Flaw question – my favorite.
The flaw seems pretty straightforward – it's saying that a claim is false solely because it comes from a person (in an occupation) with questionable incentives. Just because sales folks push customers towards products that yield the highest commissions doesn't mean that the claims they make about the quality of the products are inaccurate. That's like saying, “Doctors steer patients to opt for the highest level of medical care, thus you can be sure the claims that they make about your health are inaccurate.” No matter how sleazy and slimy salespeople may seem, ain't it possible that the claims that they make about the quality of products are accurate, even when those very same products yield the highest commission for them? There are plenty of products wherein quality is often directly proportional to price (or sales commission) – i.e., cars, furniture, health insurance, etc. All I have to do is look for an answer that describes this common flaw.
A. This answer choice is describing circular argument. That ain't what's happening here. Nothing circular about the given argument. A is gone.
B. My only problem with this answer is the phrase “some claims.” I know that “some” means “one or more,” but the conclusion in the stimulus seems to imply that “all claims” made by salespeople are inaccurate – not just “some claims.” Otherwise, this answer choice is pretty on point. I'm going to keep it.
C. This flaw is what I like to call a “whole-to-part” flaw – just because it's true of the whole, doesn't mean it's true of the parts. Ain't happening in the given argument. C is a goner.
D. Sufficient/Necessary mix-up? I think not. Gone!
E. Appeal to inappropriate authority? I can see how a student might be tempted by this answer choice, but the author never relies on any authority figure. It's just the author ripping apart the salespeople. Ain't no respect for authority here at all. E is gone!
I'm left with answer choice B. By process of elimination, B is the correct answer. (Editor's note: On Flaw questions, we never want to pick an answer that accuses the speaker of making a worse error than they actually made. B is a conservative accusation... one cannot dismiss "all claims" by salespeople without dismissing "some claims" by salespeople. It's fine to accuse the speaker of a lesser crime than what they actually committed. At least B is attacking the correct error in reasoning. --nathan)
From Dave: I'm the founder of LSAT Sensei, a boutique LSAT prep and tutoring company based in Chicago. I received my JD from the University of Chicago Law School, and I've been teaching the LSAT for a decade (and counting). I took the LSAT three times: 163, 174, and 180. I had to work my tail off to improve my LSAT score, so I completely embrace the the philosophy that succeeding on the LSAT is a journey. You can tweet me here.
I love how even after wrestling with it for ten years, the LSAT is still fun and intriguing. Back when I was studying to get into law school, my favorite thing about the LSAT was the Games (analytical reasoning) section. I was a natural at it, and I totally got huge ego boosts when I could crush the entire section in 15 minutes or less. But over the years, my favorite thing about the LSAT constantly changes - currently, I get a huge kick out of tearing apart the Logical Reasoning prompts/stimuli. The LSAT authors have a way of digging their own grave.
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