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Intro to Persuasion/Toulmin's Model

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Samuel Sloan

on 6 November 2012

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Transcript of Intro to Persuasion/Toulmin's Model

Introduction to Persuasion &
Toulmin's Model Can someone remind us of Aristotle's definition of Rhetoric? Persuasive Speaking: Job interviews (selling yourself)
Sales (selling a product)
PR (selling a situation or story to media)
Asking for a raise or better position at your job
Getting your friends and family to agree with your ideas
Getting laws changed or defended in the world
Defend yourself in court.. or in random encounters with any authority in any situation.
Getting everyone to work together in every small group you with with for the rest of your life...
Figuring out if politicians are using logical fallacies, and being able to make smart, well-reasoned arguments for or against them. Everyday uses of the study of persuasion: FACT - Questions of existence, scope, or causality.
(An argument over whether something exists, or not. E.g., Are there aliens? Does Global Warming exist? Does the media have a liberal bias?)
VALUE - Questions surrounding value judgements.
(An argument that involves the relative worth of a thing. E.g., Is this action good/bad, moral/immoral, smart/stupid, just/unjust? Is stealing always wrong?)
POLICY - Questions about actions in the future or solving a problem. (E.g., outlining a new health care plan, an argument for uniforms in schools, or an argument for gay marriage. Persuasive Speeches are aimed at answering three kinds of questions that build on one another: In order to persuade your audience to agree or go along with a policy decision, you must meet the first two levels: A speech persuading the audience that boy & girl scouts is a worthy endeavor for kids.
A sermon that tries to convince the parishioners that there is an afterlife, and that afterlife strictly consists of rolling a boulder up a hill for all eternity.
A speech persuading the audience to start a local recycling program in their city.
A speech persuading students that higher level degrees aren't worth as much as they cost.
A news story that tries to define marriage as "only possible between a man and a woman" For the following, which of the levels of persuasion does it embody? Stephen Toulmin, after analyzing hundreds of persuasive arguments, came up with a model for practical argumentation.
At the heart of practical argumentation is the utilitarian idea that you should make a particular claim and justify that claim with sound evidence (rather than making purely theoretical associations between evidence and a claim)
He suggested that good arguments have six inter-related parts: Often, in persuasive speaking, you are literally changing the audience's mind, so to achieve that goal, it's important for your persuasive arguments to be well-constructed, well-researched, and free of logical errors. Others? First, your audience has to agree to the terms used to describe the situation (argument of Fact) - With healthcare, this would be the definition of what healthcare means (is it comprehensive-something that you or the government should pay for? What is and isn't adequate?)
Then, you have to explain your valuation of those shared terms, (argument of Value) - Again, with healthcare, these are the values placed on an agreed-upon definition of public health: Is access to "adequate" healthcare a good thing, valued by society? Is the health of certain citizens worth more than others?
Finally, if your audience agrees that a thing exists, and agrees with the values you ascribe to that thing, what are the policies that can be enacted? (argument of Policy) - With healthcare, what exact policies of "adequate," "good" healthcare can we give to citizens that have been ascribed as "worthy of care?" Toulmin's Model for constructing persuasive arguments Data/
(lots of
evidence) Claim Warrant Backing (since) (because) Qualifier (but only if) So you make a claim,
based on different points of evidence,
(but only) applies in situations you qualify,
and claim makes sense as you justify it using a warrant,
(premise or method of logical reasoning),
which is valid because of backing,
but my rebuttal (or reservation) acknowledges that someone else might say this is not true because of
X reason. Rebuttal (but this might not be, if you assume x, y, z) The first three terms are required for any argument: Claim - Thesis of your persuasive argument, what you are trying to prove
Data/Evidence - examples, statistics, testimony, quotations, dictionary entries, scholarly research, concrete things to support your argument
Warrant - How you connect data to support your claim & your logical reasoning strategy - The "This data supports that claim BECAUSE this logic follows" statement. Backing - Justifies warrant/logical structure, often when the logic is questionable, odd, or inductive
Qualifier - limits on your claim or your level of confidence about the claim
Rebuttal - place where you address your opponent's possible arguments against your claim, but ultimately move to suggest that your claim is still valid. The last three are often a feature of persuasive arguments, but may not be present: For example, I can make the claim that "We should eliminate all marriages, because they are a recipe for failure."
I can use the statistic that over 50% of marriages end in divorce, as my data/evidence.
I might qualify that I am talking about only modern marriages in the United States (limited by my data sets)
A warrant might be that "human nature is fallible,"
and the backing for this warrant would be to quote a history book about the fallibility and fickleness of human institutions over the centuries.
Finally, I might express a reservation/rebuttal where I say "Sure, some may say that many marriages still exist happily, without divorce, but even then, one partner has to go through the heartache of dying first." Another example: Grounds = data
"Smoking in Public Places Should be Banned"

