Talk:Begging the question

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Wrong Title[edit]

Rather than perpetuating the mistake, shouldn't this article be titled "assuming the initial point" with a note that it is often mistranslated as "begging the question"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.120.146.26 (talk) 23:42, 10 February 2018 (UTC)

"Incorrect" meaning[edit]

This edit by another editor was reverted with the explanation "POV". Quite by coincidence, I made almost the same edit. The original edit was correct and should have stood. The "POV" comment is bizarre. Anyone with any powers of observation can be in no doubt that in everyday English "beg the question" is almost always used with the "incorrect" meaning. Most people have no knowledge of the "correct" meaning. 86.129.206.245 (talk) 01:49, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

I think my experience is a bit different than yours, but really what is needed her is some source which says what you assert. Paul August 02:16, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, the misused form "beg the question" is grammatically incorrect, because in the intransitive form of "beg", it should be "beg for the question". The transitive form of "beg" has the target of begging as the object of the verb, e.g. "I beg you", "he begged the passer-by for help".24.69.25.223 (talk) 00:29, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

This article begs the question: if I'm using "beg the question" incorrectly, how could I possibly tell?[edit]

About the only thing I get out of this article is that no-one can explain what "begging the question" actually means. The examples are painfully unclear, the writing muddy, and the writers/editors of this article seem absolutely determined to expound on their arcane knowledge without ever getting to the point.

This article probably needs to be blown up and restarted from scratch. At the very least, someone needs to come up with a simple, clear set of examples for what this phrase meant in its classic sense. I mean, it sure beats me. I read the article, and I still don't know. No wonder the modern meaning is completely trouncing the older one -- even its defenders can't coherently explain it! 70.27.3.143 (talk) 03:09, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

I agree that the article needs a better explanation and example of something that "begs the question" in the older, formal sense of the term. I'm adding an example section to the top of the article. 209.165.166.193 (talk) 18:15, 23 January 2018 (UTC)

Deleting the erroneous or at best very confusing example in the first paragraph[edit]

The example relating to paranormal activity is clearly erroneous in my opinion as the writer of the passage assumed that a person needs to assume that paranormal activity is real in order to conclude that he has experienced a paranormal activity (and therefore infer that paranormal activity is real), which is not the case. The writer stated "something must be real for it to be experienced" as a part of his explanation, but the statement is of nothing more than the reason that a person who thinks he has experienced paranormal activity can logically infer that paranormal activity is real. I have decided to delete this example from the page. 134.87.133.113 (talk) 04:49, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

the freedom of speech example isn't a fallacy[edit]

The article claims that:

"To allow every man an unbounded freedom of speech must always be, on the whole, advantageous to the State, for it is highly conducive to the interests of the community that each individual should enjoy a liberty perfectly unlimited of expressing his sentiments."

is a fallacy because the second clause is just a restatement of the first clause. I don't agree. The first clause talks about the the advantage to the State, while the second clause talks about advantage to the community. A state is not the same thing as a community. There is, to be sure, a hidden premise: that things which are advantageous to communities are also advantageous to states, and one could quibble about that. But if the listener accepts that premise as plausible, then there is no fallacy in the statement. 185.121.6.44 (talk) 13:57, 7 February 2018 (UTC)

Short definition[edit]

How about "pretends to demonstrate what it already assumes"?96.248.101.32 (talk) 03:00, 5 March 2018 (UTC)DeMikeal Brown

Bad example[edit]

This is confusing to read:

All birds that are black are ravens; therefore, all birds that are not ravens are not black.

We should also include an example which has a *true* premise:

Asia is the largest continent; therefore, Asia has the largest area of any continent.

To ensure we don't mislead the reader into thinking "begging the question" necessarily means false premise.

Mateen Ulhaq (talk) 12:08, 29 July 2018 (UTC)


The way the example is now stated doesn't really fit. The line is now:

Asia is not the smallest continent because it has the largest area of any continent.

But this does not align with the conclusion:

[...] assuming the initial premise to be correct also means assuming the conclusion is correct.

One can assume Asia is not the smallest without therefore assuming the it has the largest area.

ZAD-Man (talk) 22:02, 10 August 2018 (UTC)

All I know[edit]

"Begs the question" is always used incorrectly because nobody knows what it really means. 205.142.232.18 (talk) 21:34, 30 August 2018 (UTC)

A Commons file used on this page has been nominated for speedy deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page has been nominated for speedy deletion:

You can see the reason for deletion at the file description page linked above. —Community Tech bot (talk) 10:06, 31 August 2018 (UTC)