Location

McMaster University

Document Type

Paper

Start Date

1-6-2005 9:00 AM

End Date

1-6-2005 5:00 PM

Abstract

Stephen Toulmin’s use of a judicial model for argumentation in The Uses of Argument means that he is introducing the complexity of rhetorical appeals to the hitherto logic-based study of argumentation, including the appeal to the emotions, pathos. Toulmin’s acknowledgment of the role of the emotions in practical reasoning moves from being implicit in The Uses of Argument to becoming more explicit in Toulmin’s Return to Reason: ‘Warm hearts allied with cool heads seek a middle way between the extremes of abstract theory and personal impulse’ (2001, p. 214). This paper analyzes the hidden role of pathos in Toulmin’s distinction between rationality and reasonableness, particularly as it appears in Cosmopolis and his later works. To Toulmin’s characterization of the oral, particular, local, and timely nature of reasonableness, I add Peter Goldie’s notions of intelligibility, appropriateness, and proportionality of emotions to describe what role emotions play in reasonable argumentation. Using as a case study the victim impact testimony in Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bombing trial, I argue that in certain situations and fields of argumentation, pathos—or data with a high emotional content—is warranted in a reasonable argument, and that it would be unreasonable to exclude such data.

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

The Hidden Role of Pathos in Toulmin’s Layout of Argument

McMaster University

Stephen Toulmin’s use of a judicial model for argumentation in The Uses of Argument means that he is introducing the complexity of rhetorical appeals to the hitherto logic-based study of argumentation, including the appeal to the emotions, pathos. Toulmin’s acknowledgment of the role of the emotions in practical reasoning moves from being implicit in The Uses of Argument to becoming more explicit in Toulmin’s Return to Reason: ‘Warm hearts allied with cool heads seek a middle way between the extremes of abstract theory and personal impulse’ (2001, p. 214). This paper analyzes the hidden role of pathos in Toulmin’s distinction between rationality and reasonableness, particularly as it appears in Cosmopolis and his later works. To Toulmin’s characterization of the oral, particular, local, and timely nature of reasonableness, I add Peter Goldie’s notions of intelligibility, appropriateness, and proportionality of emotions to describe what role emotions play in reasonable argumentation. Using as a case study the victim impact testimony in Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bombing trial, I argue that in certain situations and fields of argumentation, pathos—or data with a high emotional content—is warranted in a reasonable argument, and that it would be unreasonable to exclude such data.