Structuring and Analyzing Arguments: The Toulmin Model AP English 11
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 • ex. All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal. • 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. • ex. Every time I light paper on fire it turns to ash. Therefore, fire always reduces paper to ash.
Inductive Reasoning, Continued • In rhetorical analysis, use inductive reasoning. Base your analysis on the evidence in the text. • In persuasive/expository argument writing, it is still a good strategy to collect evidence and see where it leads you, rather than force the data to fit your claim. (Start with the ROSE chart before you choose a side.)
The Toulmin Model • Developed by British philosopher Stephen Toulmin in the 1950’s • Emphasizes that real-life logic is often based on probability rather than certainty • Focuses on claims that are based on evidence (inductive) • Three primary components (warrant, claim, grounds)
Toulmin Model: Three Components • Three components: Grounds = the evidence that leads one to believe the claim, aka the reasons Claim = the main point or position Warrant= an underlying assumption or basic principle that connects grounds and claim; often implied rather than explicit
Toulmin Model: An Example Grounds = The parents of nearly all of the juniors at FCHS have given their children permission to attend Billy Bob’s party on Friday night. Claim = My parents should allow me to go to Billy Bob’s party. Warrant = My parents should act in accordance with the other parents of juniors at FCHS.
Uh-oh, here’s the rub… 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 grounds for an audience of parents? What might be a warrant that most parents will share?
Three more components… • Backing—provides support for the warrant. Answers the question, “Why do you believe that?” Includes additional evidence (in the form of examples, facts and data) that helps to support the warrant and further strengthen the claim. Depending upon your audience, this backing could also include emotional appeals (pathos), quotations from famous people or recognized experts, or statements based on the writer’s personal credibility.
Three more components… • Rebuttal—acknowledges the limitations of the claim OR the opposing viewpoint (like refutation in the Classical Argument). Remember that you must rebut the rebuttal! • Let’s brainstorm possible rebuttal for our claim…
Three more components… • Qualifiers (like most, some, usually, etc.) can help protect your claim from rebuttal. • What’s the qualifier in our grounds?