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STEPHEN TOULMIN

Joshua Capps, RN, BSN, PhD Student

Science and philosophy meet at


innumerable points, and are related in
countless ways. The philosophy of science
has, accordingly, been taken to cover a wide
variety of things, ranging from a branch of
symbolic logic to the propagation of
secularist gospels.
(Toulmin, 1960, p. VII)

STEPHEN TOULMIN

Born March 25, 1922 in London


B.A. from Kings College in Math and Physics
1948--PhD in Ethics from Cambridge University

Studied under Ludwig Wittgenstein

Served as faculty at Columbia, Dartmouth, Michigan


State, Northwestern, Stanford, and U of Chicago
1987-2009Professor Emeritus at USC
(Johnson, 2008)

MAJOR PUBLICATIONS

The Philosophy of Science: An Introduction (1953)


The Uses of Argument (1958)
Foresight and Understanding: An Enquiry into the Aims of Science
(1961)
Human Understanding (1972)
An Introduction to Reasoning (1979)
The Return to Cosmology: Postmodern Science and the Theology
of Nature (1982)
The Abuse of Casuistry: A History of Moral Reasoning (1988)
Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity (1990)
Return to Reason (2001)
(Encyclopedia Britannica, 2015)

TOULMIN MODEL

(Alda & Doanay, 2006)

TOULMIN MODEL OF ARGUMENTATION

Data

Claim

Statements that limit the strength of the argument that propose the conditions
under which the argument is true

Rebuttal

The general, hypothetical logical statements that serve as bridges between the
claim and the data

Qualifier

The statement being argued (thesis)

Warrant

The facts or evidence used to prove the argument

Counter-arguments or statements indicating circumstance when the general


argument does not hold true

Backing

Statements that serve to support the warrants

(Wheeler, n.d.)

TOULMIN MODEL

Arguments made using this model reveal both


strengths and limitations of the argument
Goal is not to win or defeat counter-arguments,
rather it is to reach the most realistic or feasible
solution
Arguments should be expressed with qualifiers
and rebuttals; not asserted as absolutes

LETS ARGUE

Nursing is a professional discipline (claim) that encompasses


a gamut of unique knowledge and skills acquired via intensive
academic preparation, practice standards, ethical codes, and
self-regulation (data). As these characteristics are universally
acknowledged traits of a profession (warrant), it is logical to
consider nursing a profession (claim). Although some consider
nursings scope and education to fall within the medical
profession (counterclaim), the unique nature of our work
makes it nearly impossible to accurately describe the true
essence of our profession (rebuttal).
(American Nurses Association, 2010; Robinson, 2013)

CHANGE OF PACE

After his seminal work on argumentation, Toulmin


became director of Nuffield Foundations Unit for the
History of Ideas in London in 1960
Toulmin moved to the United States in 1965 to assume
various faculty positions across the country.
In the 1970s, his career would significantly change, as
he entered into the world of bioethics
(Grimes, 2009)

BIOETHICS

July 12, 1974National Research Act created the National


Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of
Biomedical and Behavioral Research
Commission was tasked with identifying basic ethical
principles that should underlie the conduct of biomedical
and behavioral research involving human subjects
(Belmont Report, 1979)

BIOETHICS

Toulmin selected as Staff Philosopher to National


Commission for Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical
and Behavioral Research in 1974
Toulmin was consulted to lead commission through
conceptual paths of ethical reasoning as it confronted
unprecedented cases
(Jonsen, 2010)

COMMISSION

1979The Belmont Report

Respect for persons

Beneficence

Justice

Informed consent

Risk/Benefit

Subject selection

(Belmont Report, 1979)

JONSEN AND TOULMIN

Albert Jonsen

PhD in Religious Studies

Emeritus Professor of Ethics in MedicineUniversity of


Washington

Selected as member of national commission, alongside ten


other physicians, psychologists, and scholars

Jonsen and Toulmin co-authored The Abuse of


Casuistry: A History of Moral Reasoning in 1988
(University of Washington, 2015)

