A few months ago, I was casting around my brain for a title for a music-related post on my blog, and came up with “Begging the Musical Question” – a play on the well-known phrase begging the question.
But something about the way I wanted to use the phrase nagged at me, so I looked up what it actually meant. I had thought the begging in begging the question meant something along the lines of “posing.” Boy, was I wrong. Begging the question – according to my copy of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable – is to “assume a proposition which, in reality, involves the conclusion” – in other words, to use circular logic. The entry in Brewer’s provides this example: if you say that parallel lines will never meet because they are parallel, you’ve begged the question. Continue reading