Whenever I come across someone using beg the question, it seems to be mostly used incorrectly.
For many, the phrase seems to mean invites the question or raises the question. But that is not the right usage.
History and meaning
The term “begging the question” (Latin petitio principii) originated in the 16th century and translates as assuming the initial point - external link.
- Freedom of speech is important because people should be able to speak freely.
- This example begs the question, Why is it important for everyone to have a voice?
- The death penalty is wrong because killing people is immoral.
- This example begs the question, Why is killing people, and by extension the death penalty, immoral?
Characteristics of begging the question
Think twice before using “begging the question”
Here’s an example of a begging the question that might well be correct – circular argument, the premise and conclusion given with no evidence – by well-known South African business journalist Bruce Whitfield - external link:
Bruce Whitfield with another example, but this time the fallacy’s incorrect usage: