Possible Duplicate:
Does a negative claimant have a burden of proof?

I have always wondered if NOT doing something requires reason like doing something does. As an example, do you think the following Q/A is rational?

-Do you believe in God?
-It's believing in God that requires reason! Not believing does not need reason!

  • 2
    Your question is interesting but is a duplicate of another.
    – Mitch
    Jan 3 '12 at 19:07

Generally speaking, there is more of a burden to supply a reason for doing (or believing) something than not doing (or believing) something, but this is not always the case; for example, it is generally accepted that I would need a very good reason for not believing that the cup I see in front of me is actually there.


In any given context, we may or may not "need" justification for any particular belief or statement; this relates to the notion of burden of proof. While typically the burden of proof is on the person asserting a claim, it doesn't always have to be a positive assertion. I.E., it's not always merely when someone is asserting the existence of something new, but can also apply when someone is denying the existence of something other people take to be an obvious truth. On a basic level, it might be more appropriate to view the burden of proof as lying with the person who makes claims which are not self-evident, as opposed to merely "non-negating".

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.