2 Essay One Topic Proposal Part One: Describe your topic. What element(s) of the food system willyou be examining? Remember that your essay, once finished, mustsuggest a solution; think in terms of a topic that will allow you to suggestwhat you want your imagined audience to do.Part Two: Thinking about what you have read about the Toulmin method,plan the argument you will make in your essay. Provide the following:Claim: The conclusion of the argument(s) you make in your essay—in other words, the idea that will become your thesis statement.Backing: Give a summary of the evidence that you will provide.Rebuttal: Exceptions or counterarguments to your claim.Note--this is not entitled to be the outline of or plan for your essay; rather, it is a brainstorming exercise designed to help you think critically about the arguments you will make the and the approach you will take.
3 The Toulmin MethodStephen Toulmin, a British logician, became frustrated with the inability of formal logic to explain everyday arguments, which prompted him to develop his own model of practical reasoning.
4 The first triad of his model consists of three basic elements: the ground, warrant, and claim.
5 A “claim” is the point an arguer is trying to make A “claim” is the point an arguer is trying to make. The claim is the assertion an arguer wants us to accept.The claim answers the question, “So what is your point?”Example: “You should eat less fast food because it is very unhealthy.”Example: “Slaughter houses are very cruel, so we should support legislation to make them more humane.”
6 There are three basic types of claim: Fact: A claim that focuses on empirically verifiable phenomena (verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment);Judgment/value: A claim that involves opinions, attitudes, and subjective evaluations;Policy: A claim that advocates courses of action that should be undertaken.
7 The claim is the point an arguer is trying to make—the assertion an arguer wants us to accept. Policy claims advocate courses of action that should be undertaken.A policy claim, therefore, is something the thesis statement of an argumentative essay or research paper must contain.
8 Identify the types of claim: fact, judgment/value, or policy. “You should eat less fast food because it is very unhealthy.”“Obesity is unattractive.”“Obesity is unhealthy.”“Slaughter houses cause animals to suffer, so we should support legislation to make them more humane.”
9 Claim: “You should eat less fast food Claim: “You should eat less fast food.” Policy (it advocates a course of action that should be undertaken);Claim: “Obesity is unattractive.” Judgment/value (it involves opinion, attitude, and a subjective evaluation);Claim:“Obesity is unhealthy.” Fact (It is verifiable and provable by observation and experiment);Claim: “We should support legislation to make them more humane.” Policy (it advocates a course of action that should be undertaken).
10 The term “ground” refers to the proof or evidence an arguer offers. The grounds answer the questions, “What is your proof?” or “Why?”
11 Grounds can consist of statistics, quotations, reports, findings, physical evidence, or various forms of reasoning. Example: “Fast food consumption has risen 500 percent since 1970, and today it pervades nearly every segment of society, including some public school cafeterias. At the same time, obesity among children has tripled.”
12 Grounds can be based on Evidence: Facts, statistics, reports, or physical proof;Source Credibility: Authorities, experts, celebrity endorsers, political pundits, friends, or parents;Analysis and Reasoning: Logical deductive and inductive reasoning may be offered as proof.
13 Not all grounds are equal Some information offered as factual may not be true;Celebrity endorsers, political pundits, family, and friends often aren’t as reliable as researchers and scientists;Induction and deduction can be weak or flawed.
14 Not all information offered as factual is true; satirist Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness” to underscore this.Truthiness is a quality characterizing a “truth” that a person claims to know intuitively “from the gut” or because it “feels right” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.
15 The “warrant” is the inferential leap that connects the claim with the grounds. The warrant is typically implicit (unstated) and requires the reader or listener to recognize the underlying reasoning that makes sense of the claim in light of the grounds.
16 The warrant performs a “linking” function by establishing a mental connection between the grounds and the claim:Example:Ground: “Betty is gaining weight;Claim: I bet she went off her diet.”Warrant: sign reasoning; weight gain is a typical sign of eating too much.
17 Common Warrants Argument based on Generalization Argument based on AnalogyArgument via Sign/ClueCausal ArgumentArgument from AuthorityArgument from Principle
18 Argument based on Generalization A very common form of reasoning that assumes that what is true of a well-chosen sample is likely to hold for a larger group or population, or that certain things consistent with the sample can be inferred of the group/population.
19 Argument based on Analogy Extrapolating from one situation or event based on the nature and outcome of a similar situation or event. Has links to “case-based” and precedent-based reasoning used in legal discourse. What is important here is the extent to which relevant similarities can be established between two or more contexts. Are there sufficient, typical, accurate, relevant similarities?
20 Argument via Sign/Clue This is the notion that certain types of evidence are symptomatic of some wider principle or outcome. For example, smoke is often considered a sign for fire. Some people think high SAT scores are a sign a person is smart and will do well in college.
21 Causal ArgumentThis is arguing that a given occurrence or event is the result of, or is effected by, factor X. Causal reasoning is the most complex of the different forms of warrant. Here are some dangers:Mixing up correlation with causationFalling into the post hoc, ergo propter hoc trap. Closely related to confusing correlation and causation, this involves inferring “after the fact, therefore because of the fact.”
22 Argument from Authority This involves using an authority figure or text. Important questions follow:Does person X or text X constitute a genuinely authoritative source on the issue in question? What political, ideological, or economic interests does the authority have? Is this the sort of issue in which a significant number of authorities are likely to agree on?
