Re: "Beg the question"

Subject: Re: "Beg the question"
From: Bev Parks <bparks -at- HUACHUCA-EMH1 -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL>
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 1995 16:00:03 MST

Sonja Draeger <sonja -at- HPATO -dot- AUS -dot- HP -dot- COM> wrote--
I was reading an article about P.J. O'Rourke in a Melbourne Sunday
paper when I came across this sentence:

According to PJ, we would still be in India if our middle class
had married into the Indian middle class instead of becoming
instant racist aristos the moment they set foot on the
sub-continenent. This, of course, begs the question -- why
should the Indians have gone along with this? But it's a perceptive

In this sentence, "begs the question" doesn't seem to be avoiding the
issue at all. Do you think that it has been used correctly here?
I think that in the context given, "begging the question" is
making an assumption (that the Indians would have accepted them
into the Indian middle class via marriage) without bothering to
question whether that would have been likely to begin with.

In other words (warning: my logic is really rusty)--
If our middle class married into the Indian middle class
And we did not become instant racist aristos
Then we would still be in India.

The question being begged is whether or not the first premise is
true. It is being assumed true for the sake of argument.
(It is therefore, of course, a faulty argument).

Based on some of the definitions I've seen posted, I believe it
is being used correctly.

=*= Beverly Parks =*= bparks -at- huachuca-emh1 -dot- army -dot- mil =*=
=*= "These opinions are mine, not my employer's." =*=
=*= =*= =*=

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