Introduction

Argumentation is a vital factor for communication and it endured in our society for centuries. This theory had its origin in foundationalism, a theory of justification or reasoning in the field of philosophy. But during those days the argumentation was based on oration and logic. Soon afterwards, these theories which were put forward by Aristotle were rejected and were questioned by the scholars. They found a broader premise for argument than the formal philosophical systems. During 1960-1970 several scientists such as Mr. Perelman tried to develop the techniques used by the people to get support of others for their views and opinions. Likewise many scientists and authors have developed argumentation in different ways.

Argumentation Theory

Communication is very important for human beings. In fact, through communication the human beings begin to express their thoughts and thus played a good role in our evolution. While communicating the speaker will share the information and the listener will listen to it. Here the listener must be able to differentiate the trustworthy reliable information with the lies and treachery. According to Dan Sperber the listener must be able to filter the messages and he must have the mechanism of epistemic vigilance. It’s nothing but the vigilant attitude towards the information that we get. For example, we believe the news coming in the internet because we trust the source. Here instead of just trusting, we work out different ways to be vigilant in filtering the trustworthy news with treachery. Argument is a method to increase the reliability in communication. Here speaker give a validation to receive the conclusion. But the listener can check this validation to accept the given conclusion. Argumentation is also an activity of reason. When people argue, they place their thinking in the domain of reason. They have used reasoning to assess and accept the conclusion. Communication is perfected with proper reasoning and also a true conclusion is supported by fair arguments. So the speaker could convince the listeners and the listeners could gain a reliable piece of information. Thus the communication is successful.

Stephen Toulmin’s structure of Argumentation

Stephen Toulmin an English philosopher and logician have come up with the elements of arguments which generate categories through which it can be evaluated.

  • Claim
  • Ground
  • Warrant
  • Backing
  • Qualifier
  • Rebuttal

Claim is nothing but a statement. It is put forward by a speaker or listener in order to accept the information as true. If someone asks you to do something you will not agree to do anything what they want. You need to ask and also you need to know why you have to do it. You will ask them to prove their claim and that is when ground comes in.

Ground is the reasoning behind the claim. It can be made up information used to persuade the listener. It is the base where an argument is made up and it may also have the proof for reasoning. Here information can be a very powerful element of persuasion. Each person has their unique way of thinking as thus has a unique way of accepting information. For men who think more logically will accept factual information than women who accept things more emotionally. Some will accept without questioning others will ignore it and some will research the facts even more for better explanation. Here warrant, the next step become important.

Warrant justifies the claim by making the ground to be appropriate. A warrant can be a small statement or a pursuing argument. It may be accurate, implicit or unspoken.

Backing –   When the backing is given for an argument, it gives additional support to the warrant.

Qualifier –    It restricts the comprehensiveness of the claim. They usually use words such as `most’, `usually’, `always’ and `sometimes’. Another alternative of qualifier is reservation. It is a term which might state that the claim is incorrect.

Rebuttal Even in a perfectly stated argument there still can use counter arguments. The rebuttal can be given during the early stages of presentation or through a prolong discourse.

Example

  1. Women make excellent administrators- (claim)– argument
  2. Women are multitasking and are good organizers-(grounds)
  3. Women mostly are good listeners and are more sensitive in approaching problems. This helps in the smooth functioning of the organization-(warrant)
  4. women today are well educated-(backing)
  5. women are home makers so most of them will have the ability to manage any organization or country, in a better way-(qualifier)
  6. women can be good administrators unless they are given good education and exposure-(reservation)
  7. if equal exposure is given women can achieve greater heights-(rebuttal)

Scope

Argumentation theory is an important area which is important to the scholars, philosophers and logicians. It comes under interpersonal communication as it is vocal but also can be applied to group and written communication.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: