Guest blogger: Christine Ness
When I finished reading this question, I was not convinced by the argument. I took my time to think about why I had a problem with it before I read the question and answer choices. I knew there was something missing. There needed to be one more premise to link the existing premises with the conclusion.
The existing premises are: -Under current rules, researchers have one year after publication to submit a patent application; this allows for wide sharing prior to patent. -Proposed change would have the application precede publication; this would delay communication of discoveries.
Then the argument jumps to a conclusion: -Proposed change will have a chilling effect on research.
There's a big gap between the premises and the conclusion. How do we know that delayed communication of discoveries will have a chilling effect on research? This has been assumed by the argument.
The question simply asks us to identify an assumption made by the argument. Specifically, it's looking for a Sufficient Assumption... an answer that will force the conclusion to be true, when added to the existing premises. I was pretty sure going into the answer choices that I would find the assumption I identified above.
A. The argument does not address the volume of patent applications at all. This can't be it.
B. This doesn't help to explain why the proposed change will have a chilling effect.
C. Here we go--just as predicted.
D. The opinions of researchers do not explain the gap in the argument.
E. Whether or not the current rules “reward” communication of discoveries does not explain the gap in the argument.
Our answer is C, because it bridges an obvious gap in the argument.
From Christine: I went to law school to become a public interest attorney. Nate was my LSAT teacher, back in 2008, and I went from a 156 to a 160. I think the main reason that I didn't improve more is that he and I became good friends (and drinking buddies) during the class and I was having too much fun hanging out with him to study. I don't regret it, we've now been together five years! I recently graduated from UC Hastings, where I realized that I don't have the ideal personality type to be a lawyer. So now I'm working in nonprofit administration and thanking my lucky stars for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. My favorite thing about the LSAT is that once you get a little practice under your belt it feels like a game--these days, I moonlight as an editor of Nate's LSAT books and after all this time I actually find it fun.
Please ask questions and/or suggest corrections to anything that seems confusing... we want to make this the best resource we can for LSAT students. We'll have all the June 2013 explanations up as quickly as possible. Thanks for reading. Tell your friends! --nathan