QUESTION TEXT: Novelists cannot become great as long as…
QUESTION TYPE: Necessary Assumption
CONCLUSION: Novelists cannot become great if they remain in academia.
REASONING: Schools help teach observation and analysis. But you can’t intuitively understand the emotions of everyday life unless you leave academia.
ANALYSIS: The argument is assuming that novelists must understand the emotions of everyday life.
An interesting psychological note is that answers A and C contain the word impartial. Many people think academics are biased and so they associate leaving academia with impartiality. These two answer choices are much more tempting if you bring in this outside assumption about academics. The stimulus doesn’t mention impartiality: it’s completely irrelevant to the question.
Most LSAT questions use these types of triggers for outside assumptions. When you get a question wrong, see if you can spot outside assumptions you used that went beyond the stimulus.
- The stimulus does not mention impartiality. This is completely off-base.
- The stimulus just said that observation and analysis are useful to novelists. They aren’t necessarily essential. These qualities come from academia.
- It isn’t necessary that participation in life always makes novelists great. It’s only necessary that novelists need to participate in life if they are going to be great (i.e. it has to be a necessary condition but not necessarily a sufficient condition.)
- CORRECT. If novelists don’t need to grasp everyday emotions then maybe they can remain in academia.
- This is not right because it’s not just “knowledge” that novelists get by leaving academia. They could get “an intuitive grasp” of the emotions of everyday life. That’s something more profound than knowledge.
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