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Begging the Question vs. Raising the Question: Understanding a commonly misused phrase

Updated on September 29, 2011
Funny movie.  Anne Hathaway is hawtness. (getsmartmovie.warnerbros.com)
Funny movie. Anne Hathaway is hawtness. (getsmartmovie.warnerbros.com)

How to Use "Begging the Question"

(If you're in a big hurry for the basics here, skip down to the section entitled "It has nothing to do with wanting another question.")

I watched the recent movie version of Get Smart last night, and early on the character of Maxwell Smart used the phrase "begs the question" wrong. I see this all the time and, being the pedantic piece of crap that I am, I cringed a little on the inside.

I realize that that character is supposed to be funny, but the context and delivery of the line were clearly not intended as humor, which means, or at least suggests, that the writers themselves don't understand the proper usage either. Now, I realize that language changes - I've covered this evolving language thing several times before in other articles on grammar - but the speed with which some errors rocket towards common acceptance is startling. What's worse, as misuse becomes quickly "established" on the Internet, the original meanings are lost. This is a problem, because when there are no words to describe an idea, often that idea becomes lost or, perhaps redundantly, indescribable. If there is no term or phrase to encompass an idea, how do we contemplate it and examine it, or even call it out.

Try to fathom this sonnet without knowing what "love" means in the few places W.S. uses it.

Love Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments; love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no, it is an ever-fixèd mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand'ring bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, or no man ever loved.

--William Shakespeare

A Matter of Meaning

An example of this is "love." I want you to imagine writing or talking about "love" for a moment without actually using the word "love" (this includes foreign words for love, or slang terms for love.) Try to talk about it without the word for it. Describe your feelings for your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or even your children without using it. Go ahead and try.

The very best you can do will be to write or speak out something very, very long and complicated. It will take you a ton of words to encompass the whole idea. Which is exactly why there is a word that came about in language to embody the idea, a code if you will, a symbol basically to neatly hold together a rather large idea. Imagine how useless the word "love" would be if somehow through regular misuse on the Internet the word became synonymous with only "sex." If through constant and endless repetition "love" was used in place of "sex" eventually the romantic, eternal, devoted and caring aspects that we think of now would erode. "I love you" eventually becomes "I want to bone you" or "I hump you with some regularity."

If that happened, the idea of love as we know it is lost. If someone said, "My grandfather loved my grandmother for seventy-five years," it wouldn't mean the same thing anymore. I mean, sure, they probably did the nasty many times over the course of seventy-five years, but let's be honest, that's clearly not what is meant by what was originally said. Either a new word would have to be devised and then spread around and eventually universally accepted as the new "language symbol" to embody the love we know and think of now, or the concept becomes muddy again, lost as a defined and encoded complexity and subject to long-winded attempts to describe it thoroughly each time anyone wants to talk about it again.

There is a word for this that goes beyond "ancestral skull," involving meaning, use, context and cultural history.  We don't know it, because we have no cultural relevance for it, no recurrent need.  That is why there is no word translation for this
There is a word for this that goes beyond "ancestral skull," involving meaning, use, context and cultural history. We don't know it, because we have no cultural relevance for it, no recurrent need. That is why there is no word translation for this

Language is a Tool to Encapsulate Ideas

I read once that a culture that has no word for something has no concept of or need for the thing for which they have no word. An example of this is easy to give. Think of the term "microwave oven." You know what that is, right? Because it has relevance to you. Now, find some tribesman in the deep jungles of Brazil or some other remote region of the world. How much talking would you have to do before you could give that word any meaning for him. He damn sure doesn't have a word for it. And he has no need of one.

The same works in reverse. Do you have a word to describe the oldest male ancestor in your family who has died and whose skull you have boiled the tissue from and, after a long and complicated religious ceremony to inscribe symbols on it, you wear around your neck sometimes to ward off dangerous spirits or curry favor from the gods? Ah, you don't, eh? The rainforest man does. It's a nonsense word for you, but for him it is short, precise and straight to the point.

So, with all that said, I can get back to my point about "begging the question."