Smoking in public places should be banned (claim) because it puts other people, especially children and pregnant women, at risk of breathing smoke from cigarettes (ground). Smoking in public places also endangers people who have respiratory ailments (ground). Recent studies show that almost (qualifier) 80% of those who ingest secondhand smoke from public smokers have a higher risk of getting respiratory problems than smokers themselves (data).
Banning an act that causes problems to innocent civilians is helpful in many ways (warrant). If smoking in public places is banned, we actually reduce or totally eradicate the danger of putting non-smokers at risk of developing lung and heart problems (backing statement). Moreover, if we ban smoking in public places, we also stop the smokers from further increasing their chances of acquiring health problems for themselves (backing statement).
While it can be said that not all people who smoke in public areas are always causing harm to others, it remains a fact that smoking per se is a cause of health problems (rebuttal). It is not enough to say that the size of affected people are relatively just a small fraction; plenty or few, one person put at risk is more than enough (rebuttal). It is only the case that smoking in public places, therefore, should be banned. (From: http://tipsforresearchpapersandessays.blogspot.com/2008/11/toulmin-argument-sampleexample.html) One More Example: I. Introduction of the problem or topic.
A. Material to get the reader's attention (a "hook")
B. Introduce the problem or topic
C. Introduce our claim or thesis, perhaps with
accompanying qualifiers that limit the scope of
the argument. (NB: This will help you cut the
topic down to a manageable length.)
II. Offer data (reasons or evidence) to support the argument.
A. Datum #1
B. Datum #2
C. (and so on)
III. Explore warrants that show how the data logically is connected to the data
A. Warrant #1
B. Warrant #2
C. (and so on)
IV. Offer factual backing to show that logic used in the warrants is good in term of realism as well
as theory.
A. Backing for Warrant #1
B. Backing for Warrant #2
C. (and so on)
V. Discuss counter-arguments and provide rebuttal
A. Counter-argument #1
B. Rebuttal to counter-argument #1
C. Counter-argument #2
D. Rebuttal to counter-argument #2
E. (and so on)
VI. Conclusion
A. Summation of points
B. Implications of the argument
C. The final evocative thought to ensure the reader
remembers the argument. From:http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Toulmin.pdf Deductive - (Gen -> Specific) Drawing conclusions about specific cases based on generally accepted premises or principals aka The Scientific Method (e.g. Newton's laws of gravity and the research of hundreds of scientists all aggregate to let me make the one claim that gravity does exist OR I polled lots of different people in 5 different regions of the US, at different times and came to one conclusion, that people largely prefer Coke over Pepsi).

Inductive - (Specific -> Gen.) Going from a single or a small set of examples to drawing a general conclusion aka Stereotyping (e.g. Meet one US immigrant that doesn't speak English, and assume that all immigrants will never learn the language. OR Wear one comfortable pair of Nikes and assume all kinds of Nike shoes will be comfortable.) Now, for your warrant, you'll be looking at the argument's logical structure, of which there are 4 that we'll talk about in here: Causal - (Cause <-> Effect) Tracing an argument from cause to effect or from effect to cause or Trying to figure out what will happen based on past circumstances. (Global Warming is caused by Greenhouse gas OR Greenhouse gas buildup causes global warming OR looking at historical spikes in temperature cause by historical emissions, we predict that greenhouse gas buildup will cause exponential ocean rise.)

Analogic - (A is like B) An argument based in comparisons between two similar things (A is like B and B is like C, so A and C may be related OR these A animals have similar biology to these B animals in hair, toes, faces.. etc).
Two Major kinds of analogies:
Figurative Analogy - a Simile (A is like B, Politics is like a horse race) or Metaphor (A is B, Her hair is a river.)
Literal Analogy - Rests on a degree of actual similarity (In Japan, 100 Yen is similar to our dollar bill, the bones in the wings on a bat are comparatively similar to the fingers of most mammals. These 4 kinds of reasoning will produce the ideology or logic for the Warrant. & you can trace these in most persuasive articles, particularly opinion pages.
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