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Subject:Re: begging the question From:"Tamminga, Ernie" <et -at- DSC -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 12 Jun 1997 15:01:57 -0700
Here's some stuff from a "logical fallacies" Web page at Fort Wayne
University (I THINK that's the name of the school.) Also, use a
search engine on the Web to look for "begging the question", and you'll
find several hundred "hits".
BEGGING THE QUESTION
Also called "arguing in a circle." When the conclusion (the statement
you are supposed to "prove" to be true) is taken for granted as true and
shows up as one of your premises.
An example from "The Art of Argument" by Giles St. Aubyn:
"Proof of God's existence can be found in the Old Testament. The Old
Testament is valid because it was divinely inspired."
"It is degrading for a man to live on a dole or any payment made to him
without his being required to render some service in return. The reason
is that he Becomes, from an economic standpoint, a parasite on the
community as a whole, a position that is inconsistent with the
maintenance of an individual's self-respect."
In other words, it is degrading to accept unemployment pay without
working for it, because to have unemployment pay without working for it
Another example, from "Logical Self-Defense" by Ralph Johnson and J.
Anthony Blair: Two medieval Jews were engaged in a dispute about the
spiritual gifts of their respective rabbis. To clinch his case, one of
them said, "I'll give you proof positive that my rabbi is the most
gifted in the world. Is there another rabbi who dances with angels every
night after he falls asleep?" His friend was skeptical. "How do you know
that your rabbi really does dance every night with the
angels?" he demanded. "Why," replied the first, "because he told me so
himself!" The skeptic insisted: "But can you believe him?" "What!"
exclaimed the first angrily. "Would a rabbi who dances with the angels
each night lie?"
In begging the question, or the "arguing in a circle" fallacy, we are
expected to accept as true something that we should ask to be proven as
true. If you want to know this might be happening, listen or look for
certain code phrases: It is beyond argument that ... It is without
question that ... There is no dispute that ... It is commonly accepted
that ... It cannot be denied that ... It is evident that ... It stands
to reason that ... Everybody knows that ... If you hear or read one of
expressions, clear your throat and throw a wrench into the argument:
"Uh, excuse me, what's your proof of that?"
Digital Sound Corporation
Opinions expressed are my own, and not necessarily those of Digital
>From: Pat Gantt [SMTP:pagantt -at- POSTOFFICE -dot- WORLDNET -dot- ATT -dot- NET]
>Sent: Thursday, June 12, 1997 5:42 PM
>To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
>Subject: begging the question
>Since I am the BTQ criminal give me at least five
>examples of its proper use.
>> The real meaning of "to beg the question" is: TO EMPLOY AN ARGUMENT
>> ASSUMES AS VALID THE VERY SAME ARGUMENT THAT ONE IS TRYING TO PROVE
>Pat Gantt ~ pagantt -at- worldnet -dot- att -dot- net =