Monday, August 27, 2007

Has "Begging the Question" Been Covered In Here Yet?

The misuse of this trope just annoys me almost beyond expression!

The phrase in formal rhetoric and logic, 'begging the question,' is, really, an anachronistic translation of the Latin phrase "petitio principii." This was/is a logical flaw in which a conclusion is assumed apriori to be proven true, in advance of argument.

The phrase "beg the question" is a really attractive way to frame an issue in a question that requires an answer. But that's not what the phrase means, at least not in the discourse in which it's meaning is grounded.

I hope you'll forgive me if I say, for me, it's like nails on slate; and the pedantry that ensued. Just change the word 'begs' to 'demands,' and I'll be a happy rhetor.

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