The Toulmin Method

Anticipated Objections and Rebuttal

When we analyze an argument using the Toulmin method, we look for potential objections to the argument's reasons, objections which the writer expects his or her opponents to make. Usually, these are included in arguments as opportunities for the writer to present her or his own reasons as refutations/rebuttals.

Example of an Anticipated Objection

If one reason in an argument is:

On the university level, argument is valued by professors of various disciplines who say that they would like for their students to be able to take a strong position and support it with ample reasons and evidence,

the writer might hold up the following objection:

Many students argue that fields like Engineering and Math have no use for argumentation skills.

Once a writer identifies counter-arguments opponents might make, it would be self-defeating to announce those counter-arguments and not argue against them. Therefore, after stating the objections of opponents, most writers will refute or rebut the objections. Good rebuttal usually requires evidence, so don't forget to look for support for the rebuttal position in that part of an argument. Like all evidence, rebuttal evidence should be sufficient, accurate, and credible.

Example of a Rebuttal

To the anticipated objection:

Many students argue that fields like Engineering and Math have no use for argumentation skills,

a writer might offer the following rebuttal evidence,

However, a recent study appearing in journal, Language and Learning Across the Disciplines indicates that...(fill in the blank)

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Introduction