A Pragmatic View of the Burden of Proof

  • Frans H. Van Eemeren
  • Peter Houtlosser
Part of the Argumentation Library book series (ARGA, volume 8)


In an earlier paper, entitled’ strategic maneuvering with the burden of proof,’ we have explained our dialectical perspective on the division of the burden of proof in a critical discussion (van Eemeren and Houtlosser, 2002). We did so by answering a series of interrelated questions from a procedural view of critical reasonableness: Why is there a burden of proof? A burden of proof for what? For whom? What exactly does the burden of proof involve? When is it activated? What means can be used to acquit oneself of the burden of proof? And when is one discharged? Because our responses were given in a critical rationalist vein, they are attuned to resolving a difference of opinion by critically testing the acceptability of a standpoint in the most systematic, thorough, perspicuous, and economic way. In the present paper we aim to complement this approach by offering a pragmatic solution for an important problem that may arise in ‘mixed’ disputes, where opposite standpoints are put forward regarding the same issue. The problem concerns the order in which the opposing standpoints are to be defended.


Critical Discussion Interactional Situation Argumentative Discourse Strategic Maneuvering Pragmatic View 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frans H. Van Eemeren
  • Peter Houtlosser

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