Logical & Critical Thinking

with Professor Logic

Begging the Question

begging-the-question-i-think-therefore-i-amBegging the Question is a logical fallacy and someone begs the question when they state something with a premise that  assumes the conclusion.

Begging the Question Example

An example statement that begs the question is “god exists because the bible says so”. If we ask for elaboration on the validity of the bible “How do we know the bible is right”? Then we really get the logical fallacy in its entirety “The bible is right because it is the word of god”.

I’ll condense the above statement to “god exists because the bible says so and I know the bible is right cause it is the word of god”. This statement seeks to validate the conclusion with a premise that assumes the conclusion. This does not mean a god does not exist but it does invalidate this statements validity in structure.

Begging the Question Logic Structure

Premise: A is true because of B

Conclusion: B is true because of A

Helpful Sources

I Think Therefore I Am

The assumption that I or we exists because we are thinking was summed up in the statement “I think therefore I am” or “Cogito ergo sum“. This is built in a way that is fallacious and begs the question. However, it is so often overlooked and not questioned because it seems so obvious.

The conclusion is presumed in the initial statement. “I” is presumed to exist and be thinking and this leads to the conclusion that “I” exists.

Argumentation Tactic

This one is rather simple to deal with and lies in your ability to slow the conversation down and explain the fallacy. You will probably have to give examples of the fallacy on a subject not emotionally significant to the person using the fallacy. This will help them understand the why their argument is not logical. For example if they are arguing from a conservative republican stand point choose a left wing democrat example, this will lessen the chances of them freezing up on you emotionally.


6 Responses to Begging the Question

  1. Professor Wag says:

    “god exists because the bible says so and I know the bible is right cause it is the word of god”. can also be described as “circular reasoning”.

    • David Chapman says:

      There could not have been a creator to give a beginning to all things, or there should have been a first thing which gave a beginning to all things; for a thing is made from other things. How does that make your head feel about circular logic?

      • Robert Suarez says:

        Does it make sense to call it a paradox as well?

      • Luke Young says:

        You assume what a “thing” is. All the things that we seem to know, came from other things. It does not necessarily follow that ALL things come from other things. Philosophically, it seems necessary to posit a First Cause. We can’t really say much about the First Cause, but it stands to reason. Or you wind up with another contradiction: nothing created something.

        God is not the only creator, just the first. The first creator, by definition could not have been created. If humans create, we use what has already been created. In actuality, we manipulate the physical world, our creation is mostly in concepts.

        But most people only learn Formal Logic these days, thus they do not learn about concepts and human thought. Then they wind up saying ridiculous things like “for a thing is made from other things”.

  2. happy riches says:

    Existence was not, but then pain caused me to feel that I exist, therefore because I feel pain, I know I exist….Who said thinking had anything to do with it?

  3. Steve Willy says:

    Wow, you’re an atheist? You must be really smart. A real free thinker. Except, well…. Let’s put the faux-analytical hyperbole away for a while and look at reality: Kalaam Cosmological Argument, teleological argument, First Cause/Unmoved Mover, the impossibility of infinite causal regress, the necessity of at least one unconditioned reality, the Argument from Reason, Fine Tuning of Universal Constants, irreducible biological complexity, the argument from morality… While you sit there in your Hitchens-Dawkins parroting bubble and regurgitate pseudo-intellectual douchisms, your entire world view lies shattered at your feet. If you truly honor the gods of reason and critical thinking half as much as you claim, you would plant your face firmly into your hand, step away from the device, find a quiet place, and rethink your life. Indeed, why are you even bothering to comment at all? No atheistic position can be taken seriously until two threshold questions can coherently be answered. 1. Why is the atheist even engaging in the debate. On atheism, there is no objective basis for even ascertaining truth; there is no immaterial aspect to consciousness and all mental states are material. Therefore, everyone who ever lived and ever will live could be wrong about a thing. By what standard would that ever be ascertained on atheism? Also if atheism is true, there is no objective meaning to existence and no objective standard by which the ‘rational’ world view of atheism is more desirable, morally or otherwise, to the ‘irrational’ beliefs of religion. Ridding the world of the scourge of religion, so that humanity can ‘progress’ or outgrow it, is not a legitimate response to this because on atheism, there is no reason to expect humanity to progress or grow. We are a historical accident that should fully expect to be destroyed by the next asteriod, pandemic, or fascist atheist with a nuke. In short, if atheism is correct, there is no benefit, either on an individual or societal level, to knowing this or to spreading such ‘knowledge.’ 2. Related to this, why is the atheist debater even alive to participate. If there is no heaven, no hell, no afterlife at all, only an incredibly window of blind pitiless indifference, then the agony of struggling to exist, seeing loved ones die, and then dying yourself can never be outweighed by any benefit to existing. As rude as it way sound (and I AM NOT advocating suicide) the atheist should have a coherent explanation for why they chose to continue existing. Failure to adequately address these threshold questions should result in summary rejection of the neckbeard’s position.
    In the end, we all know you can’t answer these questions because yours is a petty, trivial, localized, earth bound philosophy, unworthy of the universe.
    Finally, is there a basement dwelling troll left in the multiverse who doesn’t drag themselves out of the primordial ooze and logged onto this site in order to announce our collective atheism towards Thor, that gardens can be beautiful without fairies (a powerful rebuttal to fairy apologetics, by the way, but it leaves a lot unanswered about the Gardener), and that we cling to Bronze Age skymen due to our fear of the dark? Let me translate that to neckbeard: you are unoriginal, you are wrong, and you are a dunce.