Toulmin Analysis and Rogerian Argument
Who is Stephen Toulmin? • Toulmin was a contemporary philosopher concerned with how argumentation related to everyday life. • Toulmin’s model became a popular method to analyzing public discourse, criticizing public argument, and also serving as an effective teaching tool for public speaking and debate.
Components of the model: • Claim: the conclusion of the argument. • Grounds: facts and data used to prove the claim’s validity. • Warrant: The reasoning that authorizes the inferential leap from the grounds to the claim.
Three essential parts: CLAIM DATA The college has recently incurred vast additional expenses. Tuition will be increased WARRANT Tuition has been in the past and is likely to continue being the principle means by which the college pays its expenses.
Additional components: • Backing: Support for the warrant. • Modality (Qualifiers): temper the claim. Degree of certainty with which the advocate makes the claim. • Rebuttal (Reservation): Exceptions or limitations to the claim.
Additional components: DATA CLAIM The college has recently incurred vast additional expenses. Tuition will be increased. WARRANT **MODALITY Tuition has been in the past and is likely to continue being the principle means by which the college pays its expenses. Probably **REBUTTAL **BACKING Unless the college manages to secure private donations from friends and alumni. Over the last 40 years, each time the college incurred large expenses tuition was raised.
Another example: • CLAIM: “Our basketball team will win tomorrow night.” • DATA: “Coach Henderson said we would.” • WARRANT: “Coach Henderson’s opinion is worthy of belief”
More: • BACKING: “He has accurately predicted the outcome of the last ten games.” • MODALITY: “definitely” • REBUTTAL: “Unless our star forward is injured”
Questions to ask? • Are the data sufficient to justify the claim? What additional data are needed? • Is the claim properly (logically) qualified? Is the claim presented with too much certainty? • Is the warrant adequate to justify the claim on the basis of the data? Does the audience accept the warrant or will it need backing? What other warrants might be utilized?
More: • Is the backing sufficient for accepting the warrant? What further support for the warrant might be used? • Are the essential reservations stated? What other reservations might the audience think of that should be included here?
Based on Carl Roger’s work in psychology. Takes a different approach to arguments in that “common ground” is established. Rogerian Argument
The Rogerian process: • The writer presents the problem. • The writer describes as fairly as possible the reader’s perceived point of view on the problem. • The writer makes use of neutral language. • The writer then presents their perspective on the problem.
More: • The writer will generally includes a careful description of the contexts or circumstances in which the writer’s position is valid. • The Rogerian approach closes by not asking readers to give up their positions but by showing how the reader would benefit by moving to the writer’s position.
Characterisitics: • Developing “good will” is extremely important. • The use of “compromising” is encouraged. • The Rogerian approach typically downplays the emotional in favor of the rational. • Move towards common ground.
Caution: • Careful audience analysis by the writer is very important. The writer must understand the reader. • The writer must present the reader’s perspective clearly, accurately and fairly.