Is Practical Reasoning Presumptive?

Christian Kock


Douglas Walton has done extensive and valuable work on the concepts of presumption and practical reasoning. However, Walton’s attempt to model practical reasoning as presumptive is misguided. The notions of “inference” and of the burden of proof shifting back and forth between proponent and respondent are misleading and lead to counterintuitive consequences. Because the issue in practical reasoning is a proposal, not a proposition, there are, in the standard case, several perfectly good reasons on both sides simultaneously, which implies that argument appraisal necessarily contains a subjective element—a fact argumentation theory needs to conceptualize.


practical reasoning, presumption, presumptive reasoning, Douglas Walton, inference, burden of proof, proposal, proposition, Euro debate, argument appraisal, objetivity, subjectivity, Robert Pinto, Trudy Govier, Carl Wellman, relativism

Full Text:



ISSN: 0824-2577