By Nathan Fox
Onward through the June 2007 LSAT. Section 3, number 7 presents a conversation between two people, Antonio and Maria. The question asks “Antonio and Maria disagree over,” so the task here is to figure out what Antonio and Maria are really fighting about. Are they fighting about the evidence? If so, which part of the evidence? Or do they agree about the evidence, but disagree about what that evidence means, i.e., the conclusion? Let’s see.
I can usually predict this sort of question in advance with a reasonable degree of certainty, since the question only makes sense if the two speakers’ statements prove that they disagree about something. Here goes: Antonio says moderation causes one to “lose the joy of spontaneity” and “miss the opportunities that come to those who… take great chances or go too far.” Maria says that the kind of moderation that causes one to never risk going too far is actually a failure to live moderately; she concludes that “one must be moderate even in one’s moderation.”
This conversation greatly bores me, but I still think we can answer the question. Basically, they are arguing about the nature of moderation. Antonio says one can be moderate by never taking risks, Maria says one must take some risks to be moderate. Actually, let’s make it more interesting by pretending they’re talking about beer.
Antonio thinks one can be “moderate” by never drinking any beer at all. Maria thinks one can NOT be “moderate” with this kind of teetotaling. Maria would advise that to be “moderate” a person should have a beer now and again (but don’t go too far and end up in the gutter).
Make sense? Let’s see if we’ve predicted the answer:
A) Nope. All they’re arguing about is the definition of “moderation.” Neither speaker has taken a position on whether or not moderation, or taking chances, is desirable.
B) I think this is probably it. This basically means “they are arguing about the definition of moderation.”
C) Definitely not. Neither speaker talks about the compatibility of “other virtues” (honestly, perhaps) with moderation.
D) Nope. Same explanation as A.
E) Nope, same explanation as D and E.
Predict the answer to this type of question in advance! Don’t look at the answer choices until you’ve got a very good idea what the real argument is about.