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.