It Has Nothing to Do With Wanting Another Question

People these days (like in the Get Smart movie) commonly use the phrase "begging the question" or "begs the question" to mean that one original idea raises an obvious follow-up question. Here's an example:

Original idea: Out of three hundred girls, not one would dance with Christoph Reilly.

Obvious Follow-up Question: "Why wouldn't they dance with him?" OR "What is wrong with Christoph Reilly?"

SO, what happens all too often in modern English is someone will say something like this:

Gosh, those girls just blew Christoph Reilly off. That really begs the question, 'what did he do wrong?'

SAYING THAT IS INCORRECT

Sure we want to know why the girls are being so mean, but wanting to know why is NOT "begging the question" as to why.
Sure we want to know why the girls are being so mean, but wanting to know why is NOT "begging the question" as to why.

Now, here's where the whole thing gets messed up. The reasoning behind wanting to ask these questions is not wrong. It is quite obvious to want to follow up information about Christoph Reilly. We immediately come up with questions in our head regarding his being unable to find a dance partner amongst three hundred women. In fact, it is even fair in metaphorical language to suggest that such a circumstance might beg for an answer to the questions that arise. However, the phrase "begs the question" DOES NOT APPLY HERE even though it might make sense on the surface of the words.

The situation of Christoph and those non-dancing women RAISES the question: "Why won't they dance with him?" But it does not BEG the question as it pertains the established, encoded meaning of the phrase "begging the question."

“To Beg the Question” refers to a Specific Idea.

The phrase "begging the question" is a phrase akin to the word "love" as we discussed at first. "Begging the question" is an old language symbol, if you will allow this idea, and it is meant to apply to an argumentative fallacy that is circular in nature. Here's an example:

All chicks should try to get with Shadesbreath because Shadesbreath is totally awesome and chicks dig him.

Now THAT is a statement that "begs the question." Notice there is no actual question in this statement. It is a declaration. That statement is made as if it were a claim supported by a "fact." Here, let's break it down:

Statement/Claim: All chicks should try to get with Shadesbreath

Reasons or support for claim: Because Shadesbreath is totally awesome and chicks dig him.

Chicks Dig Shadesbreath.

Women SHOULD want to be with Shadesbreath is a true statement, BUT, just saying it isn't enough logically.
Women SHOULD want to be with Shadesbreath is a true statement, BUT, just saying it isn't enough logically.

The problem with that statement and support is that the support for the claim assumes the claim as its reasoning. How can I say that women should want to be with me and then go on to support that claim by saying that the reason women should want to be with me is because women want to be with me? In essence, that's what the above claim says, like this:

Women should want to be with Shadesbreath because women want to be with Shadesbreath.

THAT is "begging the question."

Now, not all examples of that are so cut and dry. Sometimes they are a great deal muddier, which is why "begging the question" is such a common practice in argument; it's easy to fool people with this kind of argument. Let's look at a couple of more complex examples.

Coors Light is awesome, by the way.
Coors Light is awesome, by the way.

Example 1:

You should not drink Coors Light because it is a crappy beer.

Claim: You should not drink Coors Light.

Reasoning: Because it is crappy.

The word "crappy" here is meant to invoke the idea of things that one should not drink, right? I mean, who wants to drink something that is crappy? So basically, the word "crappy" is a stand-in for the idea of "things that should not be drunk."

Which means, in essence the statement in Example 1 really says: You should not drink Coors Light because it is a beer you should not drink.

It "begs the question."

Until actual reasons are given for why Coors Light is crappy, that statement is a logical fallacy. Now, if you say "You should not drink Coors Light because it has a low alcohol content compared to other beers," well, now you've made an argument that can be said to have grounds in something other than repeating the original phrase. While the statement assumes a value in higher alcohol content over lower, which can be debated, the logic of the statement is not relying on the idea of "you should not drink it" to support the idea of "things you should not drink."

We've heard similar logic before.
We've heard similar logic before.

Example 2:

We should bomb Iran before they bomb us first.

Claim: We should bomb Iran.

Support: before they bomb us first.

