Aristotle - The Organon TOPICA Book 8 Part 13

People seem to beg their original question in five ways

1. Of the ways in which a questioner may beg the original question and also beg contraries the true account has been given in the Analytics; but an account on the level of general opinion must be given now.

2. People appear to beg their original question in five ways: the first and most obvious being if any one begs the actual point requiring to be shown: this is easily detected when put in so many words; but it is more apt to escape detection in the case of different terms, or a term and an expression, that mean the same thing. A second way occurs whenever any one begs universally something which he has to demonstrate in a particular case: suppose (e.g.) he were trying to prove that the knowledge of contraries is one and were to claim that the knowledge of opposites in general is one: for then he is generally thought to be begging, along with a number of other things, that which he ought to have shown by itself. A third way is if any one were to beg in particular cases what he undertakes to show universally: e.g. if he undertook to show that the knowledge of contraries is always one, and begged it of certain pairs of contraries: for he also is generally considered to be begging independently and by itself what, together with a number of other things, he ought to have shown. Again, a man begs the question if he begs his conclusion piecemeal: supposing e.g. that he had to show that medicine is a science of what leads to health and to disease, and were to claim first the one, then the other; or, fifthly, if he were to beg the one or the other of a pair of statements that necessarily involve one other; e.g. if he had to show that the diagonal is incommensurable with the side, and were to beg that the side is incommensurable with the diagonal.

3. The ways in which people assume contraries are equal in number to those in which they beg their original question. For it would happen,

4. firstly, if any one were to beg an opposite affirmation and negation;

5. secondly, if he were to beg the contrary terms of an antithesis, e.g. that the same thing is good and evil;

6. thirdly, suppose any one were to claim something universally and then proceed to beg its contradictory in some particular case, e.g. if having secured that the knowledge of contraries is one, he were to claim that the knowledge of what makes for health or for disease is different; or,

7. fourthly, suppose him, after postulating the latter view, to try to secure universally the contradictory statement. Again,

8. fifthly, suppose a man begs the contrary of the conclusion which necessarily comes about through the premisses laid down; and this would happen suppose, even without begging the opposites in so many words, he were to beg two premisses such that this contradictory statement that is opposite to the first conclusion will follow from them. The securing of contraries differs from begging the original question in this way: in the latter case the mistake lies in regard to the conclusion; for it is by a glance at the conclusion that we tell that the original question has been begged: whereas contrary views lie in the premisses, viz. in a certain relation which they bear to one another.

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