Structuring & Analyzing Arguments: The Classical, Toulmin & Rogerian Models
Key Terms:Deductive vs. Inductive Reasoning • Deductive Reasoning = in traditional Aristotelian logic, the process of reasoning in which a conclusion follows necessarily from the stated premises; inference by reasoning from the general to the specific. • Inductive Reasoning = the process of reasoning from the specific to the general, in which the premises of an argument are believed to support the conclusion, but do not ensure it. Inductive reasoning is used to formulate laws based on limited observations of recurring patterns.
Key Terms: The Syllogism • Three part deductive argument, in which conclusion follows from two premises. Example: Major Premise: All people have hearts. Minor Premise: John is a person. Conclusion: Therefore, John has a heart.
Classical Argument • Began in ancient Greece, approximately fifth century B.C. • Commonly used when speakers tried to sway fellow voters in the early democratic debates over policy. • Communicated orally and designed to be easily understood by listeners. • Based on formal logic, including the syllogism. • Has six main components:
The Toulmin Model • Developed by British philosopher Stephen Toulminwho wrote a book called The Uses of Argument (1958).
Background: Toulmin was looking for a method that accurately described the way people make convincing and reasonable arguments. Because Toulmin-argument takes into account the complications in life—all those situations when people have to qualify their thoughts with words such as sometimes, often, presumably, unless, and almost—his method isn’t as air-tight as formal logic. But for exactly that reason, Toulmin logic has become a powerful and, for the most part, practical tool for understanding and shaping an argument.
The Toulmin Model • Emphasizes that logic is often based on probability rather than certainty. • Focuses on claims • Has three primary components: Claim → Data → Warrant (Because)
Making Claims: • In the Toulmin model, arguments begin with claims, which are debatable and controversial statements or assertions you hope to prove. • Notice in this model the arguments depend on conditions set by others—your audience or readers. • It’s raining might be an innocent statement of fact in one situation; in another, it might provoke a debate: No, it’s not. That’s sleet. • And so argument begins, involving a question of definition.
The Toulmin Model • Claim: the proposition that the arguer is supporting. It must be an opinion and cannot be a fact. • Data: the specific evidence or reason used to support the claim (often introduced with the word “because” or “since”; sometimes this is the claim of another argument). • Warrant: the inference that allows you to move from the grounds to the claim (often only implied in the argument)
Other Elements: • Backing – Support for the warrant, backing the reason given • Grounds – Facts, statistics, expert testimony, observations • Qualifier – Degree of certainty
Aristotle’s Categorical Model Syllogisms and the Toulmin model compared • Claim Z[ Conclusion • DataZ[ Minor premise • WarrantZ[ Major premise
Toulmin Model Diagram • Data---------------u Claim • Warrant
A sentence symbolizing the Toulmin model • Because ______________________, therefore__________________, since__________________________. • In analyzing an argument, you would fill in the first blank with the data or support. The second with the assertion or claim, and the third with the warrant, the unspoken assumption.
Example: • Data –Because independent research has shown that 70% of students who take one A.P. class are more likely to graduate college than students who take no A.P. class. • Claim – Therefore all students who are academically prepared should have access to A.P. classes in high school. • Warrant –Since high school should prepare students for college success, students should have access to A.P. classes.
Imagine someone looking over your shoulder • As you use Toulmin, imagine a crowd of “prospective readers” hovering over your shoulder, asking questions. • At every stage in Toulmin argument— making a claim, offering a reason, or studying a warrant—you might converse with those nosy readers, imagining them as skeptical, demanding, even a bit testy.
Rebuttal: • They may get on your nerves, but they’ll likely help you foresee the objections and reservations real readers will have regarding your arguments. • In the Toulmin system, potential objections to a claim are called conditions of rebuttal. • Understanding and reacting to these conditions are essential to back up your claim where it is weak, but also to understand the reasonable objections of people who see the world differently.
The Claim-Data-Warrant (Because) Model • Claim: The argument, contention, premise, central idea, proposition. • Data: the specific evidence or reason used to support the claim • Warrant: the inference that the author assumes his audience thinks and believes about the claim.How do these assumptions play in the construction of his argument?
