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Abstract

In this brief essay, I shall argue that the answer to this question is ”No.” The notion that “dropped equals conceded” reflects a well-intentioned norm against intervention which is embodied in the tabula rasa metaphor of adjudication . However, accepted as and absolute rule, it favors quantity (i.e., speed) reduces debate to “ink on the flow” instead of arguments weighed in the mind, and distorts our understanding of what actually happens in debates. In it’s place, I propose a norm which proceeds from an alternative formulation of adjudication. It is only when an uncontested argument passes prima facie tests that it should be considered conceded. The new norm I propose extends McGee’s (1989) stance of “least intervention” into the terrain of prima facie intervention. To establish prima facie intervention, this essay proceeds in four sections. First, “silence is consent” is positioned as a well-intentioned but problematic norm. Second, this norm is connected to the tabula rasa metaphor of adjudication. Third, Brian McGee’s “least intervention” is considered as an improvement over tabula rasa. Fourth, prima facie intervention is suggested as new metaparadigm allowing for the overturning of the present unfortunate convention regarding dropped arguments.

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