Assumption: They are going to bomb us first.

The assertion that "we" should act to bomb "them" relies on the belief that "they" are going to do to us what we are going to do to them. This is a perfect example of a "circle" in circular logic. If you take out the Iran and exchange it with a pronoun, the sentence reads like this:

We should bomb them before they bomb us.

Now, could it not be said that either side could write this sentence? Clearly it can. And where in that sentence is there any actual evidence or support for the claim, regardless of who says it? Emotionally this sentence might make sense, but it actually has no logical ground. The reason for us bombing them is the exact same reason they have for bombing us. Which means either both parties have a reason for bombing each other, neither party has a reason for bombing each other, or maybe one side does and the other side doesn't but there is no evidence to support a claim. In other words, this statement actually doesn't say anything. It is begging the question. In essence, it's begging of itself, the idea saying, "Believe what I say because I'm the one saying it."

THIS is raising a question.
THIS is raising a question.

Raising a Question

In a nut-shell, the idea of "begging the question" is not about begging for a new question or a follow up question. That idea is better embodied by the idea of "raising a question." Example:

Rumors of nuclear technology being developed in Iran raises the question of whether or not we should consider a preemptive strike.

Now, regardless of your opinion on how this plays out in reality, there is a logic to this statement. Those rumors of nuclear technology DO raise the question of "should we do something or not?" So, that is a true and reasonable statement. The question is "raised." However, the question is not "begged" in the established sense of terms used to describe certain types of logical fallacies.

The mistake (the difference) seems minor. And as I said before, the idea of one concept "begging" a secondary follow up question is not hard to recognize, and it is certainly easy to see how the original logic-related phrase "begging the question" has come to be misunderstood and misused. However, the phrase really does mean something very distinct in terms of argument and debate: it's a form of rhetorical device that is used to mislead. If we allow the term to vanish into the sea of eroding clarity that the Internet has underway, many important ideas will become more and more difficult to discuss.

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    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California

      The sophists would all die miserable political deaths and the nation would rise upon a tide of honest debate and genuine approaches to problem solving. Imagine the horror of it all. :D

    • Greg Sage profile image

      Greg Sage 6 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      One of many often misunderstood terms.

      Good explanation.

      Careful, though, demystification of rhetoric for the masses could be a game-changer in many fields. How would politicians survive?

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California

      Well, that's a delightful thing to hear. Thank you. That's really very kind. I'm hoping one day to live full time on my fiction, but, well, we'll see. For now I am content just to find a reader here and there and, like now, be warmed by nice comments.

    • profile image

      vernacular 6 years ago

      Hello Shadesbreath,

      I just happened upon this page ... wasn't looking for this content, never heard of Hubpages before. I was so delighted that I created an account just to write a brief comment to you. Thank you for taking the time to write this down, whatever your motivation. Your clarity of thought and your very precise use of words bespeaks a true gift, an excellent education, or most likely both. I would guess that you are educated in philosophy, given the precision with which you articulate your thoughts. I applaud you, and I am envious of your talent. Believe me or not, your talent is not commonplace. I sincerely hope you prosper from it, and continue to shine some light into the world. We need what you have, if we have ears to hear it.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California

      Hah, you're welcome for the grumpiness fix. And you know, that's very interesting; I hadn't thought of the Newspeak angle, but you're right, there is that. Sophistry, Newspeak, secular eloquence... the reduction of culture as viewed and enacted through language. Could write tons of hubs on that. Although probably would get the ads turned off on them (HP is cutting off ads on stuff a lot lately, speaking of failure of language).

    • profile image

      Kevin Schofield 6 years ago

      Yes, you're right, I hear people "begging the question" all over the place. When I point out that what they're really doing is inviting the question or raising the question they look at me in bafflement. I then ask them the the hackneyed question: "When did you stop beating your wife?" And if they don't grasp the point after that, I give up.

      Seriously, though, I agree with your concern that English is being insidiously and systematically bastardized. And with each distortion and mutilation of the language, the "Newspeak" that Orwell warned against gains ground and progressively erodes our capacity to think.

