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When I was looking through the Logical Fallacies website I noticed the "Begging the Question" fallacy


I've always been confused about this phrase, probably because so many people (like myself) apparently misuse it.  That is to say i was told a while back that my use of the phrase wasn't what it really meant, and I actually thought that was a rhetorical trick to invalidate my argument :$.  I always thought that it meant one's argument had such a glaring omission in it that it left opponents or critics "begging" to ask the question that would be obvious to any intelligent listener.

So just for the record (or in case you're too lazy to look it up for yourselves), "begging the question" seems close to this but it's actually a circular or self-evident argument that is really only self-evident to the speaker and his/her prejudices, e.g., "the Bible was divinely created because it's the Word of God."

But I have to give this side mad props for ending their definition with "Circular reasoning is bad mostly because it's not very good" xD

Gord Barentsen


Nope....no matter how I try, I cannot conceive of this as a legitimate word.  But it is, and my God I don't know who I am anymore...o.O

I found - quite frankly to my surprise - that according to the OED it's existed since 1820, but first heard it on television several weeks ago, which is probably why my first inclination was to dismiss it as yet another one of those lazy pop-cultural hybrids that puts "-ness" or "-ion" at the end of any word they like (and once I remember what they are I'll post them!).  But I was wrong; this page on Grammarian demonstrates the difference between aggression and aggressiveness, with some interesting observations on North American English in contrast to British English.  Aggression is, well, more aggressive, referring to things like physical attacks; aggressiveness seems to be a more abstract reference to motivation or drive.

But when I hear people say "dude, what's with all the aggressiveness?" and realize they really are lazy and don't know or care about the distinction, I feel oddly vindicated.  I will forever dismiss aggressiveness in favour of talking about a spectrum of aggression or "aggressive nature of X."  Some things you just can't do and retain your integrity...

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