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Begging the Question

 

Disciplines Argument > Fallacies > Begging the Question

Description | Discussion | Example | See also

 

Description

The truth of A is assumed within the original premise about A. Hence A is not really proven by the argument.

This may occur through a simple statement or via a more complex set of statements that go around in a circle and eventually 'prove' the original statement to be true.

Another variant is: If A is not wrong, then it is right.

Example

God exists because the Bible says so. The Bible was written by God.

I am not a liar.

This restaurant serves the best food in the town, because it has the best chef. It has attracted the best chef because it has the best reputation. It has the best reputation because the chef cooks the best food.

You are not bad, therefore you must be good.

Discussion

Begging the Question does not really answer it outside of its own assumptions. This happens when people accidentally or deliberately start from an unproven position and try to use this to prove the position. Like a house built on sand, the argument does not stand up to a light push.

Begging the Question is one of Aristotle's 13 fallacies.

Classification

Assumptive, Deductive, Causal

Also known as

Circular Definition, Circular Reasoning, Reasoning in a Circle, Chicken and Egg argument, Petitio Principii

See also

Assumption principle

 

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