Location

McMaster University

Document Type

Paper

Start Date

1-6-2005 9:00 AM

End Date

1-6-2005 5:00 PM

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to (re)articulate the relationship between ‘critical rhetoric’ and Stephen Toulmin’s conception of practical reasoning. Among students of rhetoric, particularly those who work in communication departments in (US) American universities, the project of reason, once cherished as central to the 20th century Renaissance of argument, seems to have become outdated and irrelevant. With the recent ‘critical turn,’ reason was especially given a bad name in the field of rhetoric. Some rhetoricians have even joined reason’s Other, dissociating themselves from the project of reason as much as possible. The paper contends that the difference between critical reasoners and rhetoricians is not so substantial as it may look. It boils down to a question of emphasis, not substance, in our practice of practical discourse. Drawing on Toulmin’s idea of ‘modernity,’ ‘reasonableness,’ and ‘warrant-establishing,’ the paper call argument and rhetorical scholars’ attention to the assumptions that Toulmin’s project shares with critical rhetoric and argues for their ‘solidarity,’ a much needed intellectual project of Reason when the ‘reasonable’ is to be given equal weight to the ‘rational.’

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

Induction and Invention: The Toulmin Model Meets Critical Rhetoric

McMaster University

The aim of this paper is to (re)articulate the relationship between ‘critical rhetoric’ and Stephen Toulmin’s conception of practical reasoning. Among students of rhetoric, particularly those who work in communication departments in (US) American universities, the project of reason, once cherished as central to the 20th century Renaissance of argument, seems to have become outdated and irrelevant. With the recent ‘critical turn,’ reason was especially given a bad name in the field of rhetoric. Some rhetoricians have even joined reason’s Other, dissociating themselves from the project of reason as much as possible. The paper contends that the difference between critical reasoners and rhetoricians is not so substantial as it may look. It boils down to a question of emphasis, not substance, in our practice of practical discourse. Drawing on Toulmin’s idea of ‘modernity,’ ‘reasonableness,’ and ‘warrant-establishing,’ the paper call argument and rhetorical scholars’ attention to the assumptions that Toulmin’s project shares with critical rhetoric and argues for their ‘solidarity,’ a much needed intellectual project of Reason when the ‘reasonable’ is to be given equal weight to the ‘rational.’