A few years ago I had a post about this annoying expression (annoying both because it’s strangely worded for its normal use—”invites the question” would be much better—and because it brings all the petitio principii pedants out of the woodwork); there I linked to a comic strip for amusement, now I link to Mark Liberman’s definitive explication of the history and uses of the phrase, from Aristotle’s τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ αἰτεῖσθαι (
not, as the Log has it, αἰτεσθαι—it’s from the start of Prior Analytics ii:16) to the present. His conclusion:
My recommendation: Never use the phrase yourself — use “assume the conclusion” or “raise the question”, depending on what you mean — and cultivate an attitude of serene detachment in the face of its use by others.
Which makes sense.