, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 291–316 | Cite as

Metadialogues for Resolving Burden of Proof Disputes

  • Douglas N. Walton


In this paper, a solution to the problem of analyzing burden of proof in argumentation is developed by building on the pioneering work of Erik C. W. Krabbe on metadialogues. Three classic cases of burden of proof disputes are analyzed, showing how metadialogue theory can solve the problems they pose. The solution is based on five dialectical requirements: (1) global burden of proof needs to be set at the confrontation stage of a dialogue, (2) there need to be special mechanisms for resolving disputes about burden of proof at all four stages of the dialogue, (3) they are especially significant during the argumentation stage, where burden of proof often shifts back and forth at each move, (4) such local shifts need to be partly regulated by the global burden of proof already set, and (5) the connection between burden of proof and the speech act of making a presumption in a dialogue needs to be clarified.


burden of persuasion deadlocked dispute dialectical shifts evidence and proof hierarchical metalanguages legal argumentation metalogic of arguments presumption speech acts 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of WinnipegWinnipegCanada

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