The Toulmin Model Developed by British philosopher Stephen Toulmin in The Uses of Argument (1958)
This method acknowledges the complications of life by using qualifiers. • Examples of qualifiers: • sometimes • often • presumably • unless • almost • rarely • possibly • in general • one might argue • many
The argument begins with a claim, an assertion the writer hopes to prove. • The claim is likely to be controversial. • It should also be debatable. • It answers the question, “So what’s your point?” • Good claims often come from personal experiences.
Claims must be connected to good reasons backed by evidence. * Attaching a reason to a claim often spells out the major terms of the overall argument.
Warrants • Warrants are the logical and persuasive connection between a claim and the reasons and evidence supporting it. • Reasons So…Claim Since/Because… Warrant
Example: • That dog is vicious. Don’t pet the dog. Petting vicious dogs is risky because they are likely to bite.
Providing Evidence: Backing • Most points worth arguing have a well developed history. • The writer should do the legwork to dig up this background knowledge before making the claim.
Qualifiers • The Toulmin argument works well in the real world because it acknowledges limitations, using qualifying language (see slide 2). Qualifiers make the writing more precise and honest.
Examples of Qualified Claims • Year-round schooling may be a better system for educating our youth. • Most of society benefits from collective bargaining. • One might argue that standardized testing does little to assess students’ true knowledge.
Conditions of the Rebuttal • These are potential objections to an argument. • Reacting to the opposing viewpoint’s claims is (like in the classical model and the Rogerian model) integral to solidifying the writer’s argument. • For this reason, good writers of argumentative papers spend a paragraph or more showing an appreciation for the other point of view before the rebuttal.
Reference authority. • This builds your sense of ethos in the paper.
Response • This is where the writer responds to the opposing argument. Provide evidence to support this response. Then conclude the paper.