Models of Argument
While the three main models of argument—Classical, Toulmin and Rogerian—share the same goals, each of these models takes a unique approach. The Classical model of argument contains five essential parts, each of which has its own function and all of which arranged in an order that should lead to an effective and satisfying conclusion. Instead of focusing on the flow of the argument, the Toulmin model emphasizes the specific elements of the argument.
Finally, the Rogerian model first lays down the common beliefs and arguments between the speaker or writer and the intended audience which eventually direct the audience into reaffirming the claim of the speaker or writer. The Classical model contains five important parts in making a persuasive argument. In essence, these five points include the following arranged in proper sequence: introduction, narration, confirmation, refutation, and conclusion. According to this model, the introduction part is where the writer establishes rapport with the intended audience while announcing his general claim or thesis.
The narration follows where summaries of the most relevant background information for the argument are provided, followed by the confirmation where the writer is expected to substantiate his claims for his thesis through the use of evidence; the claims are logically arranged, typically from strongest to weakest. In refutation, the writer recognizes the opposing viewpoints and other alternatives to his thesis and tries to anticipate or debunk the possible objections.
Finally, the conclusion is the part where the writer or speaker summarizes his main contentions while strengthening the force of his arguments. The Toulmin model makes use of six elements in analyzing an entire argument or creating a persuasive argument. The elements include the claim, grounds, warrant, backing, rebuttal or reservation, and qualification. The form of the claim is similar to the main thesis in most persuasive arguments. The grounds provide support or evidence which strengthens the claim in the argument. On the other hand, the warrant shows the relevance of the grounds to the general claim.
An argument’s warrant typically takes the form of a chain of reasoning that establishes the pathos, ethos, logos or a combination thereof. The backing essentially provides justification for the warrant in the argument. Meanwhile, the rebuttal or reservation of the argument in this model provides the exceptions that can be made against the claim as well as the refutation of the possible counter-arguments and counter-examples against the claim. Finally, the qualification sets the limitations and the degree of the conditions of the general claim.
The Rogerian model is different from the first two models because of its form. Basically, this model begins an argument by establishing rapport with the audience by acknowledging their position and establishing the shared beliefs between the speaker or writer and the audience. A description of the opposing point of view or an exposition of the possible cases where the opposite claim is valid then follows. Thereafter, the writer or speaker presents his position on the issue through the use of a fairly neutral language and the possible scenarios where his position is legitimate.
The last segment of this model is where the writer, for example, presents the reasons why and how accepting his position will yield benefits for the audience. In terms of general topics or those that are commonly discussed, the Classical model is typically used since it provides a systematic approach of argumentation. The structure of this model underscores the most basic way of arguing for or against an issue through a focus on the logical flow of the larger chunks of paragraphs in the case of a written persuasive argument.
The Classical model is also the easiest argument form to be understood on the part of the audience due to its style. The fact that it begins with the exposition of the general claim implies the idea that it immediately provides the audience with a brief sketch of what the speaker or writer will say or write throughout his argument. Common topics are then argued for or against more easily because the logical flow of the argument efficiently guides both the audience and the speaker or writer, allowing them to effectively follow the rest of the argument without getting lost in transition.
It can also be said that the Classical model is an efficient model in introducing students to the concept of argumentation and of other techniques in making persuasive arguments. Compared to the Toulmin and Rogerian models, the Classical model contains the basic elements in any argument model, all of which are arranged in a logical flow. Teaching the Classical model can help students learn the more complex techniques in making persuasive arguments written according to requirements of the specific circumstance.
On the other hand, the Rogerian model presupposes that the speaker or writer is already aware of the basic parts of a persuasive argument. Without background knowledge on the essential elements of a persuasive argument, it will be difficult to establish rapport with the audience while not discouraging them from not listening to the position of the speaker. Meanwhile, it can be said that the Toulmin model is a more detailed version of the Classical model since the former provides more room for the speaker to discuss more specific data in support for his general claim, which brings us to the next evaluation.
In cases where there is an important need to discuss in detail specific evidence or data in an argument, the Toulmin model best suits the task at hand (Kneupper, 1978, p. 239). In a nutshell, the structure of this model is comparable to that of a pyramid where the claim occupies the topmost portion while the elaborations on the claim and their succeeding justifications occupy the lower segments. For example, for a general claim, two or three grounds can be provided under it while two or three more warrants may be given in support of each of the grounds.
These warrants are then justified by their respective backings. With this set-up, the speaker or writer can introduce and discuss in detail the specific data corresponding to the element which the Toulmin model prescribes. As for purely technical persuasive arguments, the element of qualification in this model best serves the purpose of delimiting the scope of such arguments, thereby avoiding the task of belaboring items that are present in the case but are nonetheless unnecessary or irrelevant to the topic.
Purely scientific persuasive arguments can benefit most from the use of the Toulmin model. Using the Rogerian model may be possible but its approach simply does not meet the task of creating a detailed discussion of a highly technical subject. For arguing for or against topics that are so-called “emotionally charged”, the Rogerian model is better than either the Classic or Toulmin models primarily because the Rogerian model initially seeks the common beliefs between the writer or speaker and his intended audience (Baumlin, 1987, p. 35).
In doing so, the writer, for instance, is able to grab the attention of his audience without immediately turning them away from listening to a claim that is contrary to theirs. Moreover, the writer or speaker is also able to let his audience members put their guard or defenses down, in a manner of speaking, which enables him to convince his audience better thereafter. The Classical, Toulmin and Rogerian models of argument seek the same goal of persuading the audience into agreeing to and accepting the claim of the speaker or writer.
While they share this goal, each of them uses different approaches. No two of the three models are entirely similar since each model makes use of a unique style in persuading. Apparently, the usefulness of each of these models depends on the context or necessity of the situation.
References Baumlin, J. S. (1987). Persuasion, Rogerian Rhetoric, and Imaginative Play. Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 17(1), 33-43. Kneupper, C. W. (1978). Teaching Argument: An Introduction to the Toulmin Model. College Composition and Communication, 29(3), 237-241.Sample Essay of BuyEssay.org