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Argumentation and the Toulman Method

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Matt Barber

on 5 September 2013

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Transcript of Argumentation and the Toulman Method

Should Smoking Be Banned in Public?

Claim
: The U.S. federal government should ban the smoking of cigarettes in all public places.

Evidence
: Breathing cigarette smoke is unhealthy for the smoker and those around the smoker, causing numerous diseases and high mortality.

Warrant
: BECAUSE the federal government should protect its citizens' health.
Smoking argument continued...

Rebuttal
: Some may say that this would infringe upon individual freedom of choice, but it is justified, in this instance, because of the number of deaths caused by inhaling cigarette smoke and the cost to taxpayers.

Qualifier
: "In this instance"
People have been arguing for thousands of years. A good argument requires critical thinking and an open, fair mind.

That doesn't mean that you have to change your opinion, you just need to be open to consider other viewpoints.
Claim
- the conclusion you form after examining and considering all the evidence on the topic (your argument).

You want the audience to come to the same conclusion.
Three types of claims:
Fact
: Argue the probability of an assertion -- what is, was, or will be.

Value
: Argue the evaluation of something based on a standard -- what is good, bad, right, wrong, etc.

Policy
: Argue that action should be taken or behavior should be altered -- what should or shouldn't be done.
Evidence
- evidence offered
in support of the claim.

examples
statistics
expert testimony
artifacts
scientific study results
Warrant
= justification

The warrant interprets the data and shows how it supports your claim. The warrant, in other words, explains why the data proves the claim.


Qualifier
- words that reflect the arguer's degree of certainty.

e.g. sometimes, only, might, maybe, possibly, probably, except for, etc.
Rebuttal
- this is how you will defend your argument from those who want to tear it down. Your opposition will make counter-arguments that try and show the weakness in your argument. You may either answer them or admit a weakness in your case.

Here is an example using the death penalty example.
Claim: What's my principal argument? What do I want my audience to believe?

Evidence: What evidence supports my claim?

Warrant: What reasoning justifies the connection between claim and evidence?

Qualifiers: Do I need to put restrictions on my claim?

Rebuttal: What objections must I anticipate? Can I overcome them or should I admit a limitation to my argument?
Rebuttal: Although "an eye for an eye" may seem fair, families who want justice to be served will not find peace through the murder of another human being. These families also cannot be satisfied if the wrong person is executed.
Warrant: BECAUSE justice should be administered fairly and accurately.
Claim: SO, the US federal government must abolish the practice of capital punishment.
Evidence: Research indicates capital punishment disproportionately affects the poor and members of minority groups. There are also cases of individuals being proven innocent after execution.
Steps in Developing an Argument
(Before you Write)

Other things we should consider when making an argument
Tests of Evidence:

Reliability: Is the information accurate and current?

Quality: Is the information relevant, clear, credible, and sufficient?

Consistent: Is the information in agreement with other sources of information?

Audience acceptability: Will your particular audience, in a particular field, be likely to consider the information?
Qualifiers and Rebuttals
You don't have to use a qualifier, but using one shows that the issue is not absolute
(Black and

White)

In the argument stating that the death penalty should be abolished the arguer might add a qualifier and say
the death penalty is only acceptable in cases when DNA evidence proves guilt
(not simply "beyond a reasonable doubt" but NO doubt).
Bo: The Phillies will win the National League this year.

Luke: That's crazy! How did you come up with that?

Bo: They have the best pitching. Look at the stats!

Luke: So? What does that got to do with winning the
National League?

Bo: Well, if you look at the winners for the last ten years, you'll see that each team had big-name pitchers.
Claims never stand alone!
Argumentative Writing
Based on the example,
what is an argument not?
what is an argument?
Discuss with your group
Claim
Evidence
Warrant
Qualifier
Counter argument
Rebuttal
claim
evidence
warrant
Claim
Evidence
Evidence
Claim
Evidence
Ahh! I'm falling
because I don't have
enough evidence.
Evidence
Claim
Hmm... How do I get
from here to there?
Evidence
Claim
Warrant
A warrant!
How convenient!
Connects the evidence and
the claim
Evidence
Claim
Warrant
The Phillies will win the National League this year.
They have the best pitching. Look at the stats!
if you look at the winners for the last ten years, you'll see that each team had big-name pitchers.
By golly! You
have a good
argument there!
The first step is usually a question.
You begin by asking yourself, "What do I believe about...?"
Next, you should gather evidence about the issue or question. To be fair, you should gather information about both sides of an issue or question

After considering the evidence, you should come to a conclusion. This is what you believe.
Be Careful!
Many people want to skip to step 3 and come to a conclusion before examining the evidence. This leads to weak arguments. Critical thinkers
always
examine both sides of an issue before making a conclusion. This is often referred to as
thinking for yourself
.

Steps in Communicating an Argument
* After Researching the Evidence

Claim - Your belief or opinion
Evidence - stats, facts, experts that support your claim

Warrant
Be Careful!
Many people want to skip to step 3 and come to a conclusion before examining the evidence. This leads to weak arguments. Critical thinkers
always
examine both sides of an issue before making a conclusion. This is often referred to as
thinking for yourself
.

After you develop your belief and it is supported by evidence, the next step is communicating your argument. Most often this is done
informally
in
conversations
and
discussions
. Sometimes you may be asked to communicate your argument
formally
in a
written paper
,
report
, or
presentation
.
Real World Application
List three careers where you may be asked to develop an opinion (claim) and support it with evidence.
Think about the world of business, medicine, law, sports management, etc.
Give three specific examples of things you may be asked to do in these professions that involve arguments (claims backed by evidence).
What the heck is a warrant?
Qualifiers (restrictions)
Rebuttal (addressing objections)

In this example the opposition has made an argument that the death penalty provides justice and helps the victim's families find peace. Here is the rebuttal.
Backing: How can I establish the reliability of the warrant? How can I prove my point further?
1.
2.
3.
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