Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

It Begs the Question

page: 1
7

log in

join

posted on Jun, 18 2012 @ 02:22 PM
link   
Martin Heidegger once said that it is not we who speaks language but language that speaks us. One might respond to such a remark by declaring that this begs the question that if this is correct why did humans invent language? It does not, however, beg the question but does serve to prove Heidegger's point. Heidegger's declaration certainly raises the question, or impels the question and many more, but it does not beg the question.

If you tell me that I cannot have my cake and eat it too, this begs the question as well as raises the question as to why I would want to have cake if I cannot eat it? This grossly misused axiom that wants to make the point that you can have one or the other but you cannot have both, is properly said: You cannot eat your cake and have it too. When we say it as it is all too often said: You cannot have your cake and eat it too, this is yet another example of language speaking us and us not speaking language, as well as an example of Hysteron proteron, where the key idea, which is having cake is placed before the next key idea, which is eating cake placing more attention on the have than the eat. It is ironic misuse of hysterion proteron in that placing the have before the eat, only because when spoken properly: "You cannot eat your cake and have it too", the clear operative is on the have, not the eat, but to say it as a hysteron proteron, it merely begs the question.


Begging the question? Any assertion that states that a is true because a is true is begging the question. If the CDC tells us that HIV causes AIDS because HIV causes AIDS, this begs the question, not to mention raises or impels several questions. If the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) tells us that climate change is caused by humans because it is humans that are causing climate change, this begs the question. If the state tells us that we do not have the right to drive because they said we do not have the right to drive this begs the question. If the IRS says that everyone must pay taxes on their income because all taxpayers are liable for a tax on income, this begs the question.


The fallacy of petitio principii, or "begging the question", is committed "when a proposition which requires proof is assumed without proof", or more generally denotes when an assumption is used, "in some form of the very proposition to be proved, as a premise from which to deduce it". Thus, insofar as petitio principii refers to arguing for a conclusion that has already been assumed in the premise, this fallacy consists of "begging" the listener to accept the "question" (proposition) before the labor of logic is undertaken. The fallacy may be committed in various ways.


It is ironic, this Wikipedia article on begging the question, particularly when you keep reading this article and get to this:


Academic linguist Mark Liberman recommends avoiding the phrase entirely, noting that because of shifts in usage in both Latin and English over the centuries, the relationship of the literal expression to its intended meaning is unintelligible and therefore it is now "such a confusing way to say it that only a few pedants understand the phrase."


The irony is that Liberman has begged the question! We should avoid using the phrase beg the question because it is so misused that no one, except for a few pedants, understands the phrase, is begging the question. Liberman may as well be saying we should avoid using the phrase because I am a linguist and I say it should be avoided. Wikipedia quotes Liberman on this matter, and it was only a matter of time that such a sentiment would be echoed in other mediums, in other articles, such as The Phrase You're Probably Misusing:


Because of the phrase's widespread misusage, academic linguist Mark Liberman has suggested abandoning it entirely. He reasons that because of all the shifts in language and language meaning over the years, the relationship of the phrase's literal meaning to its figurative meaning is unintelligible, and now only serves to confuse people.

Corbett also notes that "the phrase is so widely misused, some readers may be confused even when it's used correctly."


In fairness to Zoe Triska, she is not advocating Liberman's dubious advice, merely parroting it for her article. The problem with avoiding a phrase simply because it has led to so much confusion is that it certainly does not clear up the confusion, but worse, it ensures we will never be trained in recognizing the fallacy of petitio principii. I'm inclined to argue that if more people were versed in the actual meaning of begging the question then when the CDC states HIV causes AIDS because all AIDS patience have HIV, people will understand that such a statement begs the question, and they will understand the profound problem with a government agency perpetuating such a logical fallacy. HIV may very well cause AIDS, but if it does, there is no need for the use of petitio principii. Current climate change concerns may very well be caused by human activity, but if this is so there is no need to beg the question.

When we understand the problems with begging the question it becomes easier to understand when someone is begging us to accept their question (premise or proposition) as true. Truth needs no beggar's on its behalf, and what is true is so because of a series of observable and/or experimental conclusions that make it true, not because someone somewhere declares it true.




posted on Jun, 18 2012 @ 03:16 PM
link   
reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


So repectfully may I ask, "Are you saying we have been dumbed down?", which I am a firm believer that we have; are you also saying, "We believe damn near everything we are told?". I beg to question!

Love your posts BTW, they challenge me to think!



posted on Jun, 18 2012 @ 03:31 PM
link   
reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 

Wonderfully written.
Like the previous poster I must admit needing to read your posts more than once to fully grasp them.


It reminds me of a little quote I heard in the Zeitgeist movie of all places, attributed to Gerald Massey:


They must find it hard to take Truth for authority who have so long mistaken Authority for Truth.


Does this beg the question of how "they" got that authority? Probably not. It's almost bedtime and I am way out of my depth in your topics usually, and unfortunately.

edit on 18/6/12 by LightSpeedDriver because: Typo



posted on Jun, 18 2012 @ 03:37 PM
link   

Originally posted by seeker1963
reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


So repectfully may I ask, "Are you saying we have been dumbed down?", which I am a firm believer that we have; are you also saying, "We believe damn near everything we are told?". I beg to question!

Love your posts BTW, they challenge me to think!


We've either been dumbed down or decided to be dumb, but we are generally dumb, particularly when it comes to language. I think we do tend to believe most of what we're told because we have become so inept in our usage of language. Of course, some might say: "Oh JPZ, that's a myth" and only make my point. The myth has existed since time immemorial and its inherent structure is found in virtually every block buster film produced. The Avengers? Myth. Spiderman? Myth. Batman? Myth. Avatar? Myth. Harry Potter films? Myth. The Lion King? Myth. Transformers? Myth. Star Wars? Myth. Are these films so successful because they are myths as the term is used in today's lexicon? What I mean to say is that are these films so successful because they are lies, or falsehoods? Is this what drives the success of film, its level of fiction?

Mythology has been with us since time immemorial and stays strong even today in our "sophisticated" world not because they are fictions, not because they are lies, or falsehoods, quite contrarily they survive because of the truths, or truisms they speak. While it is no doubt a falsehood that being bitten by a radio active spider will grant you superpowers, what is most assuredly true is that with great power comes great responsibility, and therein lies the power of the myth. So, why are so many so obsessively intent on equating myth with falsehood? It may not necessarily beg the question, but it certainly raises a few.



posted on Jun, 20 2012 @ 03:07 PM
link   
I hope my kids never read this thread.

That's all I'd need; after telling them it was bedtime and they had to go to bed because I said so, the kids would respond:

Well, that begs the question, doesn't it?




posted on Jun, 20 2012 @ 03:11 PM
link   
reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


All of these things your saying have alteast SOME evidence that they use to support those theorys or assertions...

Why not present that information and debate the topic.. Its only magic to an ignorant person. These illogical phrases are never used in news reports... evidence is always falsified in its place if needed.



posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 05:36 AM
link   
plus star and flag,
kudos for writing this, been thinking this for years, tho I'm not to well inclined to the academic skills for expressing myself.

brilliant post.


and just to sum this up for those who peruse the reply's for the jist of this because of TL: DR


edit on 22-6-2012 by easybreezy because: smiley removed






top topics



 
7

log in

join