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measles and we must also look at another more probable diagnosis of his or her
problem (conclusion, claim stemming from this diagnostic argumentation and
argument). N.B. The protective efficacy of the vaccine is not absolute!
''N.B. Pattern recognition plays an important role in this way of reasoning.
More generally speaking in medicine, and in simpler terms, what do we need?
We need some grounds for argumentation, be it spoken or written.
Clinical and paraclinical data and information particular to the case
serve this purpose.
We look at grounds in light of a warrant , that is, some kind of general
rule, accepted understanding and evidence. Plausibility is in focus.
Whatever we conclude on the basis of grounds and warrant is evaluated
in a confirmation, line or distinct pattern as seen through backing , that
is, research findings, graded evidence, past practical clinical experience,
“external evidence,” “what literature tells us.”
Putting all this together, we try to somehow quantify the certainty or
probability that our ensuing claims or conclusions of the argument are
correct in terms of a qualiier , often the hardest challenge of an argument.
Our conclusions or argument claim are then the result of synthesis of
the above argument building blocks.
Argument conclusions are valid provided only that there are existing
exclusionary circumstances or criteria that Toulmin termed rebuttals .
Besides qualifiers, rebuttals are often sorely missing (and they should
not be) in our conclusions or claim statements.
Therefore, errors occur and mistakes happen if considering the following:
Grounds are of poor quality, incomplete, or unrelated to the problem
under study.
Our understanding of the essence of the problem is not clear.
The backing is of poor quality, incomplete, or unrelated again.
We are unsure of our certainty regarding our conclusions and claims.
We act as if exceptions would not apply to what we conclude about the
There is no meaningful link between each of the argument building blocks.
Let us consider again the sore throat/antibiotics example to illustrate
Toulmin's way of argumentation: “I will prescribe you antibiotics for your
bacterial throat infection (claim, conclusion of an argument) because looking
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