Location

McMaster University

Document Type

Paper

Start Date

1-6-2005 9:00 AM

End Date

1-6-2005 5:00 PM

Abstract

Relevance of premises to conclusion can be explicated through Toulmin’s notion of warrant, understood as an inference rule, albeit not necessarily formal. Premises are relevant to a conclusion just in case a reliable warrant licenses the step from these premises to the conclusion, or there is a series of steps from premises to conclusion where each is licensed by a reliable warrant. But when is a warrant reliable? We distinguish four types of warrant based on the mode of intuition involved in coming to recognize that the set of premises constitutes a reason for the conclusion: a priori, empirical, institutional, and valuational. Within empirical intuition, we distinguish physical and personal intuition. A warrant is reliable just in case either the mode of intuition which grasps the connection it expresses is reliable in this employment or the warrant is justified by its backing. The argument for whether a mode of intuition is reliable or whether we may presume it reliable in a given employment is different for each mode of intuition, as are the arguments to back a warrant. Making these distinctions allows us to present such arguments and thus to indicate when warrants are reliable or at least presumptively reliable.

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Jun 1st, 9:00 AM Jun 1st, 5:00 PM

Systematizing Toulmin’s Warrants: An Epistemic Approach

McMaster University

Relevance of premises to conclusion can be explicated through Toulmin’s notion of warrant, understood as an inference rule, albeit not necessarily formal. Premises are relevant to a conclusion just in case a reliable warrant licenses the step from these premises to the conclusion, or there is a series of steps from premises to conclusion where each is licensed by a reliable warrant. But when is a warrant reliable? We distinguish four types of warrant based on the mode of intuition involved in coming to recognize that the set of premises constitutes a reason for the conclusion: a priori, empirical, institutional, and valuational. Within empirical intuition, we distinguish physical and personal intuition. A warrant is reliable just in case either the mode of intuition which grasps the connection it expresses is reliable in this employment or the warrant is justified by its backing. The argument for whether a mode of intuition is reliable or whether we may presume it reliable in a given employment is different for each mode of intuition, as are the arguments to back a warrant. Making these distinctions allows us to present such arguments and thus to indicate when warrants are reliable or at least presumptively reliable.