      Thanks for a great grumpiness fix. Brilliant hub! Kind regards, Kev.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      A fine compliment from one who writes as well as you. :)

    • TheGlassSpider profile image

      TheGlassSpider 7 years ago from On The Web

      *sigh* A pedantic piece of crap after my own heart. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who ponders the slow degradation of language and its implications for thought and communication. I thought this was quite well written and easy to understand...but I am also familiar with the definition. I'm glad you wrote this! Excellent work.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      It was originally "petitio principii." I've never come across the phrase as you've written it. You may want to check your source.

    • profile image

      martha 7 years ago

      originally the phrase was "beggar the question"

    • Shadesbreath profile image
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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Thanks, Arthur, that's very kind of you to say. The upside is, there are craptons of other abused language out there, so, your options are hardly limited lol. Thanks for the read and nice comment.

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 8 years ago

      I found this article searching for 'misused phrases' because I was planning to write an article on this very misused phrase as it's always irked me. I see there's no need now, though. I couldn't hope to write anything clearer. Great job!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Well, being that I have exquisite taste and at least a half dollop of common sense, consider my diction and sentiments suitably ammended.

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      If you have any taste or common sense, you'd love her (-:

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Your mom obviously kicks ass and I am certain I would like her immediately.

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      Great hub - clearly put, and it touches on one of my mother's language pet peeves (-:

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Thanks for the read, Mezo. Frankly, the more English you learn, the more confounding the grammar becomes. Then, once you learn enough of it, you realize that there aren't rules but more, general principles to be ignored or not as you choose. lol

    • Mezo profile image

      Motaz 8 years ago from Egypt

      very interesting...English is not my first language so i don't get to read and know such "deep" grammar info....

      an amazing hub, Now I get it, I enjoyed it,

      (except for the Shakespear's part..of course i didn't understand one word!)

    • Benson Yeung profile image

      Benson Yeung 8 years ago from Hong Kong

      Thanks, again, I've learned something about questions. To be more specific, I've just learned that I don't know anything about questions.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Yeah, Gwendy. I've heard of Lulu, actually heard good things about it. If I ever give up on brick and mortar publishers, I'll might check them out. I'm so old-school though. And stubborn.

    • gwendymom profile image

      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Shades, you sexy brain. I miss you! Anyway I stopped by for a reason, not just to stare at your cute spinal cord. I stumbled upon a website the other day called LULU.com and thought of you. It is a self publishing website and looks pretty interesting. Someone else told me about another called createspace.com, it seems a little better but honestly I didn't take alot of time to check them out thouroughly. Anyway you have a pretty big fan base already so I don't think it would be too much of a prob to sell your stuff, I know I would buy. I love reading your stuff. Well just something to think about. Hope to see you around soon.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Heh, yeah it does. Someone up there pointed out that this poor phrase may be lost beyond hope, and is probably right. Someone needed to do it earlier... and louder.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 8 years ago

      Thank you for attempting to educate readers about proper use of this term. Your webpage begs the question: Why didn't somebody do this earlier?

      Oh, damn.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Watch your language Reilly, as you know I am terribly easily offended, particularly by sexual inuendo and profane language.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Damn!

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

      I thought I felt someone back there.

    • Pam Roberson profile image

      Pam Roberson 8 years ago from Virginia

      I can't wait for you to come back to do some bantering! It's impossible for you to write anything that sucks. Although it would be really good for my ego if you did. ;) lol!

      LOL, getting paid for a real job while you write hubs is always good! I'm very interested in reading any serious ones that you write as well. Hell, I just like your writing.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Hi Pam! I miss the fun banter from over the summer with you and the rest of these crazies too. I'll get settled in and come harass people again. In fact, I wrote another hub the other day, but haven't re-read it yet or made pics. Hopefully it doesn't suck lol. I wrote a business hub under a more serious name JD66, but it's not funny or amusing in any way. But, did it at work so technically, I got paid to write it. :)

    • Pam Roberson profile image

      Pam Roberson 8 years ago from Virginia

      I miss you. :( I hope you're doing well. :)

      I'm following BT around a little bit because he has a rather smart looking behind to follow. Glad he stopped in here. :)

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

      Never better! You need to hurry back, though. There's still kind of a big hole here!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Heh, yeah. I will again too. Adjusting to my new work schedule has left me less time for stuff. Hope all is well in Jackalope land.

