Petitio principii: What's wrong?

Facta Philosophica 7 (1):19-34 (2005)
One of the most common strategies in philosophical dispute is that of accusing the opponent of begging the question, that is, of assuming or presupposing what is to be proved. Thus, it happens quite often that the credibility of a philosophical argument is infected by the suspicion of begging the question. In many cases it is an open question whether the suspicion is grounded, and the answer lurks somewhere in the dark of what the proponent of the argument does not say. This is why it may take years, or even centuries, before the begging of the question is brought to light. But few philosophers would deny that once it is established that a certain argument begs the question, that argument has to be rejected without hesitation: question-begging arguments are bad arguments, hence one should not appeal to them. Logicians traditionally classify begging the question as a fallacy, that is, as a bad reasoning that seems good at first sight. The fallacy is known under the name of petitio principii. This paper originated in our dissatisfaction with definitions of petitio principii found here and there in logic textbooks. Although it is uncontroversial that there is something wrong with begging the question, it is not clear from those definitions what is wrong.
Keywords petitio principii  begging the question  circularity
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3726/93519_19
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,678
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Fallacies.C. L. Hamblin - 1970 - Vale Press.
Introduction to Logic.Irving M. Copi - 1953 - Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Begging the Question.David H. Sanford - 1972 - Analysis 32 (6):197-199.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Can 'Big' Questions Be Begged?David Botting - 2011 - Argumentation 25 (1):23-36.
Begging the Question.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 1999 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (2):174 – 191.
Begging the Question.David H. Sanford - 1972 - Analysis 32 (6):197-199.
Skepticism, Question Begging, and Burden Shifting.Paul K. Moser - 2000 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 5:209-217.
Begging the Question and Bayesians.Brian Weatherson - 1999 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 30:687-697.
Can Religious Arguments "Persuade"?Jennifer Faust - 2008 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 63 (1/3):71-86.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

251 ( #13,729 of 2,169,650 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #60,873 of 2,169,650 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums