The Whole Truth about Begging the Question

For centuries (since 1581, at least), the English expression "beg the question" has been used to mean "to assume the thing you're trying to prove". Very recently (the earliest such use I noticed was in about 1996, but probably well before that), it has also been used to mean "raise the question" or "invite the question". A certain amount of warfare takes place on the Internet about these senses, with some arguing that the newer sense is simply ignorant and others arguing that the older sense is archaic.

Partisans to these debates, on both sides, are usually unaware of the rather strange history this expression has. In fact, without having been told so, nobody would have been at all likely to guess that "beg the question" can be used to mean "assume what you're trying to prove". The problem is that neither "beg" nor "question" is used here in an ordinary sense. While there is some awareness of this point in circulation, those who take somewhat authoritative positions usually don't know the full story and manage to get parts of it wrong. This often takes the form of devising explanations for the traditional meeting on the basis of invented language histories and etymologies

The Old Meaning and All Its Weirdness

Begging the question, in its old sense, actually is a stock phrase in which neither "beg" nor "question" means anything like what it ordinarily does. When you beg the question in this sense, there is actually no question and you don't really beg for anything. You also can't beg a question: you can only beg the question. And you can't beg the question whether so-and-so: when you beg the question, there's really not a question that you're begging. A situation, or an event, or a fact can't beg the question: only an argument, or a person giving an argument, can do that. As a consequence, "beg the question" in the traditional sense might as well be a phrase in Latin or ancient Greek or Plutonian: the individual words in it just can't be analyzed in terms of their ordinary meanings. To put it bluntly, it is a bizarre phrase. I can't imagine anyone figuring out its meaning from the words in it, and it is not at all surprising that it's been given a different interpretation in the last half-century or so: on first encountering it, a typical English speaker will of course suppose that there really is some begging going on and that it really does involve a question. Some writers even exercise considerable ingenuity in devising a priori accounts of why "begging the question" means what it traditionally does. These may be entertaining, but they're still just fantasies.

The older sense, however, is thoroughly entrenched in the environment of logic. Textbooks without number explain that to beg the question is to assume the very thing you are trying to prove. This is in part because even today, the terminology of what are called "informal fallacies" is taken to an extraordinary degree from Aristotle's works, in particular On Sophistical Refutations. And that, ultimately, is the cause of the problem: "begging the question" (in English) originated in the sixteenth century as a rendition of what is ultimately an Aristotelian expression. It is, thus, an antiquated bit of English, serving as the misleading translation of a bit of ancient Greek, phrased in a most unfortunate way guaranteed to resist being understood by competent English speakers. It is no wonder at all that its meaning has become arcane.

The Modern Meaning

I do not know when the modern meaning first appeared, but it is easy enough to see how it originated: as an attempt to attribute a sense to the phrase "beg the question". The phrase has been in circulation for over four centuries, and untold numbers of students have encountered it, however briefly, in an elementary logic or writing course, perhaps without paying particular attention to its meaning. It has therefore long been in the atmosphere, so to speak. When an English speaker who doesn't already know its old technical meaning encounters this phrase, that speaker's charitable assumption is that it must have a meaning that can be derived from the English words in it, and the easiest way to give it a meaning is to suppose that "begs" really means something like "begs for", so that the whole phrase means something like "begs for the question to be asked". The end result is that "begs the question" gets read as a sort of quaint or archaic way of saying "raises the question".

There's an important lesson here: for the meaning "raises the question", the phrase "begs the question" just doesn't have quite the right grammar. There is no other context (at least that I can think of) when "begs" means "demands an answer to" or "demands that one ask". It can mean "ask for", as in "I'd like to beg a favor", but no one uses "beg the question" to mean "ask for a question". Instead, its only use is as a third-person construction with a rather vague subject, as in "but that just begs the question whether ...", where the "that" is a situation, a fact, or something like that. To make "begs the question" mean "raises the question", you need to read it as having a somewhat odd grammar. I suspect that is part of its charm, for some speakers, giving it a sound of a certain sophistication or an archaic origin. However, this makes it clear (at least to me) that the recent meaning of "beg the question" is entirely parasitic on the old meaning, since the phrase itself would never have gone into circulation in the first place as a way to say "raise the question."

