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Course: LSAT (DEPRECATED) > Unit 1

Lesson 10: Reading Comprehension - Worked Examples

Inferences about info | Law passage | Cosmic Justice

Watch a demonstration of one way to approach an "inference about information" question about a LSAT reading comprehension law passage. Created by Dave Travis.

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Video transcript

- [Instructor] Passage A most strongly supports which one of the following inferences regarding the example of the murderer in passage B? Okay, so what would passage A support regarding the example of the murderer in passage B. So the murderer might have had a traumatic childhood but cosmic justice says, yeah we should take that into account and it should mitigate the punishment if that murderer's childhood was, you know, so traumatic that, you know, it's not really the murderer's fault. But what does passage A most strongly support? Passage A just tells us about what cosmic justice is and says, look Seoul says that cosmic justice is not something that we should attempt because, you know, the judge and jury can't know everything and shouldn't even try to know everything. So before we look at our choices we really do need to lock down in our heads the sort of thing that we're looking for in the choices because if we start looking at the choices one by one and go down those little rabbit holes to try to figure out which one might work, comparing each choice to passage A, we're gonna end up taking a lot of time, time that we don't have, time that is better spent working on other questions. So it's definitely worth your while to get an idea of what you want, try to make a prediction of the sort of thing you're looking for before you start looking. So all that passage A says, again, is what cosmic justice is and that we should not attempt cosmic justice because we cannot know everything. Okay so that's what we're looking for, let's look at the choices. Now, A. From the perspective of cosmic justice, the murderer cannot be considered responsible for his crime. Well, passage A says that human beings aren't able to determine what is cosmically just, so that passage doesn't really support a claim like this. Let's cross it out. B. Once the jury has convicted the murderer, the judge should be permitted substantial discretion in determining his punishment. So the judge should be given discretion, I mean, no, cosmic justice does not work, and so this discretion is not really what we're looking for. Let's definitely move on. You know, the judge and jury should not attempt to mitigate things because cosmic justice is not desirable. C. Recognition of our common human fallibility should lead us to err in the direction of leniency toward the murderer. Passage A does recognize human fallibility, or certainly humanity's inability to know everything. But does passage A say that because of that, we should err in the direction of leniency? That originally wasn't mentioned, so that's not really what we're looking for. D. The extent is any to which the murderer's culpability is mitigated by his childhood, okay, is beyond the ability of any judge or jury to determine. So, we cannot know. It's beyond our ability. We are not omniscient. That is what passage A is all about. D is looking really good. Let's check out E. The murderer's childhood must be presumed to have been without influence upon his criminal behavior. I'm not sure either passage says that, you know, we should presume that it had no influence. The argument against cosmic justice says that we cannot know what that influence is, and it should not affect the way that justice is served according to the process of justice which is what Thomas Seoul is recommending that we focus on so that humans try to render justice that way. But nothing stated about presuming that there was no influence. E is wrong. D looks really good, we should just choose it and move on. And we have figured out good reasons why these other choices are not correct.