In philosophy, a burden of proof refers to one’s epistemic duty to provide reasons in support his assertion/claim/position. While listening to a debate recently, I noticed that one of the participants spoke of a “burden of justification” rather than “burden of proof.” I thought this terminological shift was helpful since when most people hear the word “proof” they think “certainty.” Clearly, no one has the burden to demonstrate their position with apodictic certainty. “Justification,” on the other hand, makes it clear that one only has a burden to back up their claims with good reasons. I am going to be intentional about adopting this terminology in the future.
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