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Identify the principle | Video lesson

Watch one way to approach questions that ask you to identify a principle that is reflected by an argument in the logical reasoning section of the LSAT.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user xdivergingx
    isnt putting domestic fruit growers out of business also a negative that the politician is highlighting...
    (7 votes)
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  • boggle green style avatar for user jopang
    I don't understand why the choice A isn't the right answer.I mean, the word "otherwise" means that we should impose tariff or the bad result will happen. So, politician is trying to make a suggestion. And the main conclusion should be: We should...more than domestic fruit. Other parts of this passage is just support for the main conclusion. Choice A is conform to this main conclusion. Then why A is a wrong answer?
    (5 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Izumi
    I still don't understand why A wouldn't make a better answer than C. The passage implies economics more than social concerns. Especially because those social consequences stem from a potential economic issue.
    (4 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Narrator] To identify this question, let's look at what it asks. The politician's recommendation most closely conforms to which one of the following principles? This is an identify the principle question so the answer will be a principle which is a sort of a general rule or generalization that governs a specific situation. The wrong choices will also be principles but they won't be principles that govern the specific situation in this passage. They might be close, but just off in one little respect or they might be way off. Either way, we'll eliminate any principle that has even one part that doesn't match with what's happening in the stimulus. A common everyday principle that you might be familiar with is better late than never, for example. So a situation that conforms to that principle might be something like, Anna apologized to her friend even though it was for something that happened two years ago because that friend is moving away and she might never have the chance to apologize later. So, better late than never. But there are an infinite number of specific situations for which we could say better late than never. So that's the basic idea of a principle. It's general enough that it can apply to lots and lots of different specific scenarios. Okay, pause your video now if you would like to try this question on your own otherwise, let's move to the explanation. All right, let's read the stimulus together and we'll pay attention to what the politician seems to value in the passage. The politician says, we should impose a tariff on imported fruit to make it cost consumers more than domestic fruit. Otherwise, growers from other countries who can grow better fruit more cheaply will put domestic fruit growers out of business. This will result in farmland's being converted to more lucrative industrial uses and the consequent vanishing of a unique way of life. What does the politician seem interested in? We can distinguish here a decision that could go one of two ways. Either one, we impose tariff on imported fruit, which makes it cost more to buy the domestic fruit or we don't impose a tariff on imported fruit which would lead to growers from other countries putting domestic fruit growers out of business and that would result in farmland being converted to more lucrative industrial uses and also result in the vanishing of a unique way of life. It's interesting that we see several advantages to not following the politician's recommendation which are better fruit, cheaper fruit, and that farmland would be converted to more lucrative industrial uses. This is what would happen if we didn't follow the politician's recommendation. And yet, the politician still doesn't want all of those good things. Why, what's making the politician still want to impose a tariff even with all those advantages? It must be because of the one drawback that the politician points out, that a unique way of life would disappear. And that's a pretty strong prediction for our principle, that that unique way of life outweighs a bunch of these advantages or the survival of that unique way of life is more important than having the advantages that you would otherwise have. Let's evaluate each choice to see which one matches. Remember, the wrong choices will include pieces that don't match with the situation that the passage presents. A, a country should put its own economic interests over that of other countries. This isn't a relevant principle and actually it's pretty contrary to the passage. This principle places importance on a country's own economic interests but the politician is totally ready to take steps, though it hurts the country's own economic interest. We know that cheap imported fruit would mean more lucrative industrial uses for farmland but the politician isn't having it. So, this principle doesn't apply to the passage. B, the interests of producers should always take precedence over those of consumers. This principle is too strong. The politician is discussing one specific instance that involves the interests of producers and the interests of consumers. That certainly doesn't indicate a principle that the interests of producers should always take precedence over those of consumers. So we can eliminate this. C, social concerns should sometimes take precedence over economic efficiency. This matches our prediction. We said that not losing a unique way of life is more important than the economic advantages that would come with losing that way of life. That means the the politician believes that social concerns should sometimes, for example in this case, take precedence over economic efficiency. This is our answer. We would stop here on test day but let's evaluate D and E while we're here and then we'll do a recap. D, a country should put the interests of its own citizens ahead of those of citizens of other countries. This doesn't match the passage because the politician never makes any kind of comparison between what's more important, the interests of a country's own citizens or the interests of other country's citizens. In fact, the interests of other country's citizens never even factors in to the situation at all. E, government intervention sometimes creates more economic efficiency than free markets. This doesn't match the passage either. The government intervention that the politician is proposing is actually probably going to create less economic efficiency than free markets would. In a freer market than the one the politician's describing, we're told that there would be more lucrative industrial uses for land. So if anything, choice E goes opposite of what we'd be looking for. So, to recap, for identify the principle questions in which you're given a situation and you're asked to find the principle that governs it, try to think big picture. Is there something that the arguer seems to value more than something else? What are some overarching things that we see? Does each part of the answer line up with something that you see happening in the stimulus? Principles are very important to understand because they're a big part of what the legal system is founded on, so be precise in understanding what the principle means and doesn't mean.