Stephen Toulmin's The uses of argument : a contextual re-reading

Cardinal Scholar

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Ranieri, Paul W. en_US Clauss, Patrick James en_US 2011-06-03T19:24:15Z 2011-06-03T19:24:15Z 1999 en_US 1999
dc.identifier LD2489.Z68 1999 .C53 en_US
dc.description.abstract For my dissertation, I analyze the impact of English philosopher Stephen Toulmin's 1958 The Uses of Argument on philosophy and rhetoric. Because Toulmin holds that arguments must be assessed in relation to their original contexts, I begin by examining the intellectual context surrounding The Uses of Argument. I trace the development of formal, symbolic logic from the latter part of the nineteenth century and into the middle of the twentieth century. I argue that Toulmin was inspired by the work of ordinary language philosophers such as Ludwig Wittgenstein; with The Uses of Argument, Toulmin challenges the mathematical, deductive, and positivistic logics of philosophers such as Rene Descartes and Bertrand Russell. Next, I consider features of The Uses of Argument that are overlooked or misunderstood by critics and reviewers, including Toulmin's discussion of probability, field-dependent and independent aspects of arguments, and epistemological theory.After finding that many of the reviews of Toulmin's work were not as critical as recent scholars of rhetoric have portrayed, I evaluate the various ways philosophers and speech communication scholars have responded to Toulmin's arguments. Before examining composition scholars' uses of Toulmin, I briefly trace the development of argumentation in composition instruction. Then, I evaluate the wide range of reactions to and uses of Toulmin's work by composition scholars.Finally, having examined the intellectual history, the critical reception, and the variety of scholarly applications of The Uses of Argument, I offer my own application of Toulmin's work. I explain that good, "Toulmin-inspired" arguments are (1) contextual, (2) supported, and (3) multi-sided. Using student examples from my freshman composition courses, I demonstrate how students and I have used Toulmin's schema in several stages of the writing process, including invention and revision. I conclude that while Toulmin's work has had a significant impact on argumentation theory and pedagogy, rhetoricians-particularly composition scholars-have not yet fully realized the rhetorical and epistemological implications of The Uses of Argument. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Department of English
dc.format.extent ix, 279 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Logic. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Reasoning. en_US
dc.subject.other Toulmin, Stephen, 1922-2009. Uses of argument. en_US
dc.title Stephen Toulmin's The uses of argument : a contextual re-reading en_US Thesis (Ph. D.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

Files in this item

Files Size Format View

There are no files associated with this item.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Doctoral Dissertations [3134]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

Show simple item record

Search Cardinal Scholar


My Account