Toulmin Argument Sample/Example
"Smoking in Public Places Should be Banned"
Smoking in public places should be banned (claim) because it puts other people, especially children and pregnant women, at risk of breathing smoke from cigarettes (ground). Smoking in public places also endangers people who have respiratory ailments (ground). Recent studies show that almost (qualifier) 80% of those who ingest secondhand smoke from public smokers have a higher risk of getting respiratory problems than smokers themselves (data).
Banning an act that causes problems to innocent civilians is helpful in many ways (warrant). If smoking in public places is banned, we actually reduce or totally eradicate the danger of putting non-smokers at risk of developing lung and heart problems (backing statement). Moreover, if we ban smoking in public places, we also stop the smokers from further increasing their chances of acquiring health problems for themselves (backing statement).
While it can be said that not all people who smoke in public areas are always causing harm to others, it remains a fact that smoking per se is a cause of health problems (rebuttal). It is not enough to say that the size of affected people are relatively just a small fraction; plenty or few, one person put at risk is more than enough (rebuttal). It is only the case that smoking in public places, therefore, should be banned.
There are many other samples/examples of Toulmin arguments. For starters, you may want to know more about Toulmin arguments, how to write a Toulmin argument, or Rogerian arguments.
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Transcript of The Toulmin Model
The Primary Triad
: The U.S. federal government should ban the smoking of cigarettes in all public places.
The Secondary Triad
: Why should nonsmokers have to pay with their money and their health for others' choices?
a. useful in understanding the parts
of a complete argument.
b. a way to evaluate the reasoning
behind someone's argument.
c. a model to follow in order to
make your own arguments
- the conclusion you form from your analysis of information on the topic.
You want the audience to come to the same conclusion.
Three types of claims:
: Argue the probability of an assertion -- what is, was, or will be.
: Argue the evaluation of something based on a standard -- what is good, bad, right, wrong, etc.
: Argue that action should be taken or behavior should be altered -- what should or shouldn't be done.
- evidence offered
in support of the claim.
results of empirical research
The bridge that connects the claim and the grounds,
which reflects the assumptions, values, and beliefs of one's audience.
Provides justification for you argument.
- additional support for the warrant.
Supplemental evidence to further convince the audience that your reasoning is legitimate.
- Statements that limit the strength of the argument or propose the conditions under which the argument is true.
They reflect the arguer's degree of certainty and confidence.
sometimes, only, might, maybe, possibly, probably, except for, in this case, etc.
- how the arguer addresses counter-arguments.
They may either answer these objections or admit to a weakness in their case.
Claim: What's my principal argument? What do I want my audience to believe?
Grounds: What evidence supports my claim?
Warrant: What reasoning justifies the connection between claim and grounds? What assumptions and values are guiding my opinion?
Backing: How can I establish the reliability of the warrant? How can I prove my point further?
Qualifiers: Do I need to put restrictions on my claim?
Rebuttal: What objections must I anticipate? Can I overcome them or should I admit a limitation to my argument?
Rebuttal: Although "an eye for an eye" may seem fair, families who want justice to be served will not find peace through the murder of another human being. These families also cannot be satisfied if the wrong person is executed.
Backing: Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel & unusual punishment.
Warrant: Justice should be
administered fairly and accurately.
Claim: The US federal government must abolish the practice of capital punishment.
Grounds: Research indicates capital punishment disproportionately affects the poor and members of minority groups. There are also cases of individuals being proven innocent after execution.
Toulmin's Model: The Primary Triad
Grounds (evidence) Claim (proposition)
Toulmin's Model: The Secondary Triad
Rebuttal (addressing objections)
Grounds (evidence) Claim (proposition)
Tests of Evidence:
Reliability: Is the information accurate and current?
Quality: Is the information relevant, clear, credible, and sufficient?
Consistent: Is the information in agreement with other sources of information?
Audience acceptability: Will your particular audience, in a particular field, be likely to consider the information?
The Secondary Triad
Qualifier: Death penalty is
acceptable in cases when DNA evidence proves guilt.
Bo: The Phillies will win the World Series this year.
Luke: That's crazy! How did you come up with that?
Bo: They have the best pitching. Look at the stats!
Luke: Why does that mean they'll win the World Series?
Bo: Well, if you look at the winners for the last ten years, you'll see that each team had big-name pitchers.
Claims never stand alone!
Claim: Suzy is infected.
Grounds: She has a fever.
Warrant: Fevers indicate infection in the body.
: High school seniors should take a gap year before going to college.
: Children under 12 should not be permitted in fine dining establishments.
: Breathing cigarette smoke is unhealthy not simply for the smoker but for those around the smoker, causing numerous diseases and high mortality.
Also, taxpayers cover many of the costs of tobacco-related illnesses.
: The federal government should protect its citizens' well-being.
: Some may say that this would infringe upon individual freedom of choice, but the government regulates other self-destructive behaviors that impact society, like drunk driving. Thus, in this instance, the federal government should step in.
: "In this instance"
Claim: What do you think?
Grounds: What is that opinion based on?
Warrant: Why do you think that?
Backing: Can you tell me more?
Qualifier: How certain are you?
Rebuttal: How will you respond to disagreement?
Claim: The President is doing a poor job.
Grounds: The economy has not improved significantly since he took office.
Warrant: The President is responsible for the economy; when the economy is weak, it is a sign the President is doing a poor job.
Reading Response #3
Based on John Fraire's essay,
1. What is his major claim?
2. What types of grounds does he use?
3. What do you think the underlying warrant is?
Reading Response #4
Who do you agree with more, Marche or Klinenberg? Why?
(or, do you agree with a little of both?)