Claim, Data, Warrant (Because) Model Diagram • Data ---------------Claim • [Because]
Thesis Statements • One way to use the Toulmin model is to check the logic of our own thesis statements
Thesis Development Example: Brainstorm: Crack Babies Narrowed: Programs for Crack Babies Specific: Experts estimate that half of crack babies will grow up in home environments lacking rich cognitive and emotional stimulation. Take a stand: More attention needs to be paid to the environment they grow up in Finalize: Because half of all crack babies are likely to grow up in homes lacking good cognitive and emotional stimulation, the federal government should finance programs to supplement parental care.
Same topic: Toulmintest • Reason: (Because) half of all crack-babies are likely to grow up in homes lacking good cognitive and emotional stimulation • Warrant: (since) their parents are drug users • Claim: (so) the government should step in and finance social programs. • Does this thesis work? It will depend on the strength of the proof… Toulmin can help us tell what proof we need.
In a nutshell, The Toulmin method is an effective way of getting to the how and why levels of the argument. It is a type of communication breakdown that allows us to divide an argument into its different parts (such as claim, reasons, and evidence) so that we can make judgments on how well the different parts work together.
The Rogerian Model • Developed by influential American psychologist Carl Rogers (also in the 50’s). • Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with national intergroup conflict in South Africa and Northern Ireland. • Considered one of the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century—second only to Sigmund Freud among clinicians.
Background: • Based on Carl Rogers' work in psychology, Rogerian argument begins by assuming that a willing writer can find middle or common ground with a willing reader. Instead of promoting the adversarial relationship that traditional or classical argument typically sets up between reader and writer, Rogerian argument assumes that if reader and writer can both find common ground about a problem, they are more likely to find a solution to that problem. Based on these assumptions, Rogerian argument develops along quite different lines than is often found in a Classical argument.
Introduction: • In the introduction to a Rogerian argument, the writer presents the problem, typically pointing out how both writer and reader are affected by the problem. Rather than presenting an issue that divides reader and writer, or a thesis that demands agreement (and in effect can be seen as an attack on a reader who holds an opposing view), the Rogerian argument does not begin with the writer's position at all.
Maintaining Credibility: • Next, the writer describes as fairly as possible--typically in language as neutral as possible--the reader's perceived point of view on the problem. • Only if the writer can represent the reader's perspective accurately will the reader begin to move toward compromise, and so this section of the argument is crucial to the writer's credibility. (Even though writers might be tempted to use this section of the Rogerian argument to manipulate readers, that strategy usually backfires when readers perceive the writer's insincerity.
Good-will: • Good-will is crucial to the success of a Rogerian argument.) Moreover, as part of the writer's commitment to expressing the reader's perspective on the problem, the writer acknowledges the circumstances and contexts in which the reader's position or perspective is valid.
Body Paragraphs: • In the next main chunk of the Rogerian argument, the writer then presents fairly and accurately his or her own perspective or position on the problem. This segment depends, again, on neutral but clear language so that the reader perceives the fair-mindedness of the writer's description. • The segment is, however, a major factor in whether or not the writer is ultimately convincing, and so key evidence supports and develops this section of the argument. • Like the description of the reader's perspective, this part of the argument also includes a description of the contexts or circumstances in which the writer's position is valid.
Closing: • The Rogerian essay closes not by asking readers to give up their own positions on the problem but by showing how the reader would benefit from moving toward the writer's position. • In other words, the final section of the Rogerian argument lays out possible ways to compromise or alternative solutions to the problem that would benefit both reader and writer under more circumstances than either perspective alone accounts for.
Audience Analysis: • Rogerian approaches are particularly useful for emotionally charged, highly divisive issues. The Rogerian approach typically downplays the emotional in favor of the rational so that people of good-will can find solutions to common problems. • But no argument, Rogerian or otherwise, will succeed unless the writer understands the reader. • Rogerianargument is especially dependent on audience analysis because the writer must present the reader's perspective clearly, accurately, and fairly.
…The Rogerian Model • Emphasizes problem-solving and/or coming to consensus • Allows the author to appear open-minded or to have an even objective • Appropriate in contexts where you need to convince a resistant opponent to at least respect your views
Toulmin vs. Rogerian Adversarial tone Nonconfrontational, collegial, friendly tone Z[ Although concessions may be made, arguments mostly based on refutation Respects other’s views and allows for more than one truth Z[ Opponent is “wrong” and will be overcome by evidence Seeks to achieve common ground, not to convince 100% Z[