The Origin of the Phrase

"Beg the question" ultimately descends from a phrase found in Aristotle's logical works. Actually, there are two phrases, in Greek, though the difference is slight and does not appear to be significant to Aristotle. They are:

to en archêi aiteisthai (τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ αἰτεῖσθαι)
to ex archês aiteisthai (τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς αἰτεῖσθαι)

You will find sources on the Internet, and elsewhere, that will tell you confidently that these phrases mean "in the beginning to assume". Having published translations with commentary of Books I and VIII Aristotle's Topics and of Aristotle's Prior Analytics (where these phrases occur) with respectable publishers (Oxford University Press and Hackett Publishing Co, respectively), I feel confident in saying that those sources are just plain wrong, and wrong because they misunderstand the grammar of the Greek phrases. To explain why, I need to take an excursus not only through ancient Greek grammar but also through Aristotle's works and the historical practices that lie behind them.

The Grammar of Aristotle's Expression

There is, in fact, a grammatical ambiguity in these two phrases if we just look at them standing alone. Each consists of a definite article ("the", to), a phrase that could be translated "initial" or "initially"(ex archês, en archêi) and an infinitive that means "to ask" (aiteisthai). The middle phrase means "in the beginning" in one case and "from the beginning" in the other. The ambiguity concerns what the "the" goes with. In ancient Greek, you can in effect quote any phrase by putting a neuter definite article in front of it. This is often handy for naming complicated concepts. For example, "the in the beginning" (to en archêi) could mean "the thing [whatever it is] that we were talking about in the beginning". In much the same way, the definite article is also used with infinitives to produce names for actions, e.g. "the to ask" (to aiteisthai can be used if you want to talk about the action of asking. The problem, in the present case, is that these phrases could be interpreted in two different ways. If "the" goes with "ask", then the middle phrase modifies "ask", so that the whole phrase means something like "asking in the beginning" or "asking from the beginning". In fact, you'll find authoritative pronouncements on the Internet that this is just what these phrases mean: "in the beginning to ask" is how one widely cited source renders it. However, if "the" goes with "in the beginning", then the phrase means instead "to ask the initial thing". As a matter of fact, if we look at Aristotle's text, it is absolutely certain that this latter sense is always what he means.

There are two conclusive kinds of grammatical evidence for this. First, Aristotle often uses these phrases with the verb in a conjugated form like "he asks" instead of an infinitive. When he does, there's always a "the" in front of en archêi or ex archês. In such a context, "the" cannot possibly go with the verb and must go instead with "in/from the beginning" ("he asks for the initial thing"). Second, in several places, Aristotle uses one of these phrases but adds a second "the". For instance, at Prior Analytics II.17, 64b33-34, he writes to aiteisthai to ex archês (τὸ αἰτεῖσθαι τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς): "the to ask the from the beginning". At On Sophistical Refutations 167a36-37, we find an explicit double "the" in the phrase "assume the initial thing", which Aristotle explains as parallel to our phrase: hoi de para to to en archêi lambanein ginontai men houtôs kai tosautachôs hosachôs to ex archês aiteisthai). These can only be interpreted as "asking the initial thing".

The Meaning of Aristotle's Expression

But you may very well ask, What's all this about an "initial thing"? And you should: the fact is that if you weren't already familiar with what Aristotle was talking about, you'd never be able to figure it out just from these expressions. Aristotle did not write with an audience of people living two millennia in his future in mind: he wrote for his contemporaries, and in some cases for a very narrow circle of readers who were associated with Plato's "school". If we look carefully at how he uses these phrases, it becomes clear that he is thinking primarily of a highly specific context: a kind of debate in which there are two participants, one of whom asks and one of whom answers (this is so strongly established that he frequently just uses "ask" and "answer" as shorthand for "act as the questioner in a debate" and "act as the answerer in a debate" Now, these debates took a very specific form. The answerer undertook to defend a proposition, and the questioner undertook to refute the answerer by asking questions and, from the answers to those questions, constructing an argument for the denial of that same proposition. That proposition, in Aristotle's terminology, is "the initial thing". One of the rules of the game was that questioners could only ask questions which could be answered by "yes" or "no". Consequently, all the answerer's questions could be seen as presenting sentences to the questioner, who could then either assent to them or dissent from them. (This appears to be the origin of the term "premise", which translates Greek protasis, "something put forward": the questioner "held out" sentences to the answerer for acceptance or rejection).

