Try a Sample Logical Reasoning Question: Sufficient Assumption

Test 73, Section 2, Question 12

The chairperson should not have released the Election Commission’s report to the public, for the chairperson did not consult any other members of the commission about releasing the report before having it released.


The argument’s conclusion can be properly inferred if which one of the following is assumed?


A

It would have been permissible for the chairperson to release the commission’s report to the public only if most other members of the commission had first given their consent.

B

All of the members of the commission had signed the report prior to its release.

C

The chairperson would not have been justified in releasing the commission’s report if any members of the commission had serious reservations about the report’s content.

D

The chairperson would have been justified in releasing the report only if each of the commission’s members would have agreed to its being released had they been consulted.

E

Some members of the commission would have preferred that the report not be released to the public.

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View Explanation

The conclusion of the argument is “The chair should not have released the report.” But we only have one premise: The chair didn’t consult anyone before releasing. So how do we make this argument work, which is what a Sufficient Assumption question is asking us to do? We need to add another premise. My prediction is, “The chair should only release the report if she consults at least one other member of the commission.”

A. This one says that it is only permissible for the chair to release the report if she has the consent of most other members of the commission. Inserted into the argument, we have: 1) the chair did not consult anyone about the report; 2) the chair would only be justified in releasing the report if most other members first gave consent, so 3) she shouldn’t have done it. That works! Like I said in brief above, if she didn’t consult anyone else, there’s no way most of the commission members “first gave consent.”

B. This hurts the argument, implying that the commission unanimously approved the report’s release. “Eh, even if she didn’t consult them, they had already signed…” That can’t be used to prove the chair shouldn’t have released the report on the grounds of not consulting anyone else.

C. We don’t know if any members of the commission had serious reservations or not, so this doesn’t help us prove she shouldn’t have done it.

D. This one says “the chairperson would have been justified…only if each of the commission’s members would have agreed to its being released had they been consulted.” This leaves open this loophole of like, “Ah, well, yeah, the chair didn’t consult them, but she knew they would have agreed anyway, so actually she was justified in releasing the report.” We need to close this loophole to reach our desired conclusion (“She should NOT have released the report”).

E. Uh, so? Doesn’t matter because we don’t have any rule saying that unanimous approval is required. But nor do we have any rule saying, “If at least one commission member would not prefer to release the report, then you shouldn’t do it.” On its own, this doesn’t help us make the conclusion true (what we need to do in a Sufficient Assumption question), so this isn’t the answer.

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