Author Information

Jonathan Adler, CUNYFollow

Location

Brock University

Document Type

Paper

Start Date

15-5-1997 9:00 AM

End Date

17-5-1997 5:00 PM

Abstract

Arguments from ignorance should be schematized: It has not been proven false that p. So it is possible that p. So, it is reasonable to believe p. Also, in opposition to standard views they should be distinguished from burden of proof and absence of evidence arguments. Much of the persuasiveness of such arguments can be located in the slippery uses of "possible." Besides equivocations on "possible" the argument is a fallacy for two reasons. First, the possibility implied by the first premise does not yield the serious possibility that is needed for establishing the conclusion. Second, ignorance is never sufficient reason for belief, only adequate evidence.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Dale Jacquette, Commentary on Adler

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Dale Jacquette, Commentary on Adler (May 1997)

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May 15th, 9:00 AM May 17th, 5:00 PM

Arguing from Ignorance

Brock University

Arguments from ignorance should be schematized: It has not been proven false that p. So it is possible that p. So, it is reasonable to believe p. Also, in opposition to standard views they should be distinguished from burden of proof and absence of evidence arguments. Much of the persuasiveness of such arguments can be located in the slippery uses of "possible." Besides equivocations on "possible" the argument is a fallacy for two reasons. First, the possibility implied by the first premise does not yield the serious possibility that is needed for establishing the conclusion. Second, ignorance is never sufficient reason for belief, only adequate evidence.