we find that this is essentially a parallel reasoning question. The initial paragraph gives us a specific example that illustrates one rule, and each answer choice gives us different examples. Our task is to find the one that illustrates the same rule.So when you see the word principle on the LSAT, consider the context. If you don’t know your task, how can you get the correct answer?
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