## petitio principii or begging the question

What is the basis for reason? And mathematics?

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duszek
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### petitio principii or begging the question

At least one premise needs support from the conclusion to be argued for.

Can anyone illustrate this kind of fallacy with an example ?

I am confused by the word "begging", too.
Is the begging on the side of the premise or on the side of the conclusion ?

surreptitious57
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

duszek wrote:
Can anyone illustrate this kind of fallacy with an example

Is the begging on the side of the premise or on the side of the conclusion
Begging the question is a logical fallacy because it assumes the conclusion from the premise

When did you stop beating your wife is a famous example because implicit in it is that you used to beat your wife

duszek
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

But all questions imply something.

Have you ever beaten your wife ?

Implies that you have a wife.

surreptitious57
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

Yes but implying that is far less serious than implying that you beat her though

And also not all questions imply something for some can be simply open ended

Londoner
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

Murder is wrong
(if we call a killing 'murder' we have already judged it as wrong. If we put it as a question; 'Is murder wrong?' by using the word 'murder' we are begging the question)

But I would say this is not a fallacy in logic; it arises from the meaning of the terms, not from the logical relationship between those terms.

In the example, although 'murder' is presented as 'atomic'; a thing, it actually stands for something complex; a relationship.

wtf
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

Londoner wrote:
Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:41 am

In the example, although 'murder' is presented as 'atomic'; a thing, it actually stands for something complex; a relationship.
The legal distinction you're looking for is murder versus homicide.

If I kill a person, I have committed homicide, no question about it.

But whether I've committed murder depends on the results of a criminal procedure against me. If I acted in legitimate self-defense I have committed homicide but not murder. If it was an accident and not my fault, I have committed homicide but not murder.

Murder is wrong, actually. Legally and morally. Homicide may or may not be morally wrong.

duszek
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

Thank you Londoner and wtf.

So if we used the terms correctly there would be no problem.

"Is murder wrong ?"

is a useless question because murder per definition is and can only be wrong.

If we all use the term murder in the same way.

"Stealing" can be justified under some circumstances.
Jean Valjean stole a loaf of bread because the children of his sister were starving.
This theft was not entirely wrong.

Is there anything else that can be added to this topic ?

duszek
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

"Murder is always wrong."

Is it a truism ?
Is it a partial definition of the term murder ?

duszek
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

Example #1:
Paranormal activity is real because I have experienced what can only be described as paranormal activity.
Explanation: The claim, “paranormal activity is real” is supported by the premise, “I have experienced what can only be described as paranormal activity.”  The premise presupposes, or assumes, that the claim, “paranormal activity is real” is already true.

Example #2:
The reason everyone wants the new "Slap Me Silly Elmo" doll is because this is the hottest toy of the season!
Explanation: Everyone wanting the toy is the same thing as it being "hot," so the reason given is no reason at all—it is simply rewording the claim and trying to pass it off as support for the claim.

From: www.logicallyfallacious.com

Let´s look at example 2.
It could be that some people buy what other people desire.
So the effect of aping is reinforced.
In that sense the statement would make sense and would not be fallacious.

Skip
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

duszek wrote:
Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:06 am
"Murder is always wrong."

Is it a truism ?
Is it a partial definition of the term murder ?
You can't set out any logical question without the use of language. You have to take for granted the definition of whatever words are used (though one or the other participant in an exchange may use a word inaccurately or inappropriately, in which case the argument bogs down in semantic disagreement.)

The word "murder" is a legal term: both parties can be assumed to know that laws are made according to a code of correct and incorrect behaviour.
Thus, if both accept the term "murder" for a particular known class of homicides, then they can take wrongness as part of the definition.
That leaves open for discussion what kinds of homicide should be included in the class "murder", and whether the killing - and if so, what kinds of killing - of other species might also be included in the class "murder", and whether there can be mitigating or aggravating circumstances that would justify dividing the class "murder" into degrees of wrongness, but none of that would remove the 'given' of wrongness from the meaning of the term.
"Stealing" can be justified under some circumstances.
So can murder. In fact, any crime can be justified in terms of circumstance and motivation. Rightness, wrongness, modification or justification, motivations and desired outcomes are not the point of a logical argument.

"Murder is always wrong, by definition." is a statement, and factual within the accepted meaning of the terms.
Now, if you wanted to make an argument for removing a type of homicide from the class "murder", you would have to set it up with premises and a conclusion:
P1.For some people, life is unbearably painful.
P2.Some people who prefer a quick, painless death to a slow agonizing one, are physically incapable of suicide.
P3.To help such people is an act of compassion, not a crime.
C:Therefore, euthanasia is not murder.

You could do the same for theft:
In economic disparity,
P1.some people have more food than they need
P2. while some have not enough to survive
P3. that situation is unjust
P4. and there is no legal recourse for the wronged party
C: Therefore the crime of theft may be justified in cases of extreme need

Example #2:
"The reason everyone wants the new "Slap Me Silly Elmo" doll is because this is the hottest toy of the season!
Explanation: Everyone wanting the toy is the same thing as it being "hot," so the reason given is no reason at all—it is simply rewording the claim and trying to pass it off as support for the claim."

Let´s look at example 2.
It could be that some people buy what other people desire. So the effect of aping is reinforced.
Yes, and that's what makes it "hot".
They said the same thing twice; you've just said the same thing a third time:
"everybody wants it because everybody wants it because everybody wants it"
or
goober = goober = goober

is still not a logical argument.
In that sense the statement would make sense and would not be fallacious.
A statement can be true and yet not qualify as a logical argument. Fallacy is not falsehood, but failure to make your case.

duszek
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

Thanks, Skip.

1. "I love him because he is lovable."

2. "He is lovable because I love him."

