ABOUT THIS BOOK
An anthology of the most important historical sources, classical and modern, on the subjects of presumptions and burdens of proof
In the last fifty years, the study of argumentation has become one of the most exciting intellectual crossroads in the modern academy. Two of the most central concepts of argumentation theory are presumptions and burdens of proof. Their functions have been explicitly recognized in legal theory since the middle ages, but their pervasive presence in all forms of argumentation and in inquiries beyond the law—including politics, science, religion, philosophy, and interpersonal communication—have been the object of study since the nineteenth century.
However, the documents and essays central to any discussion of presumptions and burdens of proof as devices of argumentation are scattered across a variety of remote sources in rhetoric, law, and philosophy. Presumptions and Burdens of Proof: An Anthology of Argumentation and the Law brings together for the first time key texts relating to the history of the theory of presumptions along with contemporary studies that identify and give insight into the issues facing students and scholars today.
The collection’s first half contains historical sources and begins with excerpts from Aristotle’s Topics and goes on to include the locus classicus chapter from Bishop Whately’s crucial Elements of Rhetoric as well as later reactions to Whately’s views. The second half of the collection contains contemporary essays by contributors from the fields of law, philosophy, rhetoric, and argumentation and communication theory. These essays explore contemporary understandings of presumptions and burdens of proof and their role in numerous contexts today. This anthology is the definitive resource on the subject of these crucial rhetorical modes and will be a vital resource to all scholars of communication and rhetoric, as well as legal scholars and practicing jurists.