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Toulmin's Model of Argumentation
Transcript of Toulmin's Model of Argumentation
Toulmin and colleague Jonsen outlined two different types of argument
Theoretical (Analytic) Argument Theoretical Arguments: History over Time According to Toulmin, theoretical arguments have been dominant since the Renaissance
Prior to the Renaissance, practical and theoretical were considered equal
Toulmin asserts that absolutism emerged immediately after the Renaissance
King Henry IV's assassination and the Thirty Years' War that succeeded it brought a need for rationalism
Philosopher Rene Descartes helped to shift society's views towards a mechanistic view of the natural world and of people
His views were so influential that they have lasted until the modern day, unchecked
Toulmin believes that philosophy was stilted and has remained unchanged, and rhetoric has essentially been discarded Layout of Argument Three Basic Elements Claim: Conclusion of the argument that a person is seeking to justify Warrant: Authorizes the movement from the claims to the grounds Grounds: The facts or other information on which the argument is based Three Additional Elements (Modify the First Three) Rebuttal: Specific circumstances where the warrant does not justify the claim Modal Qualifiers: Indicate the strength of the step taken from data to warrant Backing: Additional support for the warrant Problems with Theoretical Arguments The ideal of formal logic assumes that arguments never vary regardless of subject matter
Evaluated according to content
Requires no inferential leap because because the conclusion goes no further than the data contained in the argument's premise
Claims based on unchanging, universal principles Practical (Substantial) Argument Involves an inferential leap from some data or evidence to the conclusion of the argument
Based on probability and attends to circumstances of particular cases Theoretical arguments relate to Plato's belief that deductive logic always leads to truth
Practical arguments relate to Aristotle's thought that practical arguments are judged by their substance Toulmin's theories of the practical argument started with his study of ethics, concluding that the ethics of an action can be judged according to its consequences
The layout for Toulmin's model of argumentation began with the theory that justification is central to practical argumentation
Toulmin then discusses what arguments succeed or fail to justify claims
Unique to Toulmin's argument model are modal terms, which use force and criteria to make determine the strength of the argument The Practical Argument Practical concerns are rarely governed by a single overriding principle
Formal logic assumes that concepts do not change with time
Answers to many everyday problems are probable, not absolute
Ex. People agree about things, but disagree about why they agree Model of Argument Toulmin believes that absolute principles and theoretical arguments are counter productive Ex. The abortion issue: instead of focusing on the woman's unique situation, people try to solve the overall problem through absolute theories and theoretical arguments, making the issue not resolvable Tyranny of principles results from the importance of absolute moral standards Ex. One group attempts to impose their principles on everyone else using their absolute princple
Although Toulmin's theories and argument model specifically have not changed drastically, theories of arguments have in accordance with both the philosophers and the social and political events of the times
Toulmin's model of argumentation suggests a method for dealing with arguments in a practical way Theoretical arguments remained in prominence for over three decades
Historical developments after the Renaissance gave rise to a scientific world viewpoint that encouraged solely theoretical arguments Prior to the Renaissance, both types of arguments were commonly used and accepted
One way that arguments do not vary is that it is always possible to apply the layout of argument to analyze them Criteria (field dependent): standards used to justify the adequacy of the claimForce (field independent): the strength or power of the claim
Arguments vary from field to field in many ways Conceptual Change Concepts across various fields are evolving, as well as argument
Concepts develop in two processes Innovation: Factors that account for the appearance of variations in populations
Selections: Factors that account for perpetuation of the healthiest and soundest subjects Absolutists see concept changes as valid or invalid, while Toulmin views changes in concepts as making the concepts more or less effective Casuistry A procedure used to resolve more moral problems without resorting to theoretical arguments A theoretical approach would pick an absolute principle and then apply it to the situation
A casuistry approach begins with type cases to be objects of reference in moral arguments There is a model of practical reasoning that explains casuistry: "Grounds apply to the general warrant as well as to the claim, thus eliminating the backing. Modality, or the degree of certainty, has been incorporated into the claim with the phrase presumably so. Toulmin asserts that theoretical arguments are not relevant because: Toulmin did not even initially realize the implications that this Model of Argumentation would have on the field of rhetoric.