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On the Burden of Proof

  • James Cargile (a1)

The phrase ‘burden of proof’ or ‘onus probandi’ originally referred to something determined by a judge in a legal proceeding. Some claims would be accepted as true by the court, and other relevant claims would require proving. The burden of doing this proving could be assigned to one or another party by the judge. Success or failure to meet this burden could be determined by the judge or the jury, as could consequences of success or failure.

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1 Simon, BlackburnThe Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford, 1994), 51.

2 Why Not Skepticism?The Philosophical Forum, 2.3 (1971) pp. 283298.Reprinted in Essays on Knowledge and Justification, Pappas, George S. and Marshall, Swain (eds), (Cornell, 1978), pp. 346363. References are to the latter, p. 358.

3 Dan, Turner ‘Why Scepticism?’ op. cit., pp. 364-369; p. 368.

4 I have discussed this form in ‘On Believing You Believe’ Analysis 1967, pp.177-183.

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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