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The following appeared in the letters-to-the-editor section of a local newspaper.
“Muscle Monthly, a fitness magazine that regularly features pictures of
bodybuilders using state-of-the-art exercise machines, frequently sells out,
according to the owner of Skyview Newsstand. To help maximize fitness levels in
our town’s residents, we should, therefore, equip our new community fitness center
with such machines.”
Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
In this argument the author concludes that the new community fitness center should be equipped with the state-of-the-art exercise
machines featured in Muscle Monthly magazine. In support of this recommendation two reasons are offered: (1) Muscle Monthly
contains pictures of bodybuilders using such machines, and (2) Muscle Monthly is a popular magazine, as evidenced by the fact that it
frequently sells out at the local newsstand. This argument is questionable on two counts.
First, a major implication of the argument is that the bodybuilders pictured using the machines in Muscle Monthly magazine reached
their state of fitness as a result of using these machines. The only evidence offered to support this contention, however, is the pictures
in the magazine. It is possible that the bodybuilders pictured use different equipment for their workouts and are merely posing with the
machines for advertising purposes.
Second, the author assumes that machines that are suitable for bodybuilding will also be suitable to help maximize the fitness levels of
the town’s residents. This assumption is highly questionable. Machines designed to increase muscle development are significantly
different from those designed to increase cardiovascular fitness. Consequently, it is unlikely that the machines pictured in the magazine
will be of much use to help maximize the fitness levels of the town’s residents.
In conclusion, this argument is unconvincing. To strengthen the argument the author would have to show that the bodybuilders pictured
using the exercise machines actually used the machines to reach their level of muscle development. Additionally, the author would have to
show that the machines were suitable for increasing the fitness levels of the persons using them.