begging the question

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The procedure of assuming what is at issue in an argument. Although the charge is commonly made, there is no logical definition of those kinds of argument that beg the question. In the widest sense, any valid argument might be thought to beg the question, since its premises already ‘contain’ its conclusion. Yet valid arguments can and do move reasonable people to accept their conclusions. The best definition is that an argument begs the question if it contains a definite premise or move that would not be accepted by any reasonable person who is initially prone to deny the conclusion.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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