, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 347-371
Date: 23 Feb 2006

Evaluating Arguments Based on Toulmin’s Scheme

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Toulmin’s scheme for the layout of arguments (1958, The Uses of Argument, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge) represents an influential tool for the analysis of arguments. The scheme enriches the traditional premises-conclusion model of arguments by distinguishing additional elements, like warrant, backing and rebuttal. The present paper contains a formal elaboration of Toulmin’s scheme, and extends it with a treatment of the formal evaluation of Toulmin-style arguments, which Toulmin did not discuss at all. Arguments are evaluated in terms of a so-called dialectical interpretation of their assumptions. In such an interpretation, an argument’s assumptions can be evaluated as defeated, e.g., when there is a defeating reason against the assumption. The present work builds on recent research on defeasible argumentation (cf. e.g. the work of Pollock, Reiter, Loui, Vreeswijk, Prakken, Hage and Dung). More specifically, the author’s work on the dialectical logic DEFLOG and the argumentation tool ARGUMED serve as starting points.