Let’s Do Blind Review (PT 57.2.25)

Welcome to hell. Must-be-true questions are usually fairly simple. This one is not.

The Question

25. The law of the city of Weston regarding contributions to mayoral campaigns is as follows: all contributions to these campaigns in excess of $100 made by nonresidents of Weston who are not former residents of Weston must be registered with the city council. Brimley’s mayoral campaign clearly complied with this law since it accepted contributions only from residents and former residents of Weston.

Question stem: If all the statements above are true, which one of the following statements must be true?

(A) No nonresident of Weston contributed in excess of $100 to Brimley’s campaign.

(B) Some contributions to Brimley’s campaign in excess of $100 were registered with the city council.

(C) No contribution to Brimley’s campaign needed to be registered with the city council.

(D) All contributions to Brimley’s campaign that were registered with the city council were in excess of $100.

(E) Brimley’s campaign did not register any contributions with the city council.

The Argument

So this is not the first time I’ve done section 57.2–it’s not the first time I’d come across the specific question. Still, when I got to the stimulus, I had no idea what was going on. Let’s try and break it down:

  1. Principle: (universal) If contribution >$100, and nonresident, and not former resident, then must register with CC.

  2. Conclusion: We followed this principle–only residents and former residents made contributions.

What’s Going on Here?

Some double negatives and obfuscation, that’s what. On the real, this shit is just hard to make sense of, partly because of the complex and dense conditional principle, but mostly because the answer is asking us what must be true of the situation. In other words, that means we have to make an inference about what follows logically from the facts in the stimulus. But what even were that facts in the stimulus?

  1. Only two groups made contributions to the campaign: residents and former residents.
  2. If (E$ + ~resident + ~former resident )–> RCC

That’s it. That’s all we’ve got to go off of. Tell me, now–what must be true?

Let’s see.

One thing that jumps out to me is that if all contributions were made by residents and former residents, then no nonresident who is not a former resident made a contribution (or, more accurately, no such contribution if made was accepted by the campaign).

We can think of it like this: any person who makes a contribution is either a resident or they are a nonresident. If they are residents, then, hey–great, whatever–the sufficient condition in the general principle fails, and nothing happens; in this case, the rest of the conditional doesn’t tell us anything meaningful about this group. The sufficient condition fails because one of the conjuncts isn’t satisfied: that of being a nonresident. Residents aren’t nonresidents.

If a person is a nonresident, then the conditional will be applicable if the other two conjuncts are satisfied. But in the case of Brimley’s mayoral campaign, no nonresident who made a contribution is not not a former resident! Remember, we’re told in the stimulus that all accepted campaign contributions were made by either residents or former residents. So if an accepted campaign contribution was made by a nonresident, it was made by a former resident! Necessarily! Again: if a contribution was accepted, that contribution was made by either a nonresident or a former resident. Which is just a really fucking convoluted way of saying that no contribution from a nonresident who is not a former resident was accepted.

Another way of stating it: shit was grassroots. No contributions from out-of-towners who didn’t used to live here. No big superPACs. No money from distant cousins you’ve never seen that you didn’t grow up with. No money from mysterious Russian billionaires or demented and babyish American despots. Just townies or people who at least at one point were townies.

Thus, we’ve gotten to the root of it (or at least the root of something): The conclusion, that the mayoral campaign followed the principle, is true because the sufficient condition failed. In order for it not to have failed, an accepted contribution would’ve had to have been made by a nonresident nonformer resident. Donations from such individuals, if they were made, were not accepted by the campaign.

The law of the city of Weston was simply irrelevant to the mayoral campaign. Thus, the campaign complied (complied here meaning simply ‘did not violate’) with the law.

But we haven’t even begun addressing the question: given this, what must be true?

 

The Answer Choices

At this point, I still don’t have a good pre-phrase. I’m not sure what has to be true. I think it’s best to just jump into the AC’s and see what jives with the explication above.

(A) No nonresident of Weston’s campaign contributed in excess of $100 to Brimley’s campaign.

This is the answer I chose originally. Now, I’m not feeling good about it. In my defense, puppies were barking and my fucking roommate–godblesshissoul–would not stop squeaking his motherfucking squeaky toy. All I could think was can you please stop squeaking your squeaker for the love of god. (It needs to be said that he’s probably the best roommate one could ever ask for and that there are pretty much never disputes between us–if two minutes of rabidly squeaking a squeaky toy is my biggest complaint, I’m okay with that) (also I should probably have been wearing headphones).

Anyway, can’t this be false? Can’t it be the case that a former resident of Weston contributed in excess of $100? This has to be the wrong answer.

(B) Some contributions to Brimley’s campaign in excess of $100 were registered with the city council.

Again, can’t this be false? The principle tells us about contributions made in a very specific context: by nonresident, nonformer resident, in excess of $100. It tells us that these contributions need to be RCC. Importantly, it tells us about only these contributions. It could be the case that all contributions made to the campaign were under $100. Couldn’t it?

(C) No contributions to Brimley’s campaign needed to be registered with the city council.

Initially I had mixed feelings about this AC. It doesn’t stand out to me as being obviously true. I asked myself: couldn’t it be the case that there’s another law requiring any contribution made by a resident or former resident to be registered with the city council? And, in this case, wouldn’t all contributions need to be registered?

I asked myself this, then looked at the other AC’s, then went back to the passage. And that’s when it hit me. “The law of the city of Weston regarding contributions to mayoral campaigns is as follows.” Boom. There it is. This is the law regarding all contributions, and this is the only law.

No, if this is the only law, then the only time contributions would need to be registered would be when the three conjuncts of the antecedent of this law are met. If the sufficient condition fails, there’s never a time when contributions need to be registered with the city council

(D) All contributions to Brimley’s campaign were registered with the city council were in excess of $100.

There’s simply no reason this needs to be true. We have no way of gauging the $ amount of any donations, much less all of them.

 

(E) Brimley’s campaign did not register any contributions with the city council.

So the difference between (E) and (C) is subtle, but crucial. Basically it’s too strong: what’s to say that Brimley’s campaign couldn’t have registered any number of its contributions? All we know for sure is that the contributions didn’t need to be registered.

Fuck I Hope We Got It Right Or Else We Really Screwed the Pooch

I haven’t looked at the answers yet, so (C) could very well be wrong. I really hope it isn’t because that’ll mean pretty much everything I’ve said up til this point is utter bull spit. Which–aside from being embarrassing–would not bode well for my logically reasoning ability in general. Or else would mean that I’ve just grossly misunderstood this question.

Checking answers…

 

 

Aye. So (C) is right. Still got the question wrong on when it counted (remember my original AC was (A)) but I’m glad I got to understand this question better and really NERD IT UP for a solid hour.

Until next time, guys.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s