i have recently studied about Toulmin’s model of argumentation. But i cannot do some problems of finding what are grounds, warrant, claim, qualifiers, rebuttals. If anyone can assist me for following sample paragraph taken from Ludger Jansen:

The “ Ship of Theseus ”is an intriguing puzzle about identity through time. It is based on the custom of the Athenians to send Theseus ’ship each year on a sacred voyage to Delos, because it was believed that Apollo once saved the lives of Theseus and his fourteen fellow - travellers. The ritual was annually repeated for a long time, and hence the ship needed continual repair, new planks being substituted for the old ones. Plutarch relates to us that already the Athenian philosophers had discussed whether the ship is still the same ship although it consists, after a while, entirely of new planks. Hobbes put a sophisticated twist to the story: Suppose, he said, that someone collected the old planks and put them together again in the end, thus restoring the old ship. The same ship, then, seems to exist twice, which is absurd. Hobbes used this argument to support his version of relative identity: the original ship T1 and the restored ship T2 share the same matter, whereas the original ship and the repaired ship T3 share the same form.

[I]f, for example, that ship of Theseus, concerning the difference whereof made by continual reparation in taking out the old planks and putting in new, the sophisters of Athens were wont to dispute, were, after all the planks were changed, the same numerical ship it was at the beginning; and if some man had kept the old planks as they were taken out, and by putting them afterwards together in the same order, had again made a ship of them, this, without doubt, had also been the same numerical ship with that which was at the beginning; and so there would have been two ships numerically the same, which is absurd (Thomas Hobbes De Corpore, 1655)


1 Answer 1


Hint: see Stephen Toulmin's Model of Argument.

Claim: A conclusion whose merit must be established.

Ground (or Data): A fact one appeals to as a foundation for the claim.

If you want to apply the model to a "paradox" (like The Ship of Theseus Puzzle), the first thing is to identify the hidden claim.

I suggest this:

The material constituents of a physical object are not the source of the identity of the object.

The argument starts with the Assumption that "The material constituents are the source of identity".

Then supplies Data:

"the (real) persistence of the object through physical changes (removal and replace of parts);"

"the (imaginary) prossibility of re-building another copy of the original objects with the removed parts."

Then we have a purported Conclusion of the argument: "if the above experiment is performed, we would have two ships numerically the same, which is absurd."

Having reached a contradiction, we conclude (by Reductio) with the negation of the Assumption, that amounts to a "poof" of the original Claim.

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