Saturday, December 08, 2007


Words: "Beg the question: to assume the truth of a statement, without proof, in subsequent argument. Its Latin name is petitio principii, a logical fallacy. 'When did you stop beating your wife?' begs the question of 'Did you beat your wife?'

Fowler adduces 'Capital punishment is necessary because without it murders would increase.' Some users appear to mean 'to evade the question.' It doesn't mean to 'bring up the question' or to 'demand the question' or to 'suggest the question.'

This ignorant misuse now appears very commonly on television. It has been used by Charlie Rose, as well as the History Detectives, for example, and other good people, and has recently become a habit on PBS."


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