Hitchens's razor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Hitchens's razor is an epistemological razor asserting that the burden of proof regarding the truthfulness of a claim lies with the one who makes the claim, and if this burden is not met, the claim is unfounded, and its opponents need not argue further in order to dismiss it.

Overview[edit]

The concept is named, echoing Occam's razor, for the journalist and writer Christopher Hitchens, who in a 2003 Slate article formulated it thus: "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".[1][2] The dictum also appears in God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, a book by Hitchens published in 2007.[3]

Hitchens's razor is actually an English translation of the Latin proverb quod grātīs asseritur, grātīs negātur ("What is freely asserted is freely dismissed"), which was commonly used in the 19th century.[4][5] It takes a stronger stance than the Sagan standard ("Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"), instead applying to even non-extraordinary claims.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hitchens, Christopher (20 October 2003). "Mommie Dearest". Slate. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  2. ^ McGrattan, Cillian (2016). The Politics of Trauma and Peace-Building: Lessons from Northern Ireland. Abingdon: Routledge. p. 2. ISBN 978-1138775183.
  3. ^ Hitchens, Christopher (2007). God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. New York, NY: Twelve Books. p. 150. ISBN 978-1843545743.
  4. ^ Reinhardt, Damion (25 July 2015). "The Long History of Hitchens' Razor". Skeptic Ink. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  5. ^ Jon R. Stone, The Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations (2005), p. 101.