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IMPORTANT METHODS OF ARGUMENTATION
Aristotle’s Method p Stephen Toulmin’s Method p
Aristotle p Inductive Reasoning n n p In inductive reasoning we collect bits of evidence on which to base generalizations The Inductive Leap: Since thoroughness is often impractical if not impossible, inductive reasoning involves making a leap from the evidence to the conclusion. Deductive Reasoning n The syllogism
SYLLOGISM Major premise p Minor premise p Conclusion p All men are mortal p Socrates is a man. p Therefore, Socrates is mortal. p
REMEMBER FALLACIES Never assume that your syllogism is airtight– be careful to remember the things that can go wrong with reasoning. Here is an example of a faulty syllogism… p “Animals, which move, have limbs and muscles. The earth has no limbs and muscles. Hence, the Earth does not move. ” p What is the flaw? p
Real Life Example…(Mainly because Mrs. Lamar LOOOVE’s House. ) p Dr. House: Words have set meanings for a reason. If you see an animal like Bill and you try to play fetch, Bill's going to eat you, because Bill's a bear. Little Girl: Bill has fur, four legs, and a collar. He's a dog. Dr. House: You see, that's what's called a faulty syllogism; just because you call Bill a dog doesn't mean that he is. . . a dog. ("Merry Little Christmas, ” House, M. D. )
Syllogism Example #1 p Major Premise: Sixty men can do a piece of work sixty times as quickly as one man. Minor Premise: One man can dig a posthole in sixty seconds; therefore-Conclusion: Sixty men can dig a posthole in one second. This may be called the syllogism arithmetical, in which, by combining logic and mathematics, we obtain a double certainty and are twice blessed. " (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary)
Syllogism Example #2 Major premise: All asteroids are made of rock. Minor premise: Ceres is an asteroid. Conclusion: Ceres is made of rock.
Label this one on your own… Fluffy is not a cat. Fluffy enjoys the company of snakes. No cat enjoys the company of snakes.
And this one… Some kinds of cheese smell like feet. I will not eat anything that smells like feet. There are some kinds of cheese I will not eat.
Who is Stephen Toulmin and why do I care? A British philosopher, author and educator p Devoted his works to the analysis of moral reasoning p His writing “seeks to develop practical arguments which can be used effectively in evaluating the ethics behind moral issues. ” p
Toulmin Parts Data Claim Warrant Backing Qualifier Rebuttal p
CLAIM p Conclusions whose merit must be established
DATA p The facts appealed to as a foundation for the claim
WARRANT The statement authorizing the movement from the data to the claim p Toulmin stated that an argument is only as strong as its weakest warrant and if a warrant isn’t valid, then the whole argument collapses. p
BACKING p Facts that give credibility to the statement expressed in the warrant; backing must be introduced when the warrant itself is not convincing enough to the readers or the listeners.
REBUTTAL p Statements recognizing the restrictions to which the claim may legitimately be applied.
QUALIFIER p Words or phrases expressing how certain the author/ speaker is concerning the claim
NOTE p The first three elements, “claim, ” “data, ” and “warrant” are considered the essential components of practical arguments, while the others may not be needed in some arguments
EXAMPLE p p p CLAIM- You should buy our tooth-whitening product DATA- Studies show that teeth are 50% whiter after using the product for a specified time WARRANT- People want whiter teeth BACKING– Celebrities want whiter teeth REBUTTAL– Commercial says “unless you don’t want to attract guys” QUALIFIER– Fine print says “product must be used six weeks for results”
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Thanks to the following sources for the information included in this presentation… Kennedy, X. J. , Dorothy Kennedy and Jane E. Aaron Eds. The Bedford Reader 9 th ed. Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2006. Mc. Ferran, Doug. “Constructing Syllogisms. ” 22 August 2008