Stephen Toulmin (03/25/1922-12/04/2009)

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    Moral Reasoning

    Stephen Toulmin was a British philosopher who devoted his works to the analysis of moral reasoning. Throughout his writings, he sought to develop practical arguments which can be used effectively in evaluating the ethics behind moral issues. Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime. There are three major areas of study within ethics recognized today. Applied, Normative and Meta-Ethics.
  • Toulmin Argumentation Model

    Toulmin Argumentation Model
    Toulmin aimed to develop a different type of argument, called practical arguments (also known as substantial arguments). Toulmin proposed a layout containing six interrelated components for analyzing arguments: Claim, Ground, Backing, Warrant, Rebuttal, and Qualifier. The first three elements, claim, ground, and warrant, are considered as the essential components of practical arguments, while the second triad, qualifier, backing, and rebuttal, may not be needed in some arguments.
  • Toulmin vs. Kuhn

    Toulmin attacks Thomas Kuhn's account of conceptual change. Kuhn believed that conceptual change is a revolutionary process, during which mutually exclusive paradigms compete. Toulmin criticized the relativist elements in Kuhn's thesis, arguing that mutually exclusive paradigms provide no ground for comparison, and that Kuhn made the relativists' error of overemphasizing the "field variant" while ignoring the "field invariant" or commonality shared by all argumentation or scientific paradigms.
  • Introduction to Reasoning

    Toulmins' model includes the arts and sciences of civil debate, dialogue, conversation, and persuasion. It studies rules of inference, logic, and procedural rules in both artificial and real world settings. Which people protect their beliefs or self-interests—or choose to change them—in rational dialogue, in common parlance, and during the process of arguing. It is used in law, for example in trials, in preparing an argument to be presented to a court.