Toulmin’s “Analytic Arguments”

Ben Hamby


Toulmin’s formulation of “analytic arguments” in his 1958 book, The Uses of Argument, is opaque. Commentators have not adequately explicated this formulation, though Toulmin called it a “key” and “crucial” concept for his model of argument macrostructure. Toulmin’s principle “tests” for determining analytic arguments are problematic. Neither the “tautology test” nor the “verification test” straightforwardly indicates whether an argument is analytic or not. As such, Toulmin’s notion of analytic arguments might not represent such a key feature of his model. Absent a clearer formulation of analytic arguments, readers of Toulmin should be hesitant to adopt this terminology.


Toulmin, uses of argument, analytic, synthetic, argument, quasi-syllogism, tautology, verification, Freeman

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ISSN: 0824-2577