Philosophic burden of proof
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The philosophical burden of proof or onus (probandi) is the obligation on a party in an epistemic dispute to provide sufficient warrant for their position.
Holder of the burden
When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. "If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed". This burden does not necessarily require a mathematical or strictly logical proof, although many strong arguments do rise to this level (such as in logical syllogisms). Rather, the evidential standard required for a given claim is determined by convention or community standards, with regard to the context of the claim in question.
In public discourse
Burden of proof is also an important concept in the public arena of ideas. Assuming both sides have agreed to reasoned discourse, the burden of proof can serve as an effective tool to ensure that all relevant arguments from both sides of an issue are introduced. After common assumptions are established the mechanism of burden of proof takes over to keep those engaged in discourse focused on providing evidential warrant and cogent arguments for their positions.
Proving a negative
When the assertion to prove is a negative claim, the burden takes the form of a negative proof, proof of impossibility, or mere evidence of absence. If this negative assertion is in response to a claim made by another party in a debate, asserting the falsehood of the positive claim shifts the burden of proof from the party making the first claim to the one asserting its falsehood, as the agnostic position that "I don't believe that X is true" is different to the explicit denial "I believe that X is false".
- Legal burden of proof
- Scientific consensus
- Scientific method
- Statistical hypothesis testing
- Russell's teapot
- Michalos, Alex (1969). Principles of Logic. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall. p. 370. "usually one who makes an assertion must assume the responsibility of defending it. If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed."
- Leite, Adam (2005). "A Localist Solution to the Regress of Justification". Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (3): 395–421 [p. 418]. doi:10.1080/00048400500191974. "[t]he point of articulating reasons in defense of one’s belief is to establish that one is justified in believing as one does."
- Leite, Adam (2005). "A Localist Solution to the Regress of Justification". Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (3): 395–421 [p. 403]. doi:10.1080/00048400500191974. "justificatory conversation...[is]...characterized by a person’s sincere attempt to vindicate his or her entitlement to a belief by providing adequate reasons in its defense and responding to objections."
- Goldman, Alvin (1994). "Argumentation and Social Epistemology". Journal of Philosophy 91 (1): 27–49. JSTOR 2940949.
- Eemeren, Frans van; Grootendorst, Rob (2004). A Systematic Theory of Argumentation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 60. ISBN 0521830753. "[t]here is no point in venturing to resolve a difference of opinion through an argumentative exchange of views if there is no mutual commitment to a common starting point."
- Brandom, Robert (1994). Making it Explicit. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. p. 222. ISBN 067454319X. "[t]here are sentence types that would require a great deal of work for one to get into a position to challenge, such as 'Red is a color,' 'There have been black dogs,' 'Lighting frequently precedes thunder,' and similar commonplaces. These are treated as 'free moves' by members of our speech community—they are available to just about anyone any time to use as premises, to assert unchallenged."
- Adler, Jonathan (2002). Belief’s Own Ethics. Cambridge: MIT Press. pp. 164–167. ISBN 0262011921.
- T. Edward Dame (2009). Attacking Faulty Reasoning: A Practical Guide to Fallacy-Free Arguments. Cengage Learning. p. 17. ISBN 0495095060, 9780495095064 Check