Did I Win an Argument?

Several years ago I began to read Mike Peterson’s excellent daily essay (editorial? article? blog?) named Comic Strip of the Day. (Look for the ones that start with CSotD.) I read it as faithfully as I read A Word A Day. Mike and I don’t necessarily always see eye to eye on politics, but I think that reading material I don’t necessarily agree with keeps me open-minded, and his stuff is thoughtful and well written, not the opinionated drivel I see in places like comment streams.

Anyway, early on, I read a misuse of the expression “beg the question,” so I wrote him a note about it. He did me the courtesy of a reply, saying, if I remember correctly, that everybody uses the expression that way nowadays, so he felt okay with that usage. That was the end of it; we didn’t have an actual argument.

Recently I ran into this: (the italics are his)

This prompts ( but does not beg ) the question of why they would hire Molly Ivins in the first place. 


Yay! To logicians and us curmudgeons, “prompts” is correct, “begs” is not. Good for him!

Here are a couple links to some of my posts on the subject in case you’re curious to know what I’m talking about:

What does “Beg the Question” Mean?
More Question Begging
Getting Things Right