• Nathan Fox

Infinite Ways to Lose

Test 36 - Section 3 - Question 22

Logical Reasoning

Difficulty: 4


Explanation


There are a million ways this argument could go wrong. Sure, the process of decaffeination might not cost anything. But higher costs could still be the reason decaf costs more than regular. Like:


–What if coffee, once decaffeinated, requires expensive preservation techniques to avoid early spoilage?

–What if printing "decaf" on the label is surprisingly expensive (all that extra ink!)

–What if the government requires extensive testing and a bunch of expensive lawyer bullshit if you're going to call your coffee "decaf"?

–What if selling decaf coffee subjects you to a significant risk of getting sued, because ain't nobody actually want to buy stupid decaf coffee, and they tend to sue you after they realize you've hoodwinked them into buying decaf? 


And on and on and on. Every argument has infinite ways it can lose. And each of these ways can be translated into a necessary assumption. Watch:


–The argument has necessarily assumed that coffee, once decaffeinated, does not require expensive preservation techniques to avoid early spoilage.

–The argument has necessarily assumed that printing "decaf" on the label is not surprisingly expensive (all that extra ink is actually super cheap!)

–The argument has necessarily assumed that the government does not require extensive testing and a bunch of expensive lawyer bullshit if you're going to call your coffee "decaf."

–The argument has necessarily assumed that selling decaf coffee does not subject you to a significant risk of getting sued, because people do actually want to buy stupid decaf coffee, and they don't tend to sue you after they realize you've sold them what they actually wanted.


If you can feel that, you're gonna get a hell of a lot better at Necessary Assumptions. They're among the trickiest of all LSAT logical reasoning questions, but they're not that big of a deal once you see what you're supposed to be doing. 


A) No. The speaker does not have to agree with this. Processing regular and decaf coffee could cost exactly the same. That would actually strengthen the argument. 


B) No. The speaker does not have to agree with this. Obviously it costs more to make a Ferrari than a Festiva. Supply and demand matter, but the speaker is not committed to the idea that actual production costs never matter for any product.


C) No. Competition could be fierce. That would have no bearing on the argument. 


D) Whether consumers are stupid enough to pay premium prices for decaf has nothing to do with it. The argument is only about whether the cost of delivering the product is the reason for the higher price of decaf.


E) Yep. The speaker has to agree with this. See all my objections above? Add one more to the list: What if the decaffeination process doesn't cost much, but the beans you must use to make decaf coffee cost a fortune? See my list of necessary assumptions above? Add one more to the list: The argument has necessarily assumed that the beans you must use to make decaf coffee do not cost a fortune. That's why this is the answer.


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