23 Argument from Principle This involves locating a principle that is widely regarded as “right” and showing that a situation exists in which this principle applies. Questions to ask follow:Is the principle widely accepted, and in what groups?Are there commonly agreed on exceptions? Are there “rival” principles that lead to a different claim? Does it accurately apply to the situation in question?Is the principle applied consistently?Are the practical consequences of following the principle sufficiently desirable? Is the principle based on traditional, religious, cultural, or other bases that may negate legal rights or other widely-accepted principles?
24 Warrants can be based on Ethos: Source credibility, authority;Logos: Reason-giving, induction, deduction;Pathos: Emotional or motivational appeals;Shared values: Free speech, fairness, etc.Note: these categories aren't mutually exclusive; there is considerable overlap among the three.
25 Identify how ethos, pathos, and logos can be used for the following: “You should eat less fast food because it is very unhealthy.”“Obesity is unattractive.”“Obesity is unhealthy.”“Slaughter houses cause animals to suffer, so we should support legislation to make them more humane.”
26 Identify how ethos, pathos, and logos can be used for the following: “You should eat less fast food because it is very unhealthy.” Ethos and Logos: Source credibility and authority can be used by drawing on credible experts, and scientific evidence can be supplied.
27 Identify how ethos, pathos, and logos can be used for the following: “Obesity is unattractive.” This is a value judgment, so it cannot be proven as a “fact”; some cultures, for example, appreciate what typical Americans would call obesity.In an argument about this, you would be most likely to draw on pathos--emotional or motivational appeals.
28 Identify how ethos, pathos, and logos can be used for the following: “Slaughter houses cause animals to suffer, so we should support legislation to make them more humane.” Ethos and Logos: The opinions of authorities (Temple Grandin, for example) can be supplied, and evidence can be produced to document cruelty; pathos would be used in the documentation of suffering.
29 The second triad of the Toulmin model involves three additional elements: BackingThe qualifierThe rebuttal
30 Backing provides additional justification for the warrant; backing usually consists of evidence to support the type of reasoning employed by the warrant; it tells us why grounds support claims.The qualifier states the degree of force or probability to be attached to the claim; the qualifier states how sure the arguer is about his or her claim.The rebuttal acknowledges exceptions or limitations to the argument; the rebuttal admits to those circumstances or situations where the argument would not hold.
31 The qualifier states the degree of force or probability to be attached to the claim; evaluate the qualifiers below; which is most forceful?“Betty is gaining weight; I think she may have gone off her diet.”“Betty is gaining weight; she has obviously gone off her diet.”
32 “Betty is gaining weight; I think she may have gone off her diet “Betty is gaining weight; I think she may have gone off her diet.” This is more cautious.“Betty is gaining weight; she has obviously gone off her diet.” This is most forceful; however, that does not make it more certain.
33 What are some rebuttals to these claims? “Betty is gaining weight; I bet she went off her diet.”“That hamburger is probably loaded with calories.”“Slaughter houses are very cruel, so we should support legislation to make them more humane.”
34 “Betty is gaining weight; I bet she went off her diet.” Betty may still be on her diet, but she may have quit exercising.Betty may have a medical condition that contributes to weight gain.
35 “That hamburger is probably loaded with calories.” The “hamburger” might be a vegetarian substitute.The hamburger may be of relatively small size, made of extra lean meat, and on a lower-calorie, whole-grain bun.
36 “Slaughter houses are very cruel, so we should support legislation to make them more humane.” “Making slaughter houses more humane could drastically raise the cost of meat.”“Animals were ‘created’ for humans to use; it doesn’t matter if they suffer.” (Many people just don’t care.)
37 Why provide counterarguments? Unlike many forms of writing, academic arguments will often include discussions of possible objections and counterarguments to the position being advanced.Academic arguments typically take place in disciplinary communities in which a variety of competing or divergent positions exist.
38 Why provide counterarguments? When preparing to “speak” to the community by writing an argument, writers are aware of the arguments against which they must build their claims, and of the counterarguments which are likely to emerge.Dealing with counterarguments and objections is thus a key part of the process of building arguments, refining them, interpreting and analyzing them.
39 There are several main reasons for introducing counterarguments and objections. By demonstrating that the author is aware of opposing views and is not trying to “sweep them under the table,” it thus is more likely to make the writer's argument seem fair and honest to readers, and as a consequence be more persuasive.Demonstrating that the writer is thinking carefully about the responses of readers and anticipating the objections that many readers may have shows audience awareness.By contrasting one's position with the arguments or alternative hypotheses the writer is against, he or she clarifies the position that is being argued for.
40 Essay One Topic Proposal: Part One Describe your topic. What element(s) of the food system will you be examining?Remember that your essay, once finished, must suggest a solution; think in terms of a topic that will allow you to suggest what you want your imagined audience to do.Your claim, therefore, should be a matter of policy.
41 Part Two: Thinking about the Toulmin method, plan the argument you will make in your essay. Provide the following:Claim: The conclusion of the argument(s) you will make in your essay--in other words, the idea that will become your thesis statement.Backing: Give a summary of the evidence that you will provide.Rebuttal: Exceptions or counterarguments to your claim.
42 Remember— there are three types of claim: Fact: Claims that focus on empirically verifiable phenomena;Judgment/value: Claims that involve opinions, attitudes, and subjective evaluations;Policy: Claims that advocate courses of action that should be undertaken.
43 The thesis statements for this class must be argumentative (debatable); They should let your readers know what you want them to do to solve a problem;Your claim, therefore, should be able to be categorized as a policy claim, not simply a factual claim.Your claim will also be your opinion, but you should not rely on subjective values.