Structuring and Analyzing Arguments: The Classical, Toulmin, and Rogerian Models Junior AP English
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 • A straightforward example: Major premise: All people have hearts. Minor premise: John is a person. Conclusion: Therefore, John has a heart.
Think the Declaration of Independence: • Jefferson claims that citizens of an unjust government have a right to rebel and take government into their own hands. (major premise) • He illustrates that the colonists are being served by an unjust government in King George III. (minor premise) • Therefore, the colonists have a right to rebel (Conclusion)
Think the Declaration of Independence: • In his list of grievances, Jefferson provides a series of inductive statements—evidence for what becomes his minor premise—that King George is a despotic ruler.
Faulty Syllogism: • Major Premise: Nothing is better than eternal happiness.Minor Premise: A cold sandwich is better than nothing.Conclusion: So, a cold sandwich is better than eternal happiness
Faulty Syllogism: • Major Premise: If it rains, I cannot play football.Minor Premise: If I do not play football, my team might lose the game.Minor Premise: If we lose the game, my friends will be mad at me.Conclusion: So, if it rains, my friends will be mad at me.
Classical Argument • Began in ancient Greece, approximately fifth century B.C. • Communicated orally and designed to be easily understood by listeners • Based on formal logic, including the syllogism • Five main components
Classical Argument: Five Elements 1) Introduction/Exordium: captures attention of audience; urges audience to consider your case 2) Narration/Narratio/Statement of Background: narrates the key facts and/or events leading up to your case 3) Confirmation/Confirmatio: states the position you are taking, based on the information you’ve already presented, and sets up the structure of the rest of your argument. + Proof: discusses your reasons for your position and provides evidence to support each reason 5) Refutation/Refutatio: anticipates opposing viewpoints; then demonstrates why your approach is the only acceptable one (i.e. better than your opponents’) 6) Conclusion/Peroratio: summarizes your most important points and can include appeals to feelings or values (pathos)
The Toulmin Model • Developed by British philosopher Stephen Toulmin in the 1950’s • Emphasizes that logic often based on probability rather than certainty • Focuses on claims • Three primary components
Toulmin Model: Three Components • Three components: Claim = the main point or position Data = the evidence supporting the claim, aka the reasons Warrant= an underlying assumption or basic principle that connects data and claim; often implied rather than explicit
Toulmin Model: An Example Claim = My parents should allow me to go to my friend’s party on Friday night. Data = The parents of nearly all of the juniors at FHS have given their children permission to attend this party. Warrant = My parents should act in accordance with the other parents of juniors at FHS.
Uh-oh, a potential snag… What if my parents don’t “buy” my warrant? What if they don’t think they should necessarily do what other parents are doing? How can I still get permission to attend the party? Or at least have a better chance of getting permission?
Try new data and a new warrant. What might be more convincing data for an audience of parents? What might be a warrant that most parents will share?
Example: • Smoking in public places should be banned (claim) because those who ingest secondhand smoke from public smokers have a higher risk of respiratory problems than smokers themselves (data). Banning an act that causes problems to innocent civilians is the right / moral / positive action (warrant).
Qualifier Data Claim Warrant Backing Rebuttal Toulmin Argumentation in More Detail
Claim: Juicy Fruit is the best tasting gum. • Data: Consumer Reports survey compared the taste of Juicy Fruit with other types of gum. According to them, it is the best tasting. • Warrant: Consumer Reports magazine is a reliable source and most people would agree with its conclusions. • Backing: Consumer Reports is not invested in the research. They do not care which gum tastes best. • Backing: Consumer Reports uses research methods that are sound. • Backing: Consumer Reports studies usually include a lot of people in the research; in other words, they don’t just ask ten people what they thing about the taste of different gums.
Claim: Juicy Fruit is the best tasting gum. • Data: Juicy Fruit uses real fruit juice in the recipe. • Warrant: Real juices taste better than artificial flavors. • Objection: Real juices do not necessarily taste better than artificial flavors. Today’s technology allows for well developed and distinguished artificial flavors. • Rebuttal: Most artificial flavored gums are very sweet; too sweet most of the time.
Claim: Juicy Fruit is the best gum. • Data: Juicy Fruit blows the biggest bubbles. • Warrant: Pliability / bubbles are an indicator of quality and desirability. • Objection: Some gum is meant for fresh breath and bubbles shouldn’t matter. • Backing: A pliable gum will cause less stress for chewer—and why not just buy a breath mint if that is what you want? • Warrant: Bigger food or more food is always better. • Backing: This is a warrant that is always at work in American Culture; think of “super size” combo meals.
Rogerian Model • Developed by psychologist Carl Rogers (also in the ’50s) • Emphasizes problem-solving and/or coming to consensus • Allows the author to appear open-minded or even objective • Appropriate in contexts where you need to convince a resistant opponent to at least respect your views
Rogerian Arguments: Structure • Introduction: statement of problem to be solved or question to be answered • Summary of Opposing Views: described using a seemingly objective persona • Statement of Understanding: concedes circumstances under which opposing views might be valid • Statement of Your Position • Statement of Contexts: describes contexts in which your position applies/works well • Statement of Benefits: appeals to self-interest of readers who may not yet agree with you; demonstrates how your position benefits them