Toulmin’s argument model
Created by Stephen Toulmin, English philosopher to identify elements of persuasive arguments
Claim Statement (proposition, thesis) answers the questions:
What point will your paper try to make? What belief or opinion is the author defending? “conclusion whose merits we are seeking to establish” Ex: The American Dream in the year 2010 is to own as much as possible.
Claims must be credible
Must support with specific evidence Readers may ask “How do you know this is true” “What is this based on?”
Claim It is arguable It is precisely worded It is qualified when necessary
Claims must be supported—evidence, reasons, grounds for data
A. Appeals to logic 1. Facts 2. Data B. Appeals to ethos 1. Quotations from experts (cite text) 2. Statements based on writer’s credibility C. Appeals to pathos 1. Anecdotal information 2. Case studies
Qualifiers are used Used to clarify author’s claims; restricts and limits Used to protect their credibility—saying that the claim may not be absolute protects writer from proving claim is true in every case. Examples: typically, usually, for the most part, some, several, few, sometimes
Reservations Explains the terms and conditions
Made necessary by the qualifier. EX: Some Americans believe that possession of luxuries constitutes the fulfillment of the American dream unless they have been raised in a home that decries this philosophy.
Warrant Inferences or assumptions shared by the speaker and the audience Links the claim to the support either explicitly or implicitly (unspoken) Answers the question: Why does that data mean your example is true? Ex: Today’s young women must have designer purses, shoes.
Backing Consists of further assurances or data
Without this backing, warrant lacks authority—argument is not credible
Rebuttal logic is faulty support is weak warrants are invalid
Gives voice to objections, provides conditions that might refute or rebut the warranted claim logic is faulty support is weak warrants are invalid Then writer has created a rebuttal that supports his or her original opinion Ex: Many people give to charities therefore ownership is not the American Dream.
Tool to further claim Pre-empts the counter argument by indicating an argument that the other side may use against your argument EX: Some may cite the recent desire to “pay it forward” as shown in shows such as Extreme Makeover and Big Giveaway
Concession Admitting that opposing view is valid;
Builds upon it to further one’s own claim Allows audience to feel valued EX: While there is a spate of new conscious- raising, giveaway shows, the self-absorbed, get-rich-quick shows outnumber them (Unfortunately)
Diagram of Model Data Claim Warrant Qualifier Reservation Backing
Sample thesis “Because (support) therefore (qualifier?) (claim), since (warrant) on account of (backing), unless (reservation). Ex: Because it is raining, (support) I should take my umbrella,(claim) since _______________________(warrant) unless____________________(reservation)
Defend When asked to defend a position, one must explain the merits of the position--what makes it a workable, viable position. Supporting arguments would not merely restate, but actually develop the position
Refute · When asked to refute a position, one must explain the problems with the position—why it is not a workable, viable position. Arguments should anticipate how the opposing reader might react to the supporting arguments and respond accordingly.
Qualify · When asked to qualify a position, the writer recognizes the merits of a position (claim) but then proceeds to disagree with the position citing specific evidence. Avoid using concrete adjectives; use comparative adjectives (stronger rather than strong ) Do not over qualify—(sometimes good and sometimes bad)
Qualifying thesis statement
qualify - you can see both sides of the issue. In your thesis, state "I agree with X, but disagree with Y."
Summary Claim: what you believe your whole argument proves Data: what prompts you to make that claim; that is, the facts that lead you to believe your claim is true Qualifier: the part of the argument that measures the strength or force of the claim. Is the claim always true? True in the United States? True in modern times? . Summary Warrant: an assumption that you expect your audience will share. The warrant supports the claim by connecting it to the data. Backing: any facts that give substance to the warrant. Not all arguments make use of explicit backing
Summary Rebuttal: the part of an argument that allows for exceptions without having to give up the claim as generally true. For example, you could claim that most Americans seek to own luxuries, while admitting that a small segment of the country deny themselves luxury and choose to give to others. The very fact that only a small segment denies themselves helps to prove your general point that most want the possessions .
Examples DATA: Children have access to guns. CLAIM: Stricter gun laws would reduce children's access to guns. BACKING: In the town of X, reported accidents involving handguns decreased by 1% after X enacted laws to restrict certain types of handguns. A few other towns in the U.S. report similar decreases.
Examples WARRANT: Stricter gun laws reduce access to guns. QUALIFIER: Laws may reduce access in some cases but not in all cases.
Examples QUALIFIER: Laws may reduce access in some cases but not in all cases. BACKING: In the town of X, reported accidents involving handguns decreased by 1% after X enacted laws to restrict certain types of handguns. A few other towns in the U.S. report similar decreases.
Soapstone Subject Occasion Audience Purpose speaker
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