Logic 101 - Literary Cudas

Logic 101 - Literary Cudas

Organizing our Arguments with Toulmins Structure What is LOGIC? Logic is the study of the principles of correct reasoning. Our goal is to construct arguments that are as logical and well-reasoned as possible but this is often easier said than done! Old-School Logic: The Syllogism

Since the time of Aristotle, students have been taught that the syllogism is the most important, if not the only, path to truth. A syllogism derives a conclusion from a set of conditions (called premises) Syllogisms Example SYLLOGISM: Major Premise: All men are mortal. Minor Premise: Socrates is a man. Conclusion: Socrates is a mortal.

Syllogisms are like IF-THEN statements in math: IF all men are mortal AND Socrates is a man, THEN Socrates [must be] a mortal. Why Syllogisms arent always useful in arguments In most subjects (with the exceptions of math and science), and in most everyday situations and disputes, we do not have premises that we know to be absolutely true. Instead, we have to deal with statements/conditions/premises that we believe

are probably true but not absolutely true. In the past two or three decades, colleges have turned to a newer way of dealing with logic: The Toulmin Method. The Toulmin Method is ideal for situations that are not black and white situations in which The Toulmin Method of Argument Toulmins basic understanding of argument includes several elements: A claim Grounds that state the reason for the claim Qualifications that identify possible

exceptions to the claim Based on evidence of some sort A warrant that explains how the evidence supports the claim Backing supporting the warrants Toulmin Method: The CLAIM What statement is the author defending? The claim is the central thesis or opinion that the author attempts

to prove through the citation of reasons, facts, evidence, and examples. Sometimes the claim may Toulmin Method: QUALIFIERS How is the claim limited (or qualified)? A qualifier is a word that LIMITS the claim in some way (examples: sometimes, often, in some cases, usually, generally, under these circumstances, etc.). The qualifier gives the author some wiggle room by letting the audience

know that there are possible exceptions to the claim. Its usually unwise to make an absolute Toulmin Method: The GROUNDS Grounds are the because statements that back up your argument. Example: Violent video games should be carefully monitored because these games cause addiction and psychological harm. The GROUNDS of this claim are:

Toulmin Method: EVIDENCE What kinds of evidence (data, anecdotes, case studies, citations from experts, etc.) are offered as support for the claim? Evidence must be GOOD i.e., sufficient, accurate, and credible. Evidence must be RELEVANT it must actually prove the claim. Generally, successful arguments require a good balance of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Practice with Evidence Each claim is followed by possible evidence. Decide whether each piece of evidence is RELEVANT or not i.e., whether the evidence truly PROVES the claim. CLAIM: Selling cigarettes ought to be against the law. 1. Cigarette smoking kills more people than all illegal drugs combined. 2. Nonsmokers are endangered by breathing the smoke from Correct

Answers: #1 and #2 others cigarettes. 3. Alcohol is another legal drug that kills numerous Americans #3 is not relevant because it does not every year. directly address and prove the claim! Practice with Evidence Read the following paragraph and identify which sentence does NOT support the claim with relevant evidence. Getting rid of eyesores in the neighborhood does more than

simply beautify; it can improve the economic and social life of an area. [CLAIM] Not long ago, a neighborhood in Philly decided to improve its appearance by planting a community garden. [1] As a result, neighbors spent more time together outdoors. [2] Thus, graffiti writers were discouraged from frequenting the area. [3] Additional police also keep the streets safer. [4] Finally, the cleaner streets and safer atmosphere also attracted more customers to local businesses. [5] Correct Answer: Sentence #4 does NOT prove the claim!

#4 is not relevant because police presence is not part of the original claim, so this info Toulmin Method: The WARRANT Warrants may simply be common sense rules that people accept as generally true, laws, scientific principles, and thoughtfully argued definitions. The warrant is the foundation upon which your entire argument is built. Weak warrant = Weak argument

Toulmin Method: The WARRANT (cont.) This is a WEAK warrant: Grounds Claim Because High schools homework should not stresses me out assign homework Warrant WHY WEAK? Not universal

Things that enough; too stress me out limited Not likely to be should be generally abolished. accepted by the audience Toulmin Method: The WARRANT (cont.) This is a STRONG warrant: Grounds

Claim Because cars Driving hybrid are the biggest cars are an source of effective way to privatelyreduce produced pollution pollution Warrant Cars generally have a long life-span, so the decision to switch to a hybrid car will have

a long-term impact on pollution levels. WHY STRONG? Universal idea that will be generally accepted by the audience Reasonable, Toulmin Method: BACKING Backing is support or evidence that proves the warrant. Some warrants will require very

little backing, such as the example below: Warrant: The kind thing to do is help people when theyre in need. Backing: Helping others is a virtue that has been taught for ages. OR Americans find value in helping others. Toulmin Method: BACKING (cont.) Some warrants will need to be proved to the audience. (Warrant: The U.S. government has the responsibility to protect its

citizens health. Backing: The Constitution grants the government the right to promote the general welfare. The more controversial the warrant, the more solid evidence you will need to provide to back it up. Toulmin Method: REBUTTALS/COUNTERARGUMENTS Since real-world arguments are based on probability instead of absolute fact, there are likely to be counterarguments (opposing claims). Writers must try to anticipate

potential objections to the claim and explain why these counterarguments do not undermine or destroy the claim. This is called the REBUTTAL. Example Toulmin Structure

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