How to Write a Toulmin Essay

How to Write a Toulmin Essay at SolidEssay.comStephen Toulmin is amongst the most renowned philosophers of the 20th century, with very important contributions regarding developing a better definition of our contemporary era (post-modernism) and its leading principles. Some of his elaborations concern the field of rationalism and logical reasoning. As highly interested in the contemporary Philosophy of science, Toulmin offers a special method for checking the logical reasoning of a given person. Since most people use arguments which are not relevant to their thesis, or misinterpret the data they have at hand, Toulmin presupposes several points needed for checking reasoning in such cases. It should be said that the method itself is not hard for grasping, but sometimes one may become confused while analyzing the presented argument. This is so because we always start from a given set of assumptions (such as the principles of common sense). Thus, it is not possible to check whether the assumptions themselves are true. What is important is to check their connection with the data and the thesis in question.

The current paper will give you some instructions regarding how to write a Toulmin essay. Now, writing a Toulmin essay requires forming a clear conception about the discussed issue. The structure of the presented argument is as important as its contents. Hence, its veracity should be checked together with its meeting all the formal criteria for logical correctness. You need to observe the following structure. Remember that the following six parts of the essay could be ordered in a different way, but all of them need to be presented:

1. Claim

It may also be called a thesis/hypothesis. This is an assertion which you have to defend by referring to data and some presumptions (or warrants). 

Example: “Educational resources in the United States should be accessible for free.”

2. Data

These are the facts that you must refer to. For instance, you can write that, “As of year X, only Z % of the educational resources in the United States are accessible without additional payment.” Here you can also add additional information or other data which complement the first one.

3. Warrants

These are the logical connections between the data presented and the thesis. A warrant is also an assertion but it is of such a kind which does not need further proving (in this sense it is a presupposition).

An example of the warrant is: “The more accessible educational resources are, the better educational results will be achieved by school students.” This assertion is related to the issue of educational resources. On the other hand, it is a value statement; i.e. it exposes a given point of view rooted in morality. Although it is not written here, you are actually saying that the achievement of higher marks and grades is desirable.

4. Qualifiers

These are the statements which restrict the validity of your thesis. There is no such thing as absolute truth, (at least not in a rational sense). Not everyone who has access to free educational resources improves his/her results. Therefore, there could be other factors which influence the particular results in school. You should describe them in this part.

Example: “The access to educational resources is not the only necessary condition. Support from teachers and parents is also needed.”

5. Rebuttal

Actually, the rebuttal was presented in the previous section. It is such an assertion which repudiates your thesis. Thus, the sentence “The access to educational resources is not the only necessary condition” is a rebuttal. As you see, the qualifiers and the rebuttal are tightly connected.

6. Backing

It is a statement which reinforces the warrants. This statement is needed to answer the counter-argument (the rebuttal). You can write the following: “The access to free educational resources is the main factor in improving the school students’ grades at school.”

As you can see from all these points, the structure of the Toulmin essay requires careful elaboration of the thesis and checking the conditions for its validity. Of course, this argument is only of ideal nature, so it is not possible to adhere to it in a perfect sense. Its major weakness is, as we have seen, the impossibility to prove the warrants (or our preliminary assumptions), for the reason that this would lead to endless regress (such a vicious circle which is repeated without end).

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