Are these logical statements or do they beg the question ?
And what is the question that is being begged exactly ?

In 1. I am passive and I do what I cannot resist. I love a lovable person and cannot help it.
This makes sense.

In 2. the beloved can become lovable because under the loving influence he becomes gentle and attractive.
This makes sense too.

Is there a question that is being begged in any of these ?

duszek
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

Skip wrote:
Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:06 pm
Example #2:
"The reason everyone wants the new "Slap Me Silly Elmo" doll is because this is the hottest toy of the season!
Explanation: Everyone wanting the toy is the same thing as it being "hot," so the reason given is no reason at all—it is simply rewording the claim and trying to pass it off as support for the claim."

Let´s look at example 2.
It could be that some people buy what other people desire. So the effect of aping is reinforced.
Yes, and that's what makes it "hot".
They said the same thing twice; you've just said the same thing a third time:
"everybody wants it because everybody wants it because everybody wants it"
or
goober = goober = goober

is still not a logical argument.
In that sense the statement would make sense and would not be fallacious.
A statement can be true and yet not qualify as a logical argument. Fallacy is not falsehood, but failure to make your case.
Let me try to improve the statement and turn it into a logical argument:

Mr and Mrs Johnson like to do what everyone else does, they hate being considered lepers and excentrics.
This season everybody buys the Barbie doll.
That´s why the Johnsons also want to buy a Barbie doll.

I have only made some of the premises more explicit, it seems to me.

Skip
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

duszek wrote:
Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:32 pm

"Example #2:
"The reason everyone wants the new "Slap Me Silly Elmo" doll is because this is the hottest toy of the season!
Explanation: Everyone wanting the toy is the same thing as it being "hot," so the reason given is no reason at all—it is simply rewording the claim and trying to pass it off as support for the claim."]

Let me try to improve the statement and turn it into a logical argument:

Mr and Mrs Johnson like to do what everyone else does, they hate being considered lepers and excentrics.
This season everybody buys the Barbie doll.
That´s why the Johnsons also want to buy a Barbie doll.

I have only made some of the premises more explicit, it seems to me.
But what is the thesis of the argument?
The question you answer here is: Why did the Johnsons buy a Barbie?
P1. They are conformist.
P2.The doll is popular.
C: Therefore they bought the doll.
This is logically sound argument, for a specific case. The Johnsons are not everyone; they didn't make the doll popular; they may even be the very last unaware purchasers of a Barbie already on its way to the fashion graveyard.

But this is a quite different argument from Example #2 as given. There, the thesis claims: The doll is popular because everyone wants what's popular [iow wanted by many people] - and gives no explanation as to what made it popular in the first place. Unless the entire world's population is conformist (If that's Premise 1, it was not presented.) and they were all somehow convinced (If a brilliant advertising strategy convinced everyone, that should have been Premise 2., also not presented.) the conclusion is not supported, only restated.
The because in that statement means nothing, as no reason or cause is offered. The question left unanswered (or begging ) is :Why is Slap Me Silly Elmo so popular?

Londoner
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

duszek wrote:
Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:26 pm

1. "I love him because he is lovable."

2. "He is lovable because I love him."

Are these logical statements or do they beg the question ?
And what is the question that is being begged exactly ?
As they stand, I would say neither would be understood as propositions. The 'because' is not a 'because' in the sense of 'it follows from'. Rather, the second part is understood as a gloss of the first part. 'When I say 'he is lovable' the meaning of that phrase is 'I love him' (and vice-versa). So if we were translating them into symbols, both would read 'A is A'. That is not begging the question as it does not assert anything.

I would say 'begging the question' arises where we are simultaneously claiming 'A is A', but also 'A is A+'. We are saying you must agree with my argument because it is purely analytic, a matter of definition...but I also want to smuggle in an extra implication.
In 1. I am passive and I do what I cannot resist. I love a lovable person and cannot help it.
This makes sense.
I agree that might be a reasonable interpretation, but it is not what it said. The 'because' now refers to something unstated i.e. your passivity. If you wrote it out in full, there are now two conditions, and that both must be true (you are passive & he is lovable) if the conclusion (I love him) is also to be true. The whole thing, or the parts, can be either true or false, so that is not begging the question.

'Begging the question' would be if we took the first interpretation of the sentences, that one term means the other term, and argued that since both were 'true' then the rest must be true. i.e. Since (by accepted definition) it must be the case that "I love him because he is lovable," therefore it must also be the case that the extra bit: 'I am passive' is true.

Regarding 'murder is wrong', I agree that there might be circumstances where somebody might dispute that, perhaps because they interpret 'murder' purely in the legal sense. Then I agree it wouldn't be 'begging the question'. However, no argument is made outside any context of understanding. I am assuming both parties understood 'murder' in the same way (which included 'something wrong').

But the way 'murder is wrong' is presented is going to be more likely to be in forms like 'Meat is murder' (therefore eating meat is wrong). We both agree that 'murder is wrong', therefore we must both agree that eating meat is wrong. As in the example above, I would say this plays on 'A is A' and also 'A is A+', extra meaning being smuggled into a definition you have accepted.

That is my effort at explaining something we (usually) recognise when we see it, without needing to think through all this stuff!

duszek
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### Re: petitio principii or begging the question

Thank you for the input, lots of food for thought, Skip and Londoner.

A: Why do you want this doll ?
B: Because it´s the hottest one.

Would you consider B´s answer as a logical one ?
B is not specific whether she is a conformist or whether the advitisement convinced her.

We can make it plural:

Pericles asks the Greeks gathered in the agora:
Why do you want this toy ?
They answer in a choir: because it is the hottest one.
(Also Spartans like it, and Phenicians and Persians and Macedonians.)

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