Presumptions, and How They Relate to Arguments from Ignorance

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    By explaining the argument from ignorance in terms of the presumption of innocence, many textbooks in argumentation theory suggest that some arguments from ignorance might share essential features with some types of presumptive reasoning. The stronger version of this view, suggesting that arguments from ignorance and presumptive reasoning are almost indistinguishable, is occasionally proposed by Douglas Walton. This paper explores the nature and limits of the stronger proposal and argues that initial presumptions and arguments from ignorance are not closely connected. There are three main reasons. First, the argument from ignorance, unlike typical presumptive reasoning, is a negative kind of inference. Second, the typical initial presumption is sensitive to a broader set of defeaters and thus assumes a higher (negative) standard of acceptability. Third, in dialectical terms, initial presumption and argument from ignorance bring different attacking rights and obligations. I conclude that Waltonian intuition is unsupported or, at best, is limited only to practical presumptions and practical arguments from ignorance.
    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)579–604
    Aantal pagina's25
    TijdschriftArgumentation
    Volume33
    Nummer van het tijdschrift4
    Vroegere onlinedatum11-sep-2019
    DOI's
    StatusPublished - 2019

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