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LSAT - Logical Reasoning Fundamentals > Causation - Basics > Flashcards

Flashcards in Causation - Basics Deck (9)
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1

IS THIS A CAUSAL CLAIM?

 

Everyone who ate the pie got sick.

NO.

Just because everyone who ate the pie got sick doesn't mean that the pie caused people to get sick. It's just a statement that the people who ate the pie happened to get sick; they may have gotten sick for some other reason.

2

IS THIS A CAUSAL CLAIM?

In order to become a professional basketball player, one must be tall.

NO.

This statement is just asserting that being tall is required to be a pro basketball player. But that doesn't mean being tall causes one to be a pro basketball player.

3

IS THIS A CAUSAL CLAIM?

The rash resulted from excessive face-washing.

YES.

The phrase "resulted from" indicates that the rash is the effect and excessive face-washing is the cause.

4

IS THIS A CAUSAL CLAIM?

Effective studying can increase one's LSAT score.

YES

"Increase" is causal langauge indicating that effective studying can produce a higher LSAT score.

5

IS THIS A CAUSAL CLAIM?

The hardest-working employees tend to be the ones who are most likely to be promoted.

NO

This statement is not asserting that being hard-working is what causes those employeed to be more likely to be promoted. It's just observing that these kind of employees happen to be the kind who are more likely to be promoted. It's entirely possible that there's another factor that is causing the promotion; maybe the hardest-working employees also tend to be the most competent and least prone to making mistakes?

6

IS THIS A CAUSAL CLAIM?

If you want to reduce your chance of heart disease, you should stop eating red meat.

YES

The causal claim in this statement is implicit. Why is it that one should stop eating red meat if one wants to reduce the chance of heart disease? Because eating red meat increases one's chance of heart disease.

7

A is correlated with B. Therefore, A causes B.

 

What is the primary way to weaken this argument?

Identify an alternate explanation for the correlation between A and B.

One possibility is that there's a third factor, C, that is causing both A and B.

Another possibility is that the third factor, C, causes B, but C happens to be associated with A.

The third possibility is that the causation is reversed: B causes A.

Finally, the last possibility is that there's merely a coincidence or that the observed correlation is just a mistake and there really isn't any correlation. (This would be rare on the LSAT, so focus much more on the first three possible alternate explanations.)

8

X is correlated with Y. Thus, X causes Y.

 

What is the primary way to strengthen this argument?

Eliminate alternate explanations for the correlation.

9

VALID OR INVALID?

On average, people who eat vegetables every day are healthier than people who don't eat vegetables as often. Thus, eating vegetables has an effect on health.

INVALID

Correlation doesn't prove causation! Maybe the people who eat vegetables every day also do other things, like exercise, and it's those other things that cause the better health?