Begging the Question

Analysis 32 (6):197-199 (1972)
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A primary purpose of argument is to increase the degree of reasonable confidence that one has in the truth of the conclusion. A question begging argument fails this purpose because it violates what W. E. Johnson called an epistemic condition of inference. Although an argument of the sort characterized by Robert Hoffman in his response (Analysis 32.2, Dec 71) to Richard Robinson (Analysis 31.4, March 71) begs the question in all circumstances, we usually understand the charge that an argument is question begging with reference to the beliefs of the person, or the sort of person, to whom the argument is directed.



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David Sanford
Duke University

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