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 Post subject: Thread carryover
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2003 1:24 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 138
I didn't want to ask this in the other thread because it would get too cluttered, but I've seen the objection to "begs the question" crop up several times. I tried to find what the actual meaning is but haven't been able to. So I throw myself at the mercy of testy copy editors with more experience than I. When, if ever, does something beg a question?


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 Post subject: Re: Thread carryover
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2003 2:17 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 887
Location: U.S.A.
I'll answer the question, and leave it at that. The use/misuse of "begging the question" was beaten to death several months ago, and I don't want to argue about it all over again.<p>Contrary to common, illiterate usage, "to beg the question" does not mean "raises the question." Begging the question means making a statement that assumes as true the very point you're trying to prove. For example, "Because I'm not lying, I must be telling the truth." Or this, a favorite example on the Net: "We know that God exists, since the Bible says God exists. What the Bible says must be true, since God wrote it and God never lies."<p>As I recall, most of the previous discussion on this board centered on whether newspapers should use "begs the question" even the "correct" way, given that so few people understand the "correct" usage.<p>[ January 30, 2003: Message edited by: Gary Kirchherr ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: Thread carryover
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2003 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 1399
Location: In the newsroom
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Gary Kirchherr:
I'll answer the question, and leave it at that. The use/misuse of "begging the question" was beaten to death several months ago, and I don't want to argue about it all over again.<p>Contrary to common, illiterate usage, "to beg the question" does not mean "raises the question." Begging the question means making a statement that assumes as true the very point you're trying to prove. For example, "Because I'm not lying, I must be telling the truth." Or this, a favorite example on the Net: "We know that God exists, since the Bible says God exists. What the Bible says must be true, since God wrote it and God never lies."<p>As I recall, most of the previous discussion on this board centered on whether newspapers should use "begs the question" even the "correct" way, given that so few people understand the "correct" usage.<p>[ January 30, 2003: Message edited by: Gary Kirchherr ]<hr></blockquote> In other words, circular reasoning. My favorite example comes from a Safire column that touched on the subject: Parallel lines will never meet because they are parallel.


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