GMAT : Analysis of An Argument

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An Argument


65. The following appeared in the promotional literature for Cerberus dog food.

Obesity is a greater problem among pet dogs, just as it is among their human owners. Obesity in humans is typically caused by consuming more calories than the body needs. For humans, a proper diet for losing weight is a reduced-calorie diet that is high in fibre and carbohydrates but low in fat. Therefore, the best way for dog owners to help their dogs lose weight in a healthy way is to restrict the dog's diet to Cerberus reduced calorie dog food which is high in fibre and carbohydrates but low in fat.


Question


Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underline the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate in conclusion.


Analysis


In this argument the makers of Cerberus dog food recommend their reduced-calorie product as the best way for dog owners to help their obese dogs lose weight.

Their reasoning in support of this recommendation is simple.

To begin with, they point out that the best way to treat obesity in humans is by a reduced-calorie diet that is high in fibre and carbohydrates but low in fat.

Second, they indicate that reduced-calorie Cerberus dog food is high in fibre and carbohydrates but low in fat. The conclusion drawn from this information is that Cerberus dog food is the best way to treat obesity in dogs.

This argument is unconvincing for a couple of reasons.

In the first place, the makers of Cerberus dog food assume that the cause of obesity in dogs is the same as the cause in humans. Given the vast differences between the exercise patterns and basic diets of humans and dogs, this assumption is highly dubious. Lacking evidence to support this claim, the argument is unacceptable.

In the second place, the author assumes that the gastrointestinal systems of dogs and humans are sufficiently similar to ensure that treatment that is effective on humans will be equally effective on dogs. Again, this is a highly dubious assumption due to the obvious physiological differences between humans and dogs. Since no evidence has been offered to support this assumption, it too can be rejected.

In conclusion, this argument is unconvincing. To strengthen the argument evidence is required to substantiate the assumption that dogs and humans are sufficiently similar in both their diets and their physiology to warrant the type of extrapolation that has been attempted in this argument.

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