On the strength of presumptions

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Traditionally, a presumption is a dialogically privileged, yet defeasible proposition that allocates the burden of proof to a party who challenges it. This paper investigates the strength of presumptions. First, it explains how ‘strength’ contributes to defining the concept of presumption. Second, it provides an overview of (contextual, justificatory, and deontic) factors determining a presumption’s strength. Finally, it analyses the predominant view that defines strength in terms of the Challenger’s burden of proof: the stronger (weaker) the presumption p, the more (less) difficult it is to prove non-p. I argue that the latter proposal applies only to practical presumptions, and that strength is conceived differently for cognitive presumptions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-110
Number of pages19
JournalPragmatics And Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022


  • Burden of proof
  • Cognitive presumption
  • Context
  • Plausibility
  • Practical presumption
  • Rebuttal


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