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

      Hey! You look familiar. Didn't you used to play a bombastic know-it-all on the internet? I never forget a face...err...brain...you get the idea.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      I missed the window of opportunity. Hope all is well with you tho. Haven't talked to ya in eons.

    • gwendymom profile image

      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Shades, get your ass on here tonight and lets do some hubjacking!

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

      After reading this hub, I will never again utter the phrase "I love Pudding!" Otherwise, awesome hub, as usual.

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      His name is Peter Stampfel of Daw Books. Go get him. lol

    • gwendymom profile image

      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Ok, but I have to read it. I love your stories here but getting to read a novel would be like a readers heaven!!!! I'm just giddy with anticipation!!!!!

      I should get my butt kicking boots out an whoop the asses of whomever turned you down, the bastards!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Soon as it gets published I will make a big full of myself scene on HubPages, I promise. It got turned down by Daw, and I'm still messing with a revised synopsis before sending it off to TOR.

    • gwendymom profile image

      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Shades, I just read on another hub that you have authored a novel. I want to read it! Please, and pretty please with sugar on top!!!!!

      I can beg more if need be!

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Heh, heh. Thanks. :)

    • Editorial Nation profile image

      Editorial Nation 8 years ago

      Shades, you are my hero.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 8 years ago from South Africa

      Shades only you have the kind of mind to try that website as is! In typical Shades fashion and it urns out to be an absolutely hilarious site and I think all the key words are the source for an absolutely hilarious hub!

      What a mind you have sir!

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      When you are right you are so right?

      Very funny, but what is a "glurge"?

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      LOL! Now that IS funny.... :)

      Gotta love snopes...my life would be one long hellacious never ending chain email without them to do the dirty work of telling my sisters they are retarded (and that it isn't genetic).

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Agvulpes, they had good wine and mead though, and probably comfy togas, so, it all balances out.  And they had women so hawt they were willing to fight ten year long wars for them.

      Not sure where the F-word really came from.  I suppose I could bust out the old Oxford English Dictionary and find out for sure.  But Imma go look at Sixty's site first.  (Maybe that F-word thing is a potential hub, eh?).

      lol, click on Sixty's link without fixing the asterixes. LOL. Kinda funny really.

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      great site sixtorso - thanks.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 8 years ago from South Africa

      Hi guys check this out

      http://www.snopes.com/language/acronyms/f**k.asp

      Replace the two asterisks with the correct spelling before invoking the URL.

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      I know that when I use the "f" word "Frankly" I am slightly pi....d off - and am treading the explanatory path. cheers.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      I was lead to believe that it came about from the german word which I thinks has an i instead of a u because it only came into common use in aus after ww2?

      Hear anything like that?

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 8 years ago from South Africa

      As a matter of interest the f_ word is reputed to have it's origins when in the days of yore, street women were prosecuted "for unlwaful carnal knowledge" which was abbreviated. BTW it seems the men were not prosecuted for consorting with the wenches.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      "If I've learned anything from reading all the old stuff, its that those guys were absolutely and totally, without any exceptions at all in any way, exactly like me and you today."

      I'll bet they didn't have good beer, jeans, t-shirts?

      But they did have hawt women, right?

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Did you read this while I was typing?

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      It's not a plug in type mouse Aggie...it's the built in pad on his laptop. But I started a forum for him to hopefully get him some results.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Well if he's got a stuck pointer I feel for him.

       could be something as simple as a mouse plug come out. You know what cats are?

      Yeah I'm leaving that 10ft pole alone as well! You never know where it's been.

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      I asked him that in the email I sent him...but I'm not sure if my emails are getting through. So....I'm not sure. I would assume that would be the logical first thing to try though...