In such a debate, the "initial thing" is the proposition that the answerer is defending. The questioner's objective is to produce an argument for the denial of this proposition, using other premises obtained from the answerer; the answerer's objective is to avoid this, that is, to avoid giving the questioner premises from which such a conclusion can be drawn. Now, one rule of the debate was that the questioner could not simply take the answerer's initial thesis and put that to the answerer as a question: if the questioner did that, then the answerer could refuse to answer on the grounds that "you're just asking the initial thing", that is, "you've just taken my thesis and turned it into a question". There's an important distinction here. The questioner asks questions just by proposing sentences with, in effect, a question mark attached. So, the questioner doesn't ask for a specific answer (that is, a "yes" or a"no"). Therefore, asking "Are the good happier than the evil?" is not asking for the premise "the good are happier than the evil", and it is not asking for the premise "the good are not happier than the evil": it's just asking that question. Similarly, asking the initial thing is not asking the questioner to deny it, and it's not asking the questioner to affirm it: it's just asking it, i.e., making a question out of it.

The ancestral origin of "begging the question", then, meant "make a yes-or-no question out of the original thesis" in the specific type of debate Aristotle was writing about. That is a very long way from its later sense. However, Aristotle has more to say. Interpreting his remarks is not a straightforward matter, since he clearly takes it for granted that his audience knows what he is talking about but also wants to put forward some views of his own. Here is my own reconstruction of the background. It appears, first, that in these debates, there was a general acceptance that the questioner's objective was to derive the denial of the answerer's thesis from things that the answerer conceded other than the thesis itself. But this leads to questions of judgment. Suppose that the questioner rewords the thesis without changing its meaning and then puts that as a question? Well, we could say plausibly that that's really just asking the initial thesis, so the answerer can refuse to reply. Suppose now that the questioner uses a question that's not really the thesis reworded but is nevertheless somehow equivalent to it? Perhaps that, too, should count as asking the initial thing. How far should this go?

In fact, Aristotle spends some time trying to spell this out. He makes it clear that for him, and for his audience as well, the expression acquired a wider application with the general meaning "proving something from itself", that is, giving an argument or proof for something in which the thing allegedly proved is one of the premises. In a dialectical argument (that is, an argument with someone else, resting on premises granted by that other person), such an argument is hardly likely to succeed, since anyone who won't grant the conclusion won't grant that same thing as a premise. In the context of proofs or demonstrations (for instance in mathematics), the situation is, for Aristotle, more complex, since he holds that there are some propositions that do not need proof but are instead "evident through themselves". In fact, in the Prior Analytics his final proposal is that "asking the initial thing" can be defined as "proving by means of itself that which is not evident by means of itself" (65a23-25). That is not an easy criterion to apply, and it is not at all clear that it reflects the understanding of the phrase in dialectical argument as Aristotle knew it. In fact, it is not at all clear that a clear criterion can be given.

This last point is relevant to modern discussion of "begging the question". Traditionally, that term is supposed to designate a certain fallacy. However, the term "fallacy" is itself used in very divergent ways. Logicians and philosophers generally use it to mean something fairly precise: an argument that appears to be valid but in fact is invalid. And that, for logicians and philosophers, is precise because valid and invalid are also precise terms for them. To begin with, they apply only to arguments, not to statements or propositions or opinions. An argument is valid if and only if it is impossible for that argument's conclusion to be false if its premises are all true. Thus, validity is a matter of the relation of the premises of an argument to its conclusion. It has nothing to do with whether the premises are reasonably justified, or probable, or true, or anything else, in themselves. An argument is invalid if and only if it is possible for its conclusion to be false when its premises are all true. Now, as any logician will tell you, "begging the question" is therefore not a fallacy: if the conclusion of an argument is identical to one of its premises, then obviously the premises cannot all be true without the conclusion also being true. The problem with such an argument, from a logician's standpoint, is not that it is invalid but rather that it can hardly be used to persuade someone who does not already accept its conclusion.