CASUISTRY
The devil lies in the details (Toulmin, 1997)

kazh-w-str; a resolving of specific cases of conscience,


duty, or conduct through interpretation of ethical principles or
religious doctrine (Merriam-Webster, n.d.)
A case-based approach to reasoning in ethics; A form of
practical argument that explores the relationship between
moral paradigms and problematic instances (Cavalier, 2002)
Moral belief and knowledge evolve incrementally through
reflection on cases, without essential recourse to a top-down
theory (Beauchamp & Childress, 1994)

HISTORY OF CASUISTRY

Cicero-De Officiis (44 BC)

When considering conflicts of duty, one should consider what is


needed in each individual case, and different circumstances should be
carefully scrutinized in every instance

Medieval Casuistry

Employed by Church in 6th Century to guide in casus conscientia, or


cases of conscience

Study and discussion of difficult cases that would cause a perplexed


conscience
(Cavalier, 2002)

ANTI-THEORY IN BIOETHICS

Casuistry is grounded in the anti-theoretical movement


within bioethics
Historically, ethical decision-making in medicine was done
with a top-down approach
Jonsen and Toulmin (1988) sought to separate from the
theoretical-level, and analyze at the case-level (bottom-up
approach)
(Arras, 2010)

CASUISTIC REASONING

Greatest confidence in moral judgments obtained at the


individual level
Moral certitude (MC) obtained from comparing particulars
of cases to paradigm cases

MC-a very firm belief based on an inner conviction (Murray, 2010)

Paradigm Cases

Pure Cases

Those cases in which a given principles applies most clearly,


straightforwardly, and purely (Jonsen, 1995)

Tuskegee Experiment, Terri Schiavo

(Arras, 2010)

CASUISTIC REASONING

Begins with taking a moral inventory of case


particulars

Who, what, when, where, why, how?

Particulars are compared alongside details of a


paradigm
As individual case deviates further from paradigm
case, moral certitude diminishes
Moral principles are not necessary
(Arras, 2010)

MORAL PARTICULARISM

Jonathan Dancy supported complete rejection of


principles as a decision-making heuristic
Not a matter of right-or-wrong
Moral justification is based on all individual elements
of a case considered in a holistic manner
(Arras, 2010)

ADVANTAGES OF CASUISTRY

Offers better chance of reaching consensus among


people of differing religious and theoretical ideologies

Does not require practitioner agreement at theoretical level

Toulmin noted that members of commission frequently


reached agreement on controversial issues, although
their theoretical and religious backgrounds greatly
differed
(Arras, 2010)

CRITICISMS OF CASUISTRY

Seen as a form of excuse-making by Blaise Pascal

Moral laxity

(Cavalier, 2002)

As individual cases have less similarities with paradigm cases,


MC is drastically weakened

Some situations may have particulars residing within multiple


paradigms

Cannot be used in absence of some guiding principles and


moral generalizations
(Strong, 1988; Arras, 2010)

Lack of clear methodological resources to prevent biased


development of cases. No framework of norms
(Cavalier, 2002)

THOUGHTS

How have we adopted casuistic thinking in health care?


Are there any limitations to casuistrys process of
obtaining moral certitude?
Are there some moral principles which are invariable?
Cannibalism
Torture
Sexual violence

THE BELMONT REPORT 25 YEARS


LATER

http://videocast.nih.gov/launch.asp?17357
2004 interview with Stephen Toulmin by U.S. Dept of
Health and Human Services Office for Human
Research Protections

INWARD VS OUTWARD-LOOKING
APPROACHES

Inward

Philosophical or theoretical in
origin

Addresses the standards used in


making judgments about
knowledge

Nursing-Researchers,
Theoreticians, and Administrators

Outward

Application of judgments about


knowledge claims

Goal is mastering problems


presented by the world

Nursing-Mastery of practice and


science; Clinical Practitioners

(Rodgers, 2005)

DISCIPLINE

Three Main Elements:

Current explanatory goals of the science


Current repertory of concepts and procedures
Accumulated experience of the scientists working
in the particular discipline

(Rodgers, 2005)

PROFESSION

An organized set of institutions, roles, and


people whose business it is to apply or
improve the procedures and techniques of
the discipline
(Rodgers, 2005)

DISCIPLINES AND PROFESSIONS

Inseparable
Change within a discipline is facilitated by professional use of
knowledge
Social and contextual aspect of knowledge within a discipline
(Rodgers, 2005)

