30 September 2014

Begging the Question

The phrase “begging the question” has the specific meaning of “taking as settled a matter in dispute”. This is often found in political discourse. The often heard, “Well, as we all know...” is an example of begging the question, inasmuch as we may not all know that, nor need the posited thing be true. Exemplum Gratia: “As we all know, Jews need the blood of Gentiles to make Passover Mazahs”.

Please, please, by the Virgin Mary and her seven dwarves, do not conflate it with “raises the question”. That's a different matter entirely..

That question may on its part be tabled in either the (US) form of “removed from current dispute” or the (UK) sense of “brought to the table for dispute”. But it is raised, not begged.

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