[hist-analytic] Toulmin and the Play Group

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Dec 9 21:01:25 EST 2009

Sad news about the death of Toulmin, I know a favourite with S.  Bayne.
Anyway, this short notice to share the obit with the list, and share a  
tidbit of my research. The man, Toulmin, lectured on philosophy of science at  
Oxford from 1949 to 1954, pretty much the early heyday of Ordinary Language  
Philosophy --. His "Uses of Inferences" came out in 1958 -- when he had 
left  Oxford already but, via an online checklist of his publications I found 
that  Urmson reviewed it for _Nature_  for that year, and in another site  
featuring an online interview with Toulmin he makes the rather good sarcastic  
Q. The Uses of Argument has received an enormous amount of  attention. Are 
you surprised by the overwhelming critical reception of that book  and of 
the so-called "Toulmin method" of argumentation? 
A. It was not initially overwhelming, particularly in England. I published 
it  in England, and P. F. (later Sir Peter, and collaborator with Grice --  
JLS) Strawson wrote a dismissive review in The Listener, the BBC's  
intellectual weekly; that was the end of the matter so far as my colleagues in  
England were concerned.  
--- Oddy, my personal concern with Toulmin's book was ideographical. He has 
a  BEAUTIFUL drawing of a cat being on a mat ('the cat sat on the mat') in 
that  book, and I have used that illustrations in lectures I've given. I 
especially  treasure one at the University of Buenos Aires -- as an assistant 
to Rabossi --.  I thought that the drawing being straight from Toulmin gave 
my lecture a lot of  respectability.  
-- the header to note that while Strawson and Urmson did belong to Austin's 
 playgroup -- of the heyday of Oxford ordinary language philosophy, that 
met  Saturday mornings -- vide Grice, "Reply to Richards" in Grandy/Warner, 
and  Warnock, "Saturday mornings" in Berlin et al, Essays on Austin -- Toulmin 
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