#MovieFailMondays: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (or, How Movies Can Teach You About Logical Fallacies and Help You Ace the LSAT)

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Blog-EpisodeIII (1)Each week, we analyze a movie that illustrates a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who said Netflix can’t help you study? 🎥📖

Finally. Finally we hit the final film of the prequel duology. After this, I will never watch them again. (Didn’t catch last week’s post on Episode II? Check it out here.) 

For this article, I could go into all of the plot holes left at the end of this film that create issues in the Original Trilogy. Why couldn’t Vader sense Luke on the same planet where he sensed his mother? What’s up with C-3PO’s memory? Can Jedi survive falls or not? What’s up with these Force ghosts? Etc…

But plenty of sites have discussed those.

Instead, let’s buy into the world for a minute. Palpatine had a plan, and it ended up working out. What logical fallacies did he induce in the Jedi to get away with it?

Well, there’s one main one.

When Anakin reveals that Sheev Palpatine (yep, that’s his full name) is the Sith lord, he’s not immediately believed. Yoda and Mace are a little skeptical, though willing to investigate. Up until this point, no one seemed to even suspect him.

Palpatine Mace Battle

How could that be? I mean, aren’t Jedi supposed to pick up on this stuff? They are, but, again, we’re avoiding the plot holes here.

Instead, Palpatine relied on the Jedi succumbing to an Exclusivity fallacy. The human brain tends to think in extremes. It also tends to categorize things in only one category at a time.

So Palpatine was a Senator from Naboo. He was an advisor to Chancellor Valorum and Queen Amidala.

He was then Chancellor of the Galactic Senate (really stretching for the names there, George).

In short, Palpatine was all of these good things. He couldn’t also be a Sith lord. The Jedi believed that these two extremes – leader of a democratic organization and leader of the Sith – could not possibly inhabit the same man.

And thus they fell.

Palpatine Cackling

On the LSAT, an argument will regularly treat two things as if they’re mutually exclusive. It will establish something good about an action, and then conclude that the action has no downside (or is better than another action). In these cases, make sure that you don’t fall for the same fallacy as the Jedi – things have both positive and negative characteristics, and things can fall into more than one category at a time.

Those last two sentences don’t apply to these movies, however, as they’re just bad.

Tune in next week for A New Hope!


matt-shinnersMatt Shinners is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York City. After receiving a science degree from Boston College, Matt scored a 180 on his LSAT and enrolled in Harvard Law School. There’s nothing that makes him happier than seeing his students receive the scores they want to get into the schools of their choice. Check out Matt’s upcoming LSAT courses here!

 

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