June 2007 LSAT, II, #7

Section 2, Question 7 of the June 2007 LSAT is a Reading Comprehension question in disguise.  It's imperative here to read the Ethicist's statement, understand it, and then be able to apply it.  Go ahead and read the question now.  Stop before you reach the answer choices.  If I took your test away from you at this point, would you be able to tell me, more or less, what the Ethicist said? If you can't put the Ethicist's statement in your own words, then you're in trouble.  Here's what I got out of it:  The Ethicist thinks that "advanced morality" should be based on principles that have nothing to do with self-interest or what other people think.  Basically, she's saying you should do what's right because it's right, not because of any potential personal gain or trying to look good.

Now, that's probably not a perfect interpretation.  But it's something.  I've done my best to understand the Ethicist's statement before diving into the answer choices.  At the very least, this will help me eliminate answer choices that are totally out of sync with her idea.

(I know I've been beating on this, but it's hugely important:  Most students proceed to the answer choices much too quickly.  If you go into the answer choices thinking that they are going to help explain the Ethicist's statement somehow, you are absolutely screwed.  You must arrive at an independent understanding of the Ethicist's statement.  The answer choices will never explain anything to you.  Four out of five of them, by definition, are incorrect!)

The question asks:  "The actions of which one of the following individuals exhibit the most advanced kind of moral motivation, as described by the ethicist?"  In other words, which one of these folks is acting according to the Ethicist's ideal?  So we're looking for somebody who is doing what's right because it's right... not for personal gain or appearances.  Let's see.

A)  Bobby is only giving money to avoid looking bad.  No way.

B)  Wes is only giving money to try to look good.  No way.

C)  Donna won't blow the whistle because she doesn't want to get fired.  Who are these assholes?  We're still looking for someone acting on principle.

D)  This one is much better than A-C.  Jadine doesn't seem to be acting for personal gain, or to keep up appearances.  She's blowing the whistle on her employer without thinking of herself at all.  To me, she seems to be operating under independent principles.  This is the best answer so far.

E)  Leigh is only blowing the whistle because of external pressure from her friends.  That's not principled behavior... she's doing it to look better in the eyes of her friends.  A, B, C, and E were all terrible.  D is the best answer by far.