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Begging the Question



Sometimes you will see the phrase "begging the question" being used in a very different sense, indicating some issue which has been raised or brought to everyone's attention. This isn't a description of a fallacy at all and while it's not an entirely illegitimate use of the label, it can be confusing.

For example, consider the following:

17. This begs the question: Is it really necessary for people to be talking while on the road?
18. Change of plans or a lie? Stadium begs the question.
19. This situation begs the question: are we all in fact guided by the same universal principles and values?

The second is a news headline, the first and third are sentences from news stories. In each case, the phrase "begs the question" is used to say "an important question is now just begging to be answered." This should probably be considered an inappropriate use of the phrase, but it is so common by this point that it cannot be ignored. Nevertheless, it would probably be a good idea to avoid using it this way yourself and instead say "raises the question."

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