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There are, most often, all sorts of interests that would explain any given behavior. What is needed to make it decisive that a particular interest explains a particular behavior is that the behavior would be reasonable only if one had that interest.

This is an LSAT passage. I would like to seek your kind help with two questions:

(1) Does it make a distinction between:

most interests that would explain all behaviors

and

certain interest that explains certain behavior

(2) About "the behavior would be reasonable only if one had that interest."

I don't understand why the sentence uses counter-factual conditional.

It seems fairly the same if the sentence uses normal conditional like: "the behavior is reasonable only if one has that interest." Could you explain what is the reason for the passage to choose the counterfactual?

Thank you in advance!

1 Answer 1

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a particular interest explains a particular behavior = certain interest that explains certain behavior

certain = particular but not named or described

Ref C.E.D. Certain


Understanding why the sentence uses counter-factual conditional

counterfactual conditional is used so Speakers are therefore not restricted to a prescribed ‘sequence of tenses’, but can refer to any time relation suited to what they wish to say. As events in the future have not happened yet, we cannot refer in the IF-clause to a counterfactual future action or state. However infinitesimal the possibility, it exists, and therefore can be presented only as a hypothetical, not as a counterfactual action or state. #1a is therefore a possible utterance, #1b is not:

1a. If the sun exploded tomorrow, the solar system would be destroyed.

1b *If the sun had exploded tomorrow, the solar system would be destroyed.

As the statement

to make it decisive that a particular interest explains a particular behavior is that the behavior would be reasonable only if one had that interest.

is a a hypothetical statement it is therefore written as counterfactual conditional.

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