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Burdens of Proposing: On the Burden of Proof in Deliberation Dialogues

Godden, David; Wells, Simon


David Godden


This paper considers the probative burdens of proposing action or policy options in deliberation dialogues. Do proposers bear a burden of proof? Building on pioneering work by Douglas Walton (2010), and following on a growing literature within computer science, the prevailing answer seems to be “No.” Instead, only recommenders—agents who put forward an option as the one to be taken—bear a burden of proof. Against this view, we contend that proposers have burdens of proof with respect to their proposals. Specifically, we argue that, while recommenders that Φ bear a burden of proof to show that □Φ (We should / ought to / must Φ), proposers that Φ have a burden of proof to show that ◇Φ (We may / can Φ). A burden of proposing may be defined as <P, Φi, ◇Φ>, which reads: Those who propose that we might Φ are obliged, if called upon, to show that Φ is possible in any of four ways which we call worldly, deontic, instrumental, and practical. So understood, burdens of proposing satisfy the standard formal definition of burden of proof.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 4, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 16, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Mar 21, 2022
Publicly Available Date Mar 22, 2022
Journal Informal Logic
Electronic ISSN 0824-2577
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Issue 1
Pages 291-342
Keywords argumentation, burden of proof, deliberation, deliberation dialogue, persuation dialogue, probative burdens
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Burdens Of Proposing: On The Burden Of Proof In Deliberation Dialogues (700 Kb)

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