Toulmin Model - Robert H. Gass

The Toulmin Model
A tool for diagramming
“informal” arguments
Stephen Toulmin
• The X’s and O’s of
an argument
– Stephen Toulmin,
originally a British
logician, was
frustrated with the
inability of formal
logic to explain
everyday arguments.
– He developed his
own model of
practical reasoning.
the three basic elements:
• Claim (assertion or proposition)
• Grounds (proof, grounds, support)
• Warrant (inferential leap or unexpressed
premise)
Claims
• A claim is the point an arguer is trying to make.
The claim is the conclusion, proposition, or
assertion an arguer wants another to accept.
• The claim answers the question, "So what is your
point?”
– example: “Rosario is an American citizen, because she
was born in the United States.”
– example: “Barack Obama doesn’t wear a flag pin on his
lapel, so he must not be patriotic.”
more about claims...
• There are four basic types of claims:
• fact: claims which focus on empirically verifiable
phenomena
• judgment/value: claims involving opinions,
attitudes, and subjective evaluations of things
• policy: claims advocating courses of action that
should be undertaken
• definition/classification: indicates what criteria
are being used to to define a term or what
category something falls into
four types of claims
• Fact: “Texas executes more
inmates per year than any other
state.”
• Value or judgment:“Capital
punishment is discriminatory.”
• Policy: “Capital punishment
should be abolished.”
• Definition/Classification:
“Capital punishment violates the
8th amendment’s prohibition
against ‘cruel and unusual’
punishment.”
Grounds (proof or data)
• Grounds refers to the proof or evidence an
arguer offers.
• Grounds can consist of statistics,
quotations, reports, findings, physical
evidence, or various forms of reasoning
– example: “I’m a vegetarian. One reason is that
I feel sorry for the animals. Another reason is for
my own health.”
– example: “I made the dinner, so you can do the
dishes.
more about grounds...
• Grounds are the support the arguer offers on
behalf of his/her claim. The grounds answer
questions such as:
–
–
–
–
–
"What is your proof?“
"How do you know?“
"Why?”
example: “It looks like rain. The barometer is falling.”
example: "The other Ritz Carlton hotels I've stayed at
had great pools, so I'll bet this one has a great pool
too."
still more about grounds...
• grounds can be based on:
– evidence: facts, statistics, reports, or physical
proof
– source credibility: authorities, experts, celebrity
endorsers, a close friend, or someone's say-so
– analysis and reasoning: reasons may be offered
as proof
– premises already held by the listener
clue words for identifying
grounds
• The grounds for an argument often
follow words such as “because,” “since,”
“given that…”
– example: “Airports should x-ray all luggage
because a bomb could be placed in a
checked bag.”
– example: “I expect to do well on the test,
since I studied all night for it.”
multi-grounded arguments
• A single claim may
be supported by
multiple grounds
Sonia: “My last dinner date was a
disaster. The guy was wearing
camouflage pants, talked about his
old girlfriend the whole time, ate
food off my plate without asking,
and both of his credit cards were
declined.”
Gigi: “No way!”
Sonia: “Guess who paid? Not Mr.
Overdrawn.”
Gigi: “You should try an online
dating service. You’ll have a bigger
selection of guys to meet, you can
screen out losers without having
to meet them face to face, and it’s
a lot safer.”
Warrants
• The warrant is the inferential leap that
connects the claim with the grounds.
• The warrant is typically implicit
(unstated) and requires the listener to
recognize the connection between the
claim and grounds
• The implicit nature of warrants means
the “meaning” of an argument is as
much a part of the receiver as it is a part
of the message.
the warrant connects the
claim and grounds
• Analogy of a stone
arch.
– The interlocking stones
work together to
support the arch.
– The warrant is
analogous to the
keystone.
– The claim and grounds
are analogous to the
voussoirs that form the
curved portions of the
arch.
more about warrants...
• The warrant performs a "linking" function by
establishing a mental connection between the
grounds and the claim
– example: “Muffin is running a temperature. I’ll bet she
has an infection.”
(warrant: sign reasoning; a fever is a reliable sign of an
infection)
– example: "That dog is probably friendly. It is a Golden
Retriever.”
(warrant: generalization; most or all Golden
Retrievers are friendly)
making the right inferential
leap
• “There are newspapers
piled up in the Boswell’s
driveway driveway, so…
– A. They probably have flu
and are too ill to venture
outside.
– B. They are probably
victims of foul play
– C. They are illiterate
– D. Their dog, that usually
fetches the paper, died.
– D. They are out of town
for a few days
still more about warrants...
• warrants can be based on:
– authority: credible or admired sources
– reasoning: analogy, sign, cause-effect, generalization
– social norms: rude and polite behavior
– ethical principles: moral guidelines
– value premises: values shared by, or presumed to
be shared by, the receiver(s)
– folk wisdom, proverbs: look before you leap, a stitch
in time saves nine.
– pathos: emotional or motivational appeals
note: these categories aren't mutually exclusive, there is
considerable overlap among the three
multi-warranted arguments
• Some arguments are “multi-warranted,” e.g.,
based on more than one inferential leap
– Surgeon General’s warning on a pack of cigarettes
the first triad
sample argument 1
The Angels are likely to
win the ballgame today
They are playing
at home
Grounds
Claim
Warrant
(unstated) generalization:
The home team enjoys an
advantage in baseball
the first triad
sample argument 2
It was nominated
for 10 Academy
Awards
“Slumdog Millionaire” is a
wonderful movie.
Grounds
Claim
Warrant
(unstated) sign reasoning: a
movie’s greatness can be
measured in the number of
Oscar nominations it receives
the first triad
sample argument 3
Biff was probably in a
fight
Claim
He has a black eye
Grounds
Warrant
(unstated) sign reasoning: A
black eye is a reliable
indicator that a person has
been in a fight
the first triad
sample argument 4
She was the CEO of
a major company,
eBay.
Meg Whitman would make
a great governor
Claim
Grounds
Warrant
(unstated) analogy: skills and
practices that are effective in
the private sector are also
effective in the public sector.
the first triad
sample argument 5
If you surf at
Huntington Beach
right after it rains you
risk getting a bacterial
infection
Runoff from the rain
washes bacteria into
the ocean
Claim
Grounds
Warrant
(unstated) cause-effect
reasoning: bacteria in the
water causes surfers to get ill.
Limitations regarding the
Toulmin model
• The Toulmin model offers a somewhat
static view of an argument
• Focuses on the argument maker, not
the target or respondent
• Real-life arguments aren’t always neat
or clear
• The Toulmin model is an analytical tool
– Useful for dissecting arguments
before or after they’ve been made
– Not as useful, practical in the “heat”
of an argument
• Since warrants are unstated, different
listeners may perceive them differently
Name that triad
• Lyle comes from a large family, so he is probably a
Catholic or a Mormon.
• Dolphins give live birth, so they must be
mammals.
• Banning same sex marriages makes no sense.
Being gay is simply a part of natural variation. If
we don’t ban left-handers from marrying, or
people with curly hair, why ban gays from
marrying?
• If you are going to the beach you’d better where
sunblock or you’ll get skin cancer.
Download
Related flashcards

Allergology

35 cards

Immunology

55 cards

Leukocytes

17 cards

Antirheumatic products

14 cards

Create Flashcards