TYPES OF DISCIPLINES

Disciplines evolve along a continuum of organization and clarity


Compact

Organized with clearly stated goals and established professional forums

Repertory of concepts, methods, tools, and innovations is exposed to


critical appraisal based on consensual criteria

Diffuse

Plurality of methodological criteria and disciplinary goals; less


cohesive than compact discipline

Would-Be

Least cohesive; characterized by underdeveloped institutional


mechanisms and poorly defined methodological criteria
(Goldstein & Carmin, 2006; Rodgers, 2005)

SCIENTIFIC PROBLEMS

Scientific problems=Explanatory Ideals-Current Capacities

Placed problem-solving at focal point of scientific inquiry


Problems serves as stimulus for change with a goal of science
being to solve problems, thereby, increasing movement toward
accomplishing the intellectual ideals of the discipline
(Rodgers, 2005)

CONCEPTS

Central aspect of disciplinary foundation


All scientific work is a process of concept development
Concepts provide historical continuity which form a
transmit from one generation of scientists to another
through process of enculturation.
(Rodgers, 2005)

TYPES OF CONCEPTUAL PROBLEMS

Phenomena scientists want to explain but lack


procedures
Phenomena only partially understood
Conflict among concepts within a single discipline
Conflict among concepts in different disciplines
Conflict among concepts and societal attitudes
(Rodgers, 2005)

STRATEGIC CONSENSUS

Agreed upon views for conceptual changes,


consensus determines what changes fulfill
intellectual goals of the science
Conceptual changes are considered rational when
they meet the demands of the discipline

Historicist view of contextual importance

(Rodgers, 2005)

REFERENCES

Albert R Jonsen. (2015). Retrieved from https://depts.washington.edu/bhdept/facres/aj_bio.html


Alda, H., & Doanay, A. (2006). ISSA Proceedings 2006-The effects of textual and graphical -textual argumentation software as cognitive tools
on the development of argumentation skills. Rozenberg Quarterly. Retrieved from http://rozenbergquarterly.com/
American Nurses Association. (2010). Nursing : Scope and standards of practice (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, Md.: American Nurses Association.
Arras, J. (2010). Theory and bioethics. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/theory-bioethics/
The Belmont Report: Ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research. (1978). Washington, D.C.: Dept. of
Health, Education, and Welfare, National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research
Cavalier, R. (2002) Part 2. Section 8: Case theory, practice, casuistry. Online Guide to Ethics and Moral Philosophy. Retrieved from
www.caae.phil.cmu.edu/Cavalier/80130/
Goldstein, H., Carmin, J. (2006). Compact, diffuse, or would-be discipline? Assessing cohesion in planning scholarship. Journal of Planning
Education and Research, 26(1), 66-79. doi: 10.1177/073945605282353
Grimes, W. (2009, December 12). Stephen Toulmin, philosopher and educator, dies at 87. New York Times, p. A17.
Johnson, P. (2009, December 8). In memoriam: Stephen E. Toulmin. Retrieved from
https://dornsife.usc.edu/news/stories/651/in-memoriam-stephen-e-toulmin-87/
Jonsen, A. (1995). Casuistry: An alternative or complement to principles?. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 5. 237-251.
Jonsen, A. (2010). Field Notes. Hastings Center Report, 40(2), C3-C3. doi: 10.1353/hcr.0.0240
Robinson, S. (2013). The unique work of nursing. Nursing, 43(3), 42-43. doi: 10.1097/01.NURSE.0000426623.60917.a9
Rodgers, B. (2005). Developing Nursing Knowledge: Philosophical traditions and influences. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Stephen Edelston Toulmin.(2015). InEncyclopdia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Stephen-Edelston-Toulmin
Strong, C. (1988). Justification in ethics. In: B.A. Brody (Eds.), Moral Theory and Moral Judgments in Medical Ethics. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 193-211.
Toulmin, S. (1960).The philosophy of science: An introduction. New York: Harper & Row
Toulmin, S. (1997, March 24). A Dissenter's Life. Lecture presented at Thomas Jefferson Lectures, Washington, D.C.
Wheeler, L.K. (n.d.). Toulmin Model of Argument. Retrieved from https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Toulmin.pdf