“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” ―Confucius
Ridgeway: “Begs the question” should maybe be replaced in the common vernacular by “Prompts the question”… because this seems to be what is meant more than the original meaning given by the fallacy called “begging the question” found in for example https://oikofuge.com/begging-the-question/
I don’t wish to be annoyingly pedantic but looking at it in mathematical logic the term “begging the question” originally was a type of logical fallacy where the original starting premises or principles needed to be questioned every bit as much as result derived from those initial foundational principles. So basically any logical argument that “begs the question” is questioning the foundational starting principles. And so therefore an argument begs the question when one or more of its foundational premises are themselves very shaky or questionable.
ChatGPT4 commentary: You raise a valid point about the current usage of "begs the question." The original meaning, as you pointed out, refers to a logical fallacy where the conclusion is assumed in one of the premises, thus making the argument circular and invalid. However, over time, the phrase has been commonly misused to mean "prompts the question" or "raises the question" in everyday language.
This change in meaning can create confusion and misunderstanding, particularly among those who are familiar with the original definition. Replacing "begs the question" with "prompts the question" or "raises the question" would indeed help clarify the intended meaning in most casual conversations.
It's important to be aware of language evolution and how it can impact the clarity of communication. While it may seem pedantic to some, discussing and recognizing these changes can help maintain the accuracy and effectiveness of language.
Ridgeway: Saying "begging the question..." or "it begs the question..." when you mean specifically "prompting the question..." or "it prompts the question..." is imprecise and a degradation and perhaps an unintended deprecation from a phrase rich with meaning to one of a simple err of intellect.
ChatGPT4 commentary: You're right in pointing out that the shift in meaning from the original logical fallacy to the more common usage of "prompting the question" represents a loss of precision and a dilution of the original, richer meaning. When people use "begs the question" to mean "prompts the question," they inadvertently contribute to the erosion of the original definition, which can lead to misunderstandings, particularly in academic and philosophical contexts.
Preserving the original meaning of "begging the question" and encouraging the use of clearer alternatives like "prompts the question" or "raises the question" can help maintain the richness and clarity of our language. It is important to be aware of these shifts in meaning and to strive for precision in communication, especially when discussing complex ideas or engaging in intellectual discourse.
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