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Circular Reasoning
Negativity Bias

Begging The Question

6 Examples of Begging The Question

Begging the question is a fallacy whereby a question is meaninglessly answered with some element of the question itself. The following are illustrative examples.

Circular Reasoning

Logic that refers to itself in a circular way that renders it invalid or useless. This is common in definitions whereby a term is defined with itself such that zero information is conveyed.
Management is the act of managing.

Synonym Substitution

Circular reasoning is often thinly disguised with synonyms. This is also common in definitions whereby a word is explained with a close synonym.
A nation is a state, government or society.

Assuming the Conclusion

Proving something by restating it in a slightly rephrased way.
Green is a good color because it's the best color.

Not Even Wrong

Not even wrong is a statement that makes so sense such that it is difficult to counter in argument. These often beg a question by referring to some element of the question in an irrational way.
Green is a good color because it's a color.

Trick Question

Begging the question isn't always an answer to a question but can be embedded in a question itself. For example, a double barreled question that makes an unsupported assumption but then asks for an answer unrelated to this assumption. This is designed to trick an opponent into confirming the unsupported assumption.
Did you finish your work or did your incompetence get in the way?
In the example above, if you answer in the affirmative, that you finished your work, it sounds like you are also confirming that you are incompetent. The correct way to answer is to attack the invalid assumption and to defer your answer to the rest of the question.

Contemporary Usage

The term begging the question originates with Aristotle with a phrase from Topics, one of Aristotle's six works on logic. The phrase can be literally translated "asking for the initial thing." In the context of logic, this is interpreted as in the examples above. However, in contemporary language is it common to use begging the question to indicate a statement that triggers a question in everyone's mind.
All 330 students in the class dropped the class in the first week. This begs the question, is the professor good at teaching?
Overview: Begging The Question
A fallacy of circular reasoning involving a question or unstated question.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about fallacies.
Abilene Paradox
Bait & Switch
Beg the Question
Catch 22
Cognitive Biases
Complexity Bias
Creeping Normality
False Analogy
False Balance
False Dichotomy
Hindsight Bias
Nirvana Fallacy
Red Herring
Sour Grapes
Survivorship Bias
More ...
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