It should be noted in passing that giving a clear account of just what kind of problem "begging the question" might be is considerably more difficult than many writers suppose. This is already apparent in Aristotle's discussions, but the intervening millennia make this even more obvious. For instance, it is often said that begging the question includes not just assuming the conclusion itself as a premise but also assuming something equivalent to the conclusion. But how are we to understand "equivalent" here? If it means logically equivalent, then it might be extremely difficult to determine. To take a famous example from set theory, the Axiom of Choice is logically equivalent to a long list of quite diverse-looking propositions, such as Zorn's Lemma, the Well-Ordering theorem, or the Trichotomy Axiom. These equivalences are proved, of course, by showing, first, that each can be derived by assuming the Axiom of Choice as a premise, and next, that the Axiom of Choice can be derived by assuming it as a premise. However, if begging the question includes assuming as premise something equivalent to the conclusion, then it would then follow that each of these proofs is an instance of begging the question.

Asking and "Postulating"

There is another complication: for Greek logicians, "ask" (αἰτεῖσθαι) can also mean "assume" or "postulate". This takes some explaining. A mathematical proof ultimately rests on initial premises that are not themselves proved. The person giving a proof asks for or requests these (from the audience or a learner, say) as premises and then proves a conclusion from them. As mathematical proofs become systematized into a demonstrative theory, the propositions of mathematics can be separated into those that are proved and those that must be assumed (postulated) in order to prove the remainder. A postulate, then, is something that must be asked for (this is exactly captured in the etymology of "postulate": Latin postulare means "ask"). As we move forward in time, this other meaning of Latin and Greek verbs for "ask" becomes entrenched in technical usage, and a technical vocabulary develops with finer distinctions among "postulates", "axioms", and "common notions" (as in Euclid's Elements).

I have used "beg the question" liberally in this history, but of course that is not a phrase to be found in Aristotle or other ancient sources. Apart from the obvious point that it is English, not Latin or Greek, it can hardly serve as a translation of Aristotle's "ask for the initial thing". With a dose of charity, we might perhaps see "beg" as having the sense "ask for", but "the question" is far away indeed from "the initial thing". Indeed, in an Aristotelian dialectical exchange, one thing the "initial thing" is not is a question: the dialectical error Aristotle is describing consists precisely in making it into a question.

Aristotle into Latin

In later antiquity, petitio principii became the standard Latin term for Aristotle's "asking the initial thing". Since petitio (noun) means "asking" and principium means "beginning", that is not a bad place to start, though two grammatical points should be noted. First, since Latin has no definite article, the phrase is ambiguous between "a beginning" (a premise, a starting point) and "the beginning" (e.g Aristotle's "initial thing"). Second, the genitive principii with petitio could be taken either as "asking for" as in "asking for a starting-point or premise", or as "(the) asking of ", as in "the asking of the initial thing", that is, making the "initial thing" into a question. The latter reading corresponds exactly to Aristotle's "asking for the initial thing". However, Latin's lack of a definite article makes the former reading possible in isolation.

This last point has more serious consequences given an additional ambiguity. Note first that if we read petitio principii as "asking for a premise", then it is hard to see why it should be considered an error: asking for premises is in fact exactly what the questioner in a dialectical argument does. However, the word principium also serves as the Latin translation of a quite different Aristotelian term: archê, usually rendered "principle" In Aristotle's conception of a demonstrative science, the principles are those propositions which cannot themselves be proved and from which all other propositions of the science are deduced. However, Aristotle does not say that it would be an error in a dialectical argument to try to get one of these principles as a premise. In fact, he says that a fundamental distinction of dialectical arguments, as contrasted with scientific proofs, is that all the premises are put as questions; thus, a premise that would be a principle in geometry could be put as a question in a dialectical argument (Aristotle uses just this point to argue, in On Sophistical Refutations 11, that dialectic cannot be a kind of universal science.

Various modern explanations

Wiktionary manages to mistranslate both this and Aristotle's Greek:

From Latin petitio principii (literally "an assumption from the beginning"), calque of Ancient Greek τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ αἰτεῖσθαι (to en archē aetīsthae, "to assume from the beginning"). (Wiktionary)

Apart from the misspellings, this manages to make distinct errors in reading the grammar of the Latin and the Greek expressions

By contrast, The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia is the only modern source I know that gets it right:

n. In logic, the assumption of that which in the beginning was set forth to be proved; begging the question: a fallacy or fault of reasoning belonging to argumentations whose conclusions really follow from their premises, either necessarily or with the degree of probability pretended, the fault consisting in the assumption of a premise which no person holding the antagonistic views will admit.

