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The following appeared as part of a business plan created by the management
of the Take Heart Fitness Center.
ďAfter opening the new swimming pool early last summer, Take Heart saw a 12
percent increase in the use of the center by members. Therefore, in order to increase
the number of our members and thus our revenues, which depend on membership
fees, we should continue to add new recreational facilities in subsequent years: for
example, a multipurpose game room, a tennis court, and a miniature golf course.
Being the only center in the area offering this range of activities would give us a
competitive advantage in the health and recreation market.Ē
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
Because Take Heart Fitness Center experienced a 12 percent increase in member usage as a result of opening a new swimming pool last
summer, the author recommends the addition of new recreational facilities in subsequent years as a means of increasing membership in
Take Heart. The authorís recommendation is problematic for several reasons.
First, and foremost, the author assumes that an increase in member usage portends an increase in membership. This assumption may
hold true in some cases. However, it is unlikely to hold true in the case at hand, because it is reasonable to expect that members would
visit the fitness center to inspect and try out the new swimming pool. This would account for the increase in usage. However, since the
author provides no evidence that this new rate of usage was sustained, the abrupt increase in usage provides little evidence that the
addition of facilities such as the pool will attract new members.
Second, the author assumes that the addition of the swimming pool was responsible for the increase in member usage. However, the
only evidence for this claim is insufficient to establish the causal claim in question. While temporal precedence is one of the conditions
required to establish a causal relationship between two events, by itself it is not a sufficient condition. Consequently, it is possible that
the addition of the pool was unrelated to the increase in usage in the manner required by the authorís argument.
Finally, the author has provided no evidence to support the contention that Take Heart will be the only center in the area to offer a wide
range of activities to its members and thus have a competitive advantage in the fitness market.
In conclusion, the authorís belief that adding additional recreational facilities will increase Take Heartís membership is ill-founded. To
strengthen the argument the author would have to provide evidence that member usage is reliable indicator of new membership.
Additionally, it would be necessary to show that the cause of the increase in usage was the opening of the new pool.