Monday, June 7, 2010

Moral Claims and the Burden of Proof

This is a video about why the burden of proof is always on someone making a moral claim that something is wrong to do.

1 comment:

  1. This person is perpetuating a common misconception about exactly what "burden of proof" is (i.e. the person making the "positive" claim or a claim, forgetting that any position can be couched as the "positive" one). The way he defines it begs the question by assuming all moral claims are extraordinary claims; some are, some aren't. He even seems to get that with his "moving your arm" example. Then he brings up what I would call a middle of the road example (eating non-human animals), but never mentions, say torturing children. It doesn't seem to people that torturing children is bad because it's not very egoistically instrumental. So not only does the nihilist have the BOP about that case, so does the egoist.

    For a discussion of the actual meaning of BOP (and how it relates to moral claims), see Roderick Long here, here and here.

    Burden of proof is about how extraordinary your claim is (and "seeming so" counts as evidence in a broad sense of placing the burden). Most people will respond by saying, "But most people think it seems there is a god and that's no proof for god." Well, right; it's not a proof. That's why it's called "burden" of proof and not "proof." Also, it's not clear to me that god is a great analogy for morality. It doesn't seem like god exists as much as it seems like torturing children is wrong in and of itself (not just instrumentally).


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