From wikipedia:

Begging the question is a type of circular reasoning, and often occurs in an indirect way such that the fallacy's presence is hidden, or at least not easily apparent.

Is that statement true? If so, it means all begging the questions are neccessarily circular reasoning. However, I know loaded question can also be a type of begging the question fallacy. But loaded questions are not neccessarily types of circular reason. So, how that can be true? For example,

Have you stopped beating your wife?

This is of course a loaded question and also it begs the question but obviously not circular reasoning.

Anything wrong in my understandings?

  • "Have you stopped beating your wife?" is not an argument... The issue is that in an argument with one or more premises and the conclusion, the conclusion is included (sometime camouflaged) among the premises: this is the "circularity". Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 12:23
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA how about "I think therefore, I am" ? I think it begs the question regarding what it meant by "I", but can we call it circular reasoning in anyway? Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 12:26
  • Perfet... original cogito is not an argument. See also this post. Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 12:36
  • A one-line argument is by definition "circular" because the single statement is both the premise and the conclusion. Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 12:37
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    Wikipedia's statement is correct, your reasoning is not. It goes like this: begging the question is circular, loaded question can beg the question, therefore, loaded question is circular. Do you see the problem? You are switching "can" to "is" in the conclusion, this is called modal fallacy. The correct conclusion is that loaded question can be circular. This said, if you want to interpret "beating your wife" question as an 'argument' then its implied 'conclusion' (that the beating took place) is presumed as a premise, so it is circular.
    – Conifold
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


The article on question-begging in Wikipedia is not particularly good as it currently stands. In fact the first paragraph contradicts itself. The lede for the article on circular reasoning is better.

Originally, what is translated into English as begging the question, refers to a fault in a dialectical argument in which the speaker assumes some premise that has not already been demonstrated to be true, or is not accepted as true by the other party. One form of question-begging involves using a premise that is so similar to the conclusion that in effect it assumes the conclusion itself. It is therefore closely related to circular reasoning.

A common definition is that a question-begging argument is one in which an argument's premises assume the truth of the conclusion. This is problematic because in any deductively valid argument, one might say that the premises always include the conclusion, albeit maybe indirectly. But we would not want to say that all valid arguments beg the question.

A better account would be to say that in a persuasive argument, one has better reasons or grounds to accept the premises than one has for accepting the conclusion. Therefore there is a flow of justification from the premises towards the conclusion. The premises support the conclusion. In a question-begging argument there is no such flow: there is no better reason to accept the premises than one already has to accept the conclusion.

Question-begging is not a formal fallacy, but an epistemic failing. In fact, question-begging or circular arguments are valid, since if the premises hold, the conclusion follows by necessity.

  • If so, "I think therefore, I exist" - in that case "I think" part is more persuasive than that of "I exist" thus, "I think therefore, I exist" should be considered a valid and non-circular argument. No? Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 13:48
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    I would consider it non-circular. According to Descartes it is indubitable that I think, and on that basis I may reasonably draw the inference that I exist. Of course the argument can be criticised, but it is not circular.
    – Bumble
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 14:38

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