The Source of the English Expression

The OED finds the first use of "beg the question" in 1581. A. W. Sparkes, "Begging the Question". Journal of the History of Ideas 27:3 [1966]: 462-63, notes that the OED's own account of its meaning is mystifying, but he finds an explanation for the use of "beg" as "ask an opponent in debate to grant the truth of the statement whose truth has been questioned" in an earlier (1577) exchange between Thomas Cartwright and Richard Hooker. Sparkes also sees the connection between this and Aristotle's own use. While Sparkes may have found the source of "beg" in translating this expression, there are still problems. He takes it for granted that petitio principii is a good translation of Aristotle's Greek phrase to en archêi aiteisthai, but as I argue below this hides a critical ambiguity in the Latin phrase not found in the Greek.

Relevant here is the use of "question" in the context of parliamentary debate to mean "the proposal under discussion". In that sense, "the question" simply means "the motion on the floor currently being debated". Thus, "to call the question" (or in the terminology of Robert's Rules of Order "to move the previous question") is to make a nondebatable motion that there be a vote on the motion under consideration ("the previous question") without further debate. (This old use of "question" has its roots in medieval philosophical use as well as in law, and medieval philosophical use in turn derives heavily from the language of Aristotle's Topics.) Now, in a parliamentary debate, it is always possible to speak without qualification of the question in this sense: there is always just one issue being debated, and therefore when one speaks of "moving the question" or "calling the question" no further specification is needed, or even allowed, of what that "question" is. Likewise, when speaking of "begging the question" in the logician's sense, it is really improper to specify this "question": anyone who speaks of "begging the question whether so-and-so" in the traditional sense just doesn't understand the traditional sense. (And some surprising authorities don't understand this).

A Summary

Aristotle's original Greek phrase meant "ask the initial thing", which in dialectical argument as he knew it meant "take the thesis you are supposed to be attacking and make it directly into a question", a move not allowed by the rules of that game. By extension, he (or more accurately his contemporaries) applied it to any argument the presenter of which used as a premise the very conclusion of that argument, or that conclusion in some equivalent form, or perhaps something too close to that conclusion, or at any rate something that no on who didn't already accept the conclusion would concede as a premise. (As the last sentence should make clear, and as Aristotle's own works make clearer, spelling this out is more difficult than at first appears).

In ancient Latin logical works and Latin translations of Aristotle, the expression petitio principii became a standard term for Aristotle's "asking for the initial thing". That expression, however, is ambiguous because of: (1) the absence of a definite article in Latin and (2) an ambiguity in the meaning of principium. This opens the way for a range of misunderstandings of Aristotle's original notion, and these have flourished especially in recent years.

In the seventeenth century, the English expression "beg the question" made its appearance and soon became the canonical expression for Aristotle's "asking for the initial thing". While it can be understood in a way that comes close to Aristotle's usage, that requires appreciating that its terminology is the terminology of debate. Treating it as anything like ordinary English almost guarantees that it will not be understood: even the great majority of those who understand what "beg the question" means in a logical context have no idea how it can mean that. Modern defenders of the traditional use then resort to fanciful explanations of its derivation, while those who have no use for it fail to recognize that the modern sense requires a forced reading of it and could never have arisen except through a misunderstanding of the traditional phrase. Basically, neither party actually understands just what is going on.

It's an English Problem

It should be added here that the whole business is peculiar to English. While that may seem like a trivial point, it's not. Aristotle has had an enormous impact on the vocabulary of logic and argument in just about every language for which there's any scholarly literature, and translations of Aristotle, ancient and modern, abound. However, "begging the question" is a purely English oddity. The French say petition de principe and the Italians petizione di principio: "asking for a beginning (or principle, or starting point)".

