Begging the Question

If you google “begs the question” or “begging the question,” one of the first links you will come across is the Wikipedia entry for beg the question.

The first paragraph of that entry is very clear:

To beg a question means to assume the conclusion of an argument — a type of circular reasoning. This is an informal fallacy, in which an arguer includes the conclusion to be proven within a premise of the argument, often in an indirect way such that its presence within the premise is hidden or at least not easily apparent.

Note that it does not reference “the raising of a question, philosophical or rhetorical, in response to a statement or learned concept.”

The reason it does not reference this is because begging the question is a logical fallacy, not the act of raising a question in response to a situation or learned datum.

Journalists — please stop using “begs the question” when you mean “raises the question.”

Logicians and purveyors of fine writing alike will silently thank you then mark you as “ally” in the continued fight against haughty wording that is fully incorrect in its usage.

Keith Hamilton