Begging the question–round and round


WordsByBob gets ideas for posts on this blog from many sources.  Recently, a question from a friend resulted in this post.  I occasionally meet for lunch with a group of people I used to work with.  In addition to solving all the world’s problems ever weak, this comment came up:

It seems that the term being the question gets misused—even in newscasts.  Even though I taught logic at the college level, I had to do some research to remember what begging the question means.

The fallacy of “begging the question”, is committed “when a proposition which requires proof is assumed without proof”.

If someone is begging the question, he or she is are using circular reasoning.

The term originated in the 16th century as a mistranslation of Latin petitio principii “– assuming the initial point”.

Here are some examples:

  •  A prosecutor speaking to defendant: So how did you feel when you killed your wife?
  • Jones is the most successful mayor the town has ever had because he’s the best mayor of our history.
  • Smith was the best candidate for president, because he was better than any of the others.




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