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By Stephen Toulmin, Richard Rieke, Allan Janik

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For once an argument is under way, it is a kind of cheating for us to go back and start questioning facts that were already stipulated before the argument began, without admitting what we are doing. If we begin to suspect halfway through an argument that our original starting point (or "common ground") was not as secure as we at first thought, we can go back to challenge it only by chang­ ing the subject, thereby initiating a new and different argument. The necessity for this procedure is connected with the function of reasoning as a means of establishing truth.

This means asking any additional questions that are needed in order to put the claim into its proper context and so to clarify its implications: Just what are you saying? Do you mean that Jim is legally incompetent, or taking a rest in a mental clinic, or just infuriated? Tell me that first, so that I don't get hold of the wrong end of the stick at the very outset! " The more clearly and unambiguously a claim or hypothesis is stated at the outset, the easier it is to avoid having it degenerate into a confused string of disagreements.

C " F, . F2 . · · · . Fn " ; a conclusion as C " ; FIGURE 5-1 The question is this: Within the varied contexts of different prises, what kinds of general statements may be appealed to as "rational authority" needed to connect any specific set of grounds, respondingly specific claim or conclusion, C? Once our assertor, A, human enter­ providing the G, to the cor­ has presented 50 FIRST LEVEL OF ANALYSIS: THE SOUNDNESS OF ARGUMENTS his particular set of grounds, G, what else must he produce in response to Q's critical questioning if he is to show that his conclusion, C, is warrantetf!

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