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Agvulpes, I am absolutely certain that they had a perfect and exact equivalent of the F-word, Shit, Asshole and all the rest.  If I've learned anything from reading all the old stuff, its that those guys were absolutely and totally, without any exceptions at all in any way, exactly like me and you today.  The idea that those guys were "primitive" or "moral" or "refined" or any other romantic or demeaning or glorifying anything else to make them different from us at all is total fiction.  We are exactly the same animal they were.  Knowing that really makes it easy to live today, makes it so cool to appreciate the Romans and the Franks and Huns and so many others, and it makes it really amazing to realize how smart those guys were to have us still quoting them today.

      Mighty Mom, if he had a ten foot pointer, he wouldn't need you to touch it either. He could just reach out and touch you.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      A stuck pointer? I'm not touching that one with a 10 ft. pole.

      Did he try rebooting?

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Just FYI - Got an email from Christoph. He's fine...has hot water, but seems to have a minor computer problem due to a cat that slept on his laptop computer while it was running. Now his pointer is stuck....

      He said something about making it on here, despite a stuck pointer...but I haven't seen a post by him. So...

      If anyone has any pointers on the pointer could you point it out to him? Otherwise this FYI might be a bit pointless.....

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Shades, said in the wrong tone of voice it could also get you punch in the mouth!

      Do you ever wonder or actually know what Aristotle and Plato would have used for "expletive deleted"?

    • Shadesbreath profile image
      Author

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      No, Agvulpes, "What the F- is that supposed to mean?" is the perfect response to almost anything said in a bar, and it can easily stand in for "begging the question," "raising the question," "straw man," "red herring," or pretty much any other form of crap argument at all.  "What the F- is that supposed to mean?" is actually the most universal argumentative phrase ever invented and it is a testimony to the sophistication and progress that we have now. It's too complicated and advanced; Aristotle and Plato and those other old guys couldn't fathom such a universally perfect argumentative form.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Oh right shades I'm gonna stand up in a pub when someone makes a stupid statement, and say "that would be begging the question" more like:

      "What the F... that supposed to mean?"

      How would you rate that analogy kind sir?

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Misty - You would have enjoyed this religious debate as it really wasn't that religious at all. Mostly it was about roast beef sandwiches. When Mark and Shades spar it's a treat to watch...I basically just played with the Ben Bush mousie.

      And noooo...Mr. Bunny is rather delicate, especially after recovering from the blender incident. I think he's afraid of kitchen utensils in general...

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Shades, if you check the Santa hub out now you will see I have done my best to give you what you requested in a new picture second to last at the bottom of the hub. Sorry it isn't better, but I only have basic programs on this computer. Hope you like the compromise though :)

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      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Hey shades, I am sorry I didn't get back to you earlier, it has been a crazy day. I have never seen a cowboy in anything but wranglers, but I have never seen a california surfer cowboy either. That is the kind of life I like, but it can be kind of a pain in the ass sometimes too.

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      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hope you like it and don't mind the photo of you that I used :)

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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Can I BEG for the definition of that inscribed ancestral skull? Rest of the hub and comments fascinating too, of course (as always!). But man. I'd trade my microwave any day for one of those...

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Oh good, I could use a diversion Misty. I'm on my way to check it out. I wOnder if it will get hijacked and become the chatroom for the next few days lol.

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      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Very funny, looks like I have been missing out again, but simply can't face a religious battle on a forum as it is usually like running through mud with wellies on.

      Wow, Shades, I never knew you could ride, (horses I mean). Cool! I used to have a horse, but very much doubt I could go roping cattle from one without hanging myself by accident.

      Spryte, like the idea of only using the flat cheesegrater as an 'ass flap', but love Shades idea even more of using two as a loin cloth, hilarious, although no doubt uncomfortable I guess. At least you could use Mr Bunny on it and possibly play the grater like a musical instrument, you know, a zither or something!!

