QUESTION TYPE: Sufficient Assumption
CONCLUSION: Murray can’t be executive administrator.
- Executive board ➞ degree AND conviction
- Contrapositive: Conviction OR degree ➞ Executive board
- Murray has an undergraduate degree and a felony conviction.
ANALYSIS: On sufficient assumption questions, you must connect the evidence to the conclusion. Here, we’re trying to prove that Murray can’t be executive administrator. Since this is a negative thing for Murray, we should only focus on the negatives in the evidence. i.e. His criminal conviction. We can ignore the bachelor’s degree, as that’s a positive.
Note that the evidence is about being appointed to the executive board, whereas the conclusion is about being executive administrator. Distinctions like this are important.
Here’s the ideal method for sufficient assumption questions: split the conclusion apart:
Then, fill in the evidence:
conviction ➞ board administrator
Then look for the gap. Once you draw it this way, you can see how to prove the argument: connect “board@ to @administrator”. You could also use the contrapositive: “administrator ➞ board”)
The wrong answers are mostly just confusing. I have written explanations for each, but don’t worry too much if the answers don’t make sense. On sufficient assumption questions, you mainly want to get into the habit of looking for the right answer.
- This answer gives sufficient conditions for being appointed to the board. If you take the contrapositive, you get:
board ➞ masters or felony conviction
Well, that’s useless. This just tells us “if you can’t be appointed to the board, you either have no masters degree, or you have a felony conviction.”
We already knew Murray had a felony conviction. This answer tells us nothing.
- CORRECT. We know Murray isn’t eligible for the board, due to his conviction. If this answer is true, then that makes Murray ineligible to be executive administrator as well.
Diagram: Executive Administrator eligible ➞ board eligible
eligible board ➞ executive administrator
- So? This doesn’t mean Murray can’t be Executive Administrator. This is like saying “Sarah has a 180 LSAT. But a 180 LSAT isn’t necessary for getting to law school. So Sarah won’t get into law school”. i.e. the fact that an undergrad isn’t strictly required doesn’t make his degree a bad thing.
- This answer is just an incorrect negation of the conclusion. It’s possible that the felony conviction is utterly irrelevant to Murray’s being appointed Executive Administrator – maybe he’d fail either way.
- So? This doesn’t mean the felony charge is an absolute bar to being appointed Executive Administrator.
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