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    #1

    Beg the question

    Hello,

    I have looked up what beg the question means but, still, I cannot see how the idiom works in the context. Can anybody help me?

    He had become a fine psychologist as well; he had penetrated every blind alley of his father's mind, and to that mind he was merciless. He, too, was a fanatic. He really wished (in a way) to avenge the tortures of his boyhood; and perhaps he felt that his emancipation was not complete until he had converted his torturer. However this may be, year after year with ever-gathering strength, he hurled battalion on battalion at the squat blind citadel -- to foreseen repulse. It was probably the parable of the importunate widow, or the endurance which his horrible boyhood had taught him, that made him continue. It is impossible to argue with a Plymouth Brother, for his religion is really axiomatic to him, so that everything he says begs the question, and you cannot get him to see that it does so. This is not so unusual as it appears; it requires a very good mind to acquiesce, even for purposes of argument, in non-Euclidean geometry, so fixed is the mind in its certainty that the whole is greater than its part, and the like.
    It is good to hear them discuss anything.

    Aleister Crowley, The Death Bed Repetance, 1916

    Thank you very much.
    Not a Teacher

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    #2

    Re: Beg the question

    What does "beg the question" mean? It means to assume what you are trying to prove as part of the argument in your proof.

    He's is saying that this "Plymouth Brother" is so deeply ensconced in his religion that every part of his belief is used to prove some other part, and vice versa and all the way around.

    You will find many native speakers use this phrase, incorrectly, to mean that something "raises a question." It's incorrect and should be avoided. For example: "It was snowing so hard today it begs the question why they didn't cancel school." This is an incorrect use of the phrase.

  1. Roman55's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Beg the question

    I agree broadly with that, although I think both definitions have now found their way into the dictionary. Having said that, I don't think there would have been any doubt about the meaning in 1916.

    This is an example of something that I rarely say anymore because the risk of being misunderstood has become too high.
    I am not a teacher

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    #4

    Re: Beg the question

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    You will find many native speakers use this phrase, incorrectly, to mean that something "raises a question." It's incorrect and should be avoided. For example: "It was snowing so hard today it begs the question why they didn't cancel school." This is an incorrect use of the phrase.
    However, this usage does seem to be winning nowadays. People introduce a cliché so frequently with to coin a phrase that I think both of these are probably lost causes.

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