      BTW, forgive the flagrant self promotion, but have any of you viewed my 'Worlds Worst Santas' Hub yet, as I deliberately featured, Shades, Christoph, Ananta and Sixty all dressed up in Santa gear? Hope y'all see the funny side :)

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      LOL I saw, and yes, he used it in the "modern" sense rather than the traditional sense. But I wouldn't call him on it, his greater point is far more interesting than me taking a chance to play grammar nazi (which I really don't do in the course of conversations unless someone is just being an a-hole, then I don't care.)

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      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      ok...... got it!

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      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Shh...how the hell would I know? :) I NEVER use that phrase....just to be on the safe side.

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      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      but spryte did he use it in context? lol

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      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Mark just used "begs the question" on the atheist hub... :)

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Permission granted. /cheers

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      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      i particularly like "snivelling dialect" & "deductable ambulation" - with your permision I will have to try and work them in somewhere before they are either diluted or changed beyond all recoqnition. cheers.

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      I can just see the masses ruining those too: Coat hair coatery (place to buy fur coats); Rotating radius nation (a Doppler radar system display large enough for the country); snivelling dialect (the way people sound when they talk with a stuffy nose); and deductable ambulation (what your insurance doesn't cover for a trip to the hospital in an ambulance). So, as good as these are, they are too easily ruined by the Internet I bet.

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      Hi Shadesbreath - thanks for your words re beg versus raised - I both enjoyed and learned. Thought to try and help out with your need for a more "nuanced" version of the term "circular logic" Really hope this helps! lol - coherent coterie, rotating ratiocination, swivelling dialetic, deductic perambulation. cheers.

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Yeah, these crazies hi-jack comments threads all over HP and from there who the heck knows where we end up.

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      Barbara 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Wow, your reprimand is so far back that I've forgotten what it was you said about what I thought your example of love meant when you didn't really say what I figured you intended at all. Sorry for the insensitive read.

      And yes, love of licorice does deserve a category all its own, but in truth, words cannot express its incredible and titillating essence...

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      LOL  the only time I ever wore wranglers and a hat was WHEN we actually roped for competition, and during the couple of years I was "transitioning" to the real world and had to get a job at a Western Retail store because that was the only place in the city I had the clothes to work at.  lol.  To me, Wranglers and Hat is the costume people wore to try to be what we actually were growing up.  I guess that's the turn-off for me, so to speak.  Plus, I hated getting up at the ass-crack of dawn and dealing with ornery animals, frosty grass the soaks your feet, the heat of summer while out stretching fence... bleh.  Although, I will say, after a few decades in the city, some of that isn't looking so bad now.  heh.

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      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      I am trying to picture this in my mind, I bet that guy was having some serious doubt until he actually saw you heel. I wonder if he thought someone was trying to play a joke on him or something. LOL. I was just fascinated, like I said I just never thought about you like that, and now I understand why. It is kind of weird though that you didn't like that lifestyle, usually it is generations of cowboys, and they seems to like that lifestyle, it's not very often that one decides to go another direction. I could now see you as like a Baxter Black sort of guy after having read your little poem on CR's hub. I think you would have been great at that.

      Damn, I wish you had a pic though, I'd really like to see you in some wranglers and a cowboy hat. You might have to peel me off of you. LOL.

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Yeah, I didn't like that kind of lifestyle.  I learned on the ranch, but never did it in competition.  We did it for actual work, you know, see a sick one while you're riding fields, go get it, doctor it (assuming a minor thing like a fox tail in the eye or something), and let it go.  It's kind of funny, all the pictures of me growing up as a kid, pics of me sitting on steers, branding, riding whatever, have me in surf t-shirts and bright 80's colored (turqouis or pink lol) baseball caps.  Used to be funny to see all the "wanna-be" cowboys in their fancy boots and hats who couldn't throw a rope or even open a gate while mounted, and here'd come the kid in the pink hat and Sex-Wax t-shirt get it handled lol.  When I got to college (the first time out, 18-19), I met a guy who was on the rodeo team at Cal Poly and needed a heeler for this small roping he'd signed up for.  Something happened to his heeler, and someone told him about me.  You should have seen the look on his face when he found me riding a skateboard with the other surf rats in an empty swimming pool. LOL.  But, being desperate, he asked me anyway. 

