Basic Tools and Concepts

Challenging Arguments

The following five questions, developed by logician Stephen Toulmin, are useful when critically examining your or your opponent’s arguments:

  1. Are grounds really advanced in support of the claim?
  2. Are the grounds advanced in support of the claim directly relevant to the substance of the claim?
  3. Do the grounds advanced present enough evidence to justify the assertion in question or do you need more?
  4. Are the presumptions upon which the argument rests justifiable?
  5. Are there any ambiguous elements in the argument?