In a Toulman analysis, the student identifies a claim, supported by reasons, which in turn are supported by evidence. Here's an example:
CLAIM: Harvard is not the best law school for my needs.In this case, the evidence is ethos-based: we take it on Bill's authority that Harvard is expensive. His authority constitutes the evidence that underpins the reason. Obviously we could look at other kinds of evidence - for instance, we could undertake our own comparison - but at some point ethos underpins evidence, since we can't investigate everything in the world, even if we had the expertise and inclination to do so.
REASON: Harvard is expensive.
EVIDENCE: Bill says that Harvard is expensive.
In reputation systems, of course, it's ethos all the way down. All evidence is explicitly grounded in ethos. So Farmer and Glass say that
All of these reputation statements—and many more besides—can be generalized as:
An implicit reputation statement, the authors continue, might look less like an argument although it still is:
And, for completeness, here's another. This is actually an action, and is an implicit reputation statement about the quality of Harvard.
It would be interesting to apply this approach in a rhetoric class, I think, especially since such arguments are increasingly influential. For that reason among others, the book holds a lot of promise, especially if the authors can deliver on this promise:
But this book will attempt to propose a system that accomplishes this very thing for the social web: for the multitude of applications, communities, sites and social games that might benefit from a reputation-enriched approach, we'll take you—the site designer, developer or architect—through a process for: defining the targets (or the best reputable entities) in your system; identifying likely sources of opinion; and codifying the various claims that those sources may make.Looking forward to seeing more of this.