By Stephen Toulmin, Richard Rieke, Allan Janik

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In this way, the trial was focused on the more specific question of Hinckley's state of mind in acting as he did when he did, and the relevance that state of mind had to his criminal responsibility for what he did. Notice how this preliminary procedure, of agreeing about what is not in dispute, makes it possible for us to bring into sharp focus exactly what is in dis­ pute. By this means, we establish the nature of the common ground on which we are both prepared to stand, and which we both accept as a shared starting point.

SOME TYPICAL WARRANTS Let us look at the ways in which warrants function in various different fields of argument. We looked already at one colloquial use of such warrants in the context of everyday conversation. "It's my turn" (A)-"The one whose turn it is should choose" ( W)-"So I should choose" ( C). A warrant of this kind gives us, of course, only a rough and ready rule or proce­ dure; and we may expect to find much stronger rules and connections in other kinds of cases. We looked at the difference between fully reliable, universal war­ rants and approximate, rough-and-ready generalizations, and that might lead us to consider at this point the force of such qualifying phrases as very likely, in all probability, and presumably.

Warrants as general procedures How we can argue safely, then, depends on the general ideas we have already mastered in the field of discussion concerned. We approach all situations with prior conceptions about the kind of matter at hand: about how we can argue, think about, interpret, and/or deal with such things. The general ways of thinking and acting that we carry with us to new situations thus commit us to accepting certain warrants as defining the established ways of arguing in such areas.

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