[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  
comment:
 
 
 
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 
 didn't. 
jls
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