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Toulmin Argument Structure

A guide for AP Language and Composition

Eric Eble

on 6 November 2012

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Transcript of Toulmin Argument Structure

The Rogerian Structure Toulmin Logic for Argument The Problem... The Classical / Aristotelian Structure While there are many different types of argument, we're going to focus on three particular types:
Each type is more applicable to / suitable for a different situation and audience Hypothetically...

Let's look at each of the argument structures according to a common question / problem:

Determining the best
character on Sesame Street When it works best:
One of the oldest organizing devices in rhetoric is the classical argument, which incorporates the five parts of a discourse that ancient teachers of rhetoric believed were necessary for persuasion, especially when the audience included a mixture of reactions from favorable to hostile. They often prescribed this order to students, not because it was absolutely ideal, but because using the scheme encouraged the writer to take account of some of the most important elements of composing...
Taken from a faculty page from Winthrop University A Sample Classical Argument dealing with our Sesame Street Problem:

Grover is the most important character on the long-running children's show Sesame Street. The show was founded over forty years ago, and Grover's character has remained the most central throughout the years.

In study after study, children report that Grover is their favorite character. As a favorite, the children are more likely to pay close attention to both his words and actions. According to a study by the MFA department at the University of Alabama, children often emulate the behaviors of those they look up to or like. When Grover models positive behavior, which he does constantly through healthy eating, physical activities like dancing (exercise!), friendships with other characters, and his confident, yet silly personality, children are likely to internalize and copy Grover's actions.

Many people still feel that Cookie Monster is a more important overall character because of his counting lessons and overall humor. While these are great traits for a children's television character to have, nutritionists argue that his cookie eating does not help model positive eating habits for our youth. In addition, though counting is one of the fundamental lessons that Sesame Street wishes to teach its viewers, Cookie Monster often gets his numbers wrong while trying to be silly. Grover, on the other hand, is able to model correct counting and even talks about prepositions.

Clearly, the matter of a favorite character is up to the personal preference of the viewer, but if we are to hold Sesame Street to the high standards it seeks, we must conclude that a well-rounded character who models positive behavior on all fronts is the most significant character on the show. It's best to use a Rogerian argument in psychological and emotional arguments, where pathos and ethos rather than logos and strict logic predominate. A fun video on the differences between the two: A Rogerian Argument in support of Grover Three Types of Argument: Classical, Rogerian, and Toulmin

Mr. Eble, AP Language and Composition More resources on each type of argument structure: A complete outline on the Classical Structure: http://faculty.winthrop.edu/kosterj/archives/WRIT102/classicalargument.htm

Purdue's Online Writing Lab's Toulmin Analysis: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/03/

A contrast / delineation of the three types: http://home.comcast.net/~lukeythetruck/djole/SchoolPage/SPSCC/English%20102/3ArgumentTypes.htm

Georgia State University on the three types: http://www.rhetcomp.gsu.edu/~bgu/1101/models.html A Toulmin Argument in support of Grover A video definition of Toulmin... You can use the Toulmin Model to...
analyze other writer's claims
plan your own claims
Typically, this works best when an argument is based mostly on logic.
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