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Prima Facie and appealing to ignorance

Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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5/20/2013 11:47:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Prima Facie cases are valid, so why do people always try to rebut them by accusing the person of appealing to ignorance? "Just because it appears that way on its face does not mean it most plausibly is; this is an appeal to ignorance". I hate that...

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck....
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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5/20/2013 12:18:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
wikipedia says, "It is used in modern legal English to signify that on first examination, a matter appears to be self-evident from the facts. In common law jurisdictions, prima facie denotes evidence that " unless rebutted " would be sufficient to prove a particular proposition or fact. The term is used similarly in academic philosophy. Most legal proceedings require a prima facie case to exist, following which proceedings may then commence to test it, and create a ruling." http://en.wikipedia.org...

In a debate, I think that amounts to a basic claim of facts that lead to a conclusion supporting the resolution. So, a prima facie case for "Obamacare raises health care costs" is to cite the rise in insurance rates since the law went into effect. That argument might be overcome by a rebuttal that attempts to prove that costs would have been even higher without Obamacare. Saying, "Everything I read tells me costs will go up." is not a prima facie case because there is no claim at leads to the conclusion. We don't know what the debater reads and whether it is valid.

Another way to fail to make a prima facie case is talk about something irrelevant to the resolution. Other ways is to fail to make a case that is self-contradictory, denies logic, or supports the opposing viewpoint.

It's not always obvious what's prima facie. "Ice cream causes murder rates to rise." is supported by data that shows murder rates to correlate well with ice cream sales. Is that prima facie? Murder rates and ice cream sales both rise with hot weather. I'd say the raw correlation is not prima facie, because the claim is extraordinary and so more convincing proof is required. A lawyer might argue that even though correlation does not prove causation, it is prima facie, and enough to merit further debate.

A debater who does not make a prima facie case loses even if his opponent fails to show up for the debate.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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5/20/2013 12:24:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Thank you, Roy. I was wondering whether the OP meant something to that effect, because that's how I was instructed when I did formal debate. My concern is that he seems to understand it as something being "obviously" true, particularly in the context of the objection that things are not always as they appear.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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5/20/2013 12:28:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Cody, I see your point about the OP. I read it as saying that a prima facie case stands until it is refuted, even if it turns out the refutation is easy.
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Posts: 6,071
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5/20/2013 12:42:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The Fool: It is Latin for "@ first Glance", it is also a concept used in Moral Philosophy, particularly by institutionalist and/deontologist.
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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5/20/2013 12:47:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The Fool:

E.g: It is generally used in reference to an obligation. "I have a prima facie obligation to keep my promise and meet my friend" means that I am under an obligation, but this may yield to a more pressing duty.
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Posts: 6,071
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5/20/2013 1:11:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/20/2013 12:51:12 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
My mistake for making my request unclear: I know what the phrase means--what I am after is the OP's particular usage of that phrase, given the context of the objection in which he articulates his frustration.

The Fool: The Rebut Would come in the form of my first Sig "Line".
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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5/20/2013 2:30:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I always thought prima facie meant the argument APPEARS to be valid at first glance.

For instance, "If all life comes from other life, life could not come from non-life" is prima facie valid until you start to think carefully about the statement.

In rhetorical terms, I've always considered "prima facie" to be more useful as a means of pointing to why an opponent's seemingly good argument is wrong as opposed to saying your own argument is prima facie correct.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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5/20/2013 3:47:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/20/2013 2:30:00 PM, Wnope wrote:
I always thought prima facie meant the argument APPEARS to be valid at first glance.

For instance, "If all life comes from other life, life could not come from non-life" is prima facie valid until you start to think carefully about the statement.

In rhetorical terms, I've always considered "prima facie" to be more useful as a means of pointing to why an opponent's seemingly good argument is wrong as opposed to saying your own argument is prima facie correct.

It's also important to note that any tautology is prima facie true, and true after first glance as well.

Prima facie is exactly that, what something comes across as at first glance. Most things that are prima facie true are indeed true. In law, the plaintiff's case must be prima facie true in order to avoid outright dismissal. That does not mean that plaintiffs win all their cases...far from it.

Most people on this website would not read a debate that was not prima facie true...they would consider it to be trolling.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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5/20/2013 7:41:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/20/2013 11:47:24 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Prima Facie cases are valid, so why do people always try to rebut them by accusing the person of appealing to ignorance? "Just because it appears that way on its face does not mean it most plausibly is; this is an appeal to ignorance". I hate that...

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck....

I don't recall ever coming across this particular response to a Prima Facie argument, does this happen to you a lot?

Sure, on the face of it, I suppose this could be happening to you, but I have to wonder if it is in fact, the reality of the situation.

I wonder if underneath it all, this initial perception of yours is actually an appeal to ignorance fallacy. :)
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
AlbinoBunny
Posts: 3,781
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5/20/2013 7:52:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/20/2013 11:47:24 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
Prima Facie cases are valid, so why do people always try to rebut them by accusing the person of appealing to ignorance? "Just because it appears that way on its face does not mean it most plausibly is; this is an appeal to ignorance". I hate that...

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck....

Appeal to intelligence.
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