[hist-analytic] Toulmin, Hanson, and the Ethics of Disclosure

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Fri Dec 11 09:17:06 EST 2009

Thanks for bringing us the bad news, JL. 

I met Toulmin a couple of times and spent what I considered 

a great deal of time on one occasion discussing philosophy 

and a number of other issues several years ago. He was, as 

you may know, a subscriber to Hist-Analytic, and there are 

remarks by him on remarks made by me on Wittgenstein 

(as well as some insights by Dick Schmitt out of U. of Chicago). 

At one point in our discussion, Toulmin confided in me certain 

facts about his work in philosophy of science; in particular in 

regard to Norwood Russell Hanson. Both philosophers had 

a great deal to do with how history of science and philosophy 

of science relate. 

Being a small time journalist, in "another world," I asked if his 

comments were for the record. He said only on condition that 

Hanson's wife was no longer alive. I made numerous inquiries 

and postings and could never make this determination with 

any certainty. Given the lapse of time, I believe she is no longer 

alive. Moreover, the death of Toulmin, himself, alters the moral 

equation, somewhat. So I'm tinkering with the idea of repeating 

what he said in connection with Hanson. If there are other 

sources on this, I'd like to know. I DO know that Toulmin was 

working on memoirs. If anyone knows anything about the status 

of this work, please let me know. 

I commented at a meeting on Toulmin's philosophy of science, 

years ago. He was prepared and wrote up a rather detailed 

set of notes on my comments and read them in reply to my 

commentary. Some of this stuff was historically significant but 

I never saw the copy and I forgot some of his points of clarification. 

This had to do with Foresight and Understanding, I believe. 

If anyone knows of archives that would be helpful. 

I'll consider going public on the Hanson thing. In the meantime. 


Steve Bayne 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Jlsperanza at aol.com 
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk 
Sent: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 9:01:25 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: Toulmin and the Play Group 

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. 

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