Passages from Aristotle

For those who want to check out my claims about Aristotle's language, below are the passages in Aristotle's Analytics, Topics, and On Sophistical Refutations that contain the phrases in question, or close relatives of them, and that shed light on the meaning of "in/from the beginning". In several of these, it is clear that to ex archês/en archêi can only mean "the initial thing", not "from/in the beginning". Thus, I have left out the small number of cases with αἰτεῖν/αἰτεῖσθαι in the infinitive except when there is other evidence in the passage (such as a double article) that confirms Aristotle is talking about an "initial thing", not "in the beginning".

These will only display correctly if your browser has access to a Unicode font including polytonic Greek (Greek with all the diacritical markings used for Classical Greek); if you see Greek with lots of boxes in place of some letters, then your browser only knows how to display Modern (monotonic) Greek.

Prior Analytics I

  1. τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἔσται εἰλημμένον. 40b32-33
  2. τὸ δ’ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἐξ ὑποθέσεως δεικνύουσιν 41a24-25
  3. τὸ δεῖξαί τι ἀδύνατον διὰ τὴν ἐξ ἀρχῆς ὑπόθεσιν 41a32-33
  4. τὸ δ’ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἐξ ὑποθέσεως δείκνυται 41a34
  5. τὸ δ’ ἐξ ἀρχῆς περαίνεται δι’ ὁμολογίας ἤ τινος ἄλλης ὑποθέσεως 41a39-b1
  6. τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς λαμβάνει
  7. τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς αἰτήσεται 41b20-21
  8. καὶ μὴ τοῦ ἐξ ἀρχῆς εἶναι τὸν συλλογισμόν 42a28-29
  9. ἀνῄρηται τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς 43a7

Prior Analytics II

  1. οὔπω ἀναιρεῖται τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς 60a7
  2. οὐκ ἀνῄρηται τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς 60a38-39
  3. τούτων μὲν οὖν οὐδέν ἐστι τὸ αἰτεῖσθαι τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς 64b33-34
  4. τότ’ αἰτεῖται τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς 64b37-38
  5. διὰ τούτων ἀποδεικνύναι τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς 64b40-65a1
  6. τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ αἰτεῖται 65a12
  7. τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς αἰτεῖται 65a23

Posterior Analytics

  1. ὥστ’ οὐκ ἀποδέδεικται· τὸ γὰρ ἐν ἀρχῇ εἴληφεν. 91b10-11

Topics VIII

  1. Ἰσαχῶς δὲ καὶ τἀναντία αἰτοῦνται τῷ ἐξ ἀρχῆς 163a14
  2. Τὸ δὲ ἐν ἀρχῇ καὶ τὰ ἐναντία πῶς αἰτεῖται ὁ ἐρωτῶν 162b31-32
  3. Αἰτεῖσθαι δὲ φαίνονται τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ πενταχῶς 162b34
  4. διαφέρει δὲ τὸ τἀναντία λαμβάνειν τοῦ 〈τὸ〉 ἐν ἀρχῇ 163a24-25

On Sophistical Refutations

  1. πέμπτον δὲ τὸ παρὰ τὸ 〈τὸ〉 ἐν ἀρχῇ λαμβάνειν 166b25-26
  2. μὴ συναριθμουμένου τοῦ ἐν ἀρχῇ 167a25-26
  3. Οἱ δὲ παρὰ τὸ τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ λαμβάνειν γίνονται μὲν οὕτως καὶ τοσαυταχῶς ὁσαχῶς ἐνδέχεται τὸ ἐξ ἀρχῆς αἰτεῖσθαι 167a36-37
  4. Οἱ δὲ παρὰ τὸ λαμβάνειν τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ 168b22
  5. οἱ παρὰ τὴν αἴτησιν τοῦ ἐν ἀρχῇ 168b26
  6. ἐπὶ τῶν τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ λαμβανόντων 169b13
  7. 〈τὸ〉 τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ λαμβάνειν 170a9
  8. πῶς αἰτεῖται τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ δῆλον 176a27-28
  9. ὡς τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ αἰτοῦντος 176a29-30
  10. Τοὺς δὲ παρὰ τὸ αἰτεῖσθαι καὶ λαμβάνειν τὸ ἐν ἀρχῇ πυνθανομένῳ 181a15-16

Last modified: Tue Aug 6 10:36:05 MDT 2013