Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 15:10:18 -0500
From: Larry Horn laurence.horn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALE.EDU
Subject: Re: standardization of non-standard forms

At 2:43 PM -0500 3/20/98, Gregory {Greg} Downing wrote:
At 02:04 PM 3/20/98 EST, RonButters RonButters[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM wrote:
BEGS THE QUESTION in this sense has taken on a real vogue usage, I think, but
as has been pointed out here (?) before, it is not new. At least my memory is
that I was surprised to learn that dictionaries have been listing this "new"
usage for years (I just checked my AMERICAN HBERITAGE, though, and don't find

On "beg the question," see OED2 beg v., meaning 6, first citation 1581.

See also OED2 beggar n., meaning 4, first citation 1579.

It seems to be especially favored in philosophical or classical-logic

I happen to first recall it from undergrad philosophy courses at the end of
the 1970s.

{I've been away for a week; there may be things in old messages for me to
respond to, when I find time this weekend.}

Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

I'm sorry; there must be some confusion here. The sense Greg refers to,
with citations back to 1581, is the STANDARD one for 'beg the question',
i.e. (as the OED puts it) 'to take for granted the matter in dispute', 'to
assume without proof', going back to the classical fallacy, defined by
Aristotle et al., of petitio principii. The meaning I brought up as an
instance of standardization-of-nonstandard-forms, and I assume the meaning
Ron alludes to as a vogue usage as well, is the very different sense 'to
raise/bring up the question'. I assume philosophers would never be caught
dead using the expression in this sense, but mere mortals evidently don't