Toulmin: The Good Argument And Popularity

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Logic is central to any argument or public discourse. Logic is simply the way a person reasons - their method of making an argument. When you understand that most people engage in inductive reasoning (going from a specific argument to a more general one) then you can respond to their “logic” more effectively. Unfortunately, today many arguments are based mainly on faulty reasoning and/or simply an appeal to emotions or biases rather than reason. Just think of any news channel TV anchor personality and you can detect their biases in their choice of words or the way in which they report on an issue. Many reporters simply rely on “personality” rather than facts or evidence when reporting the news.

Using the Toulmin method of argument is, I believe, the best way to present my research article. Toulmin uses specific vocabulary to describe his method of argument. He uses “claim, data, warrant, backing, rebuttal, and qualifiers” to explain and chart his arguments (Jones, “Finding the Good Argument OR Why Bother With Logic?” 8,9). In
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For instance, many people used to deny smoking is bad for your health because “millions of people do it.” In an online article, “The Allure Of Popularity And Bandwagon Consensus,” the article discusses the cult following of Fox News TV personality, Bill O’Reilly O’Reilly points to his very popularity as being the reason why people should believe what he says! I believe we can have healthier, more productive debates on important issues if we listen more and speak less; show respect for each individual’s opinion; and seek the “truth” through reading and researching diverse sources of information. If we focus on the topic and not the person, we can learn from opposing viewpoints and even change our
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