Begging the question:

Formal Fallacy
Definition Example
When the conclusion of an argument is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises. This medicine will definitely make you well since it can cure your disease.
Also known as: petitio principii / circular reasoning / circular argument
  Notes
This fallacy employs circularity, and is usually a disguised tautology.

Case Study One

It’s been argued that p1) holy books claim that a god can perform miracles, but p2) miracles are impossible, and C) therefore the holy books are wrong. This is begging the question in that you are essentially saying that, even though it is claimed that miracles are possible, miracles are not possible. A more precise definition of “miracle” might be called for here, then a demonstration of why p2 is true, which is perhaps not an easy task.


Case Study Two

Some might beg the question by arguing that abortion is the unjustified killing of a human being and is therefore murder. Murder is illegal. So abortion should be made illegal.


Case Study Three

A job interviewee…

If you need a reference to validate my trustworthiness, I can give you the number of my friend Tom who, I assure you, will tell you the truth about my honesty.


Keep in mind that a fallacious argument does not entail an erroneous position.


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