      We took second place.  lol.

      So, I ended up heeling with him for the rest of the year and over the course of the next summer.  But our dreams of going pro were limited by the fact that we were only good enough to win local events.  Mostly because I was a ranch roper, not a competitive one.  He'd had years of practice with a clock ticking; I just knew what to do.  We did ok, kept ourselves from running out of beer, but there was no way either of us were good enough to go big time, definitely not me.

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      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      So, team roper huh? When? How old where you? Did you guys do any good? Do you still do it as a hobby? Got any pics?

      I never figured you for a team roper, I know your profil says you were raised on a cattle ranch but I kind of figured that maybe you just didn't like that kind of lifestyle or something like that, actually I'm not sure what I thought, but it wasn't that you were a team roper.

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      lol, I'm just messing around between doing boring stuff on my computer.  Feel free to squeeze what juice you can out of this old fruit. 

      And yeah, Spryte, that's awesome. Barbarella for sure (except not traitorous obviously).

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      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Mozzarella, I like it. I will try and get the pics soon.

      Shades, are you off sarting fights?

      Let me know when you are done outwitting and out wording your opponent and I get all the juicy details I was looking for.

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      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Hmmm...So instead of Barbarella she could be Mozzarella!...or some other cheese related heroine.

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      You could string two of the flat ones together and make a cool loin cloth type of thing.

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      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Misty - I think the 4 sided cheese grater would make a great hat or helmet and the flat two sided grater should be reserved for the ass flap. What do you think?

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      I'mma lookin' lol

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      gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Shades, I did not get you cornered today, but believe me it is coming, so be on the lookout.

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      lol yep, you did.

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      lori763 8 years ago from SWFL

      This hub is great because it is like mine (did I get it?)

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      Dave McClure 8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

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      Clive Fagan 8 years ago from South Africa

      Christophe gets you all dead to rights!

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      This still cracks me up (in a pissed off kind of way!). And I never said anything about revenge. Heck, I've never been this popular so keep it up. I do have a new hub though, with a few gentle pokes at all of y'all!

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      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      More laughs always veeeerrrryyy good :)

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Misty, Gwendy has promised us pictures, so no worries, you'll find out soon. As for Christoph and revenge: Just means more laughs for all of us.

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      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Great Hub Shades, I admit to being a little bit like Gwendy, after 35 my brain turned to mush, but I think I kinda get the gist of what you are conveying. Very funny too, especially with the Christoph reference, you sure know how to set yourself up for revenge don't you???

      Gwnedy and Spryte, I just need to know if your cheese graters are the flat variety, or the the 3 dimensional cube variety with various grating and slicing surfaces. Either one produces an interesting vision when I think of it strapped to both ass and head :)

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      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Gwendy, I have to tell you, I'm with Spryte in wanting the pictures of you in the cheesegrater. I mean, you did bring it up, so technically, you are obligated to provide photos.

      Sally: It is amazing what they DON'T teach now. They're so busy working in all the new PC ideas and modern sensibility that they don't teach any of the fundamentals. People can quote obscure writers whose works haven't managed to survive the test of even 100 years time yet and know nothing of the works that have guided thought for millenia. Not saying the new stuff shouldn't be read, but it seems absurd to let the proven stuff go in favor of the maybes. Teach both, but start with the basics so the new stuff has context and greater potential for meaning.

      I'm hoping the Earthquake holds off a bit longer, I'll be honest. I need to store more beer and bottled water first.

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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      In the 1890s, and for a few decades later, a book on a child's Christmas list, odd as it may seem, would have been The Game of Logic by Lewis Carroll. Today, unless you are enrolled in a Jesuit academy, your chances of being introduced to formal logic at an early age are just about nil. And what person under the age of 30 can say anything about Aristotle except, I've heard the name (if that)?

      Since mostly nobody today can dissect a statement (false or true) using formal logic, and mostly nobody understands the classical rules of argument, the understanding of the term *begging the question*, I agree, is probably all but dead to mostly everybody.

      Now I'm waiting for the earthquake. :)