I read the following article this week and found it very annoying.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zoe-trisk ... 99663.html
I'm not above having language-related pet peeves; I have a few of them myself. But it's about picking your battles, and the tone one takes when fighting those battles.
Yes, using "begs the question" to mean "raises the question" is "incorrect" in the rather narrow sense that it's not the traditional historical meaning. But that's no reason to say things like "simply incorrect" and "it makes you sound dumber" and "There are, however, SOME people who actually know what this phrase means."
Saying "begs the question" to mean "raises the question" does not
mean the speaker is lacking in intellect. It just means the speaker is ignorant of a particular historical
fact about a particular expression. The "raises the question" meaning is a reasonable extrapolation from the modern everyday meanings of "beg" and "question". People use it to mean "raises the question" because they understand
the words "beg" and "question".
By the way, Aristotle in 350 BC obviously didn't call it "begging the question"; he called it something in Greek. The English phrase "begging the question" first appeared in the 16th century, and is a translation of the Latin "petitio principii". But "petitio principii" can be translated into English in many ways, and it's not at all clear that "begging the question" is among the best or most elegant ways. One attempt might be something like "requesting the very principle under debate"; shorter alternatives might include "assuming the conclusion" or just "petitio principii" itself.
I read and write arguments for a living, and I'm of the opinion that we don't especially need
the historical meaning of "begging the question". I don't think it aids clarity, and frankly, I think it serves largely as a shibboleth that proves the speaker took some courses in philosophy or classics. I myself don't use "begging the question" at all; I would use "assuming the conclusion" or "circular reasoning" or "petitio principii" for the older meaning, and "raising the question" or "prompting the question" or "bringing up the question" for the newer meaning.
There are some things in language to be pedantic about. But I don't think the historical meaning of "begging the question" is one of them.EDIT:
The older meaning of "begging the question" is a trivia fact, a historical quirk, an accidental consequence of shifting meanings and the particular times that translations happened. It's not an inherent part of being a clever person or being good at reasoning.