Friday, August 29, 2008

Rhetorically Speaking...

Turretinfan posted a lengthy response to my article that I posted yesterday about whether the Catholic Church teaches that Islam is salvific. While it will take time to sift through his argument and respond properly, I thought I would get one of the minor points out of the way, TF chides me in my usage of the term "begging the question" by claiming that I mislabeled his fallacious questions in calling them examples of the "begging the question" fallacy or plurium interrogationum instead of examples of the petitio principi fallacy.

Both are fallacies of presumption. Both have been called "begging the question" fallacies by rhetoricians. However, there is a distinct difference between the two fallacies. One is a kind of argument, the other a kind of interrogative. Petitio principi is a kind of fallacious argument with certain presumptions built into it. It's English derivative is more appropriately called circular argument or reasoning. The conclusion of the argument is merely a kind of restating of the premiss. In contrast, Plurium Interrogationum is a kind of question with certain presumptions built into it. It's English derivative is complex question. In fact, it might even be fair to say that Plurium Interrogationum is the interrogative form of a petitio principi fallacy.

Another difference between the two is that Petitio principi is always a fallacious form of argument. Plurium interrogationum may or may not be a fallacious form of question depending on whether the presumptions built into the question are based on the context of evidence previously submitted.

Thus, I would submit that Turretinfan's ire at my purported usage of term "begging the question" is misplaced. He was not making an argument at the time, he merely asked questions of "the followers of Vatican 2".

God bless!

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