The Thought Occurs

The Thought Occurs

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Reductio Ad Absurdum

Reductio ad absurdum is the technique of reducing an argument or hypothesis to absurdity, by pushing the argument's premises or conclusions to their logical limits and showing how ridiculous the consequences would be, thus disproving or discrediting the argument.

This has roots in the Socratic method, and has been employed throughout the history of logic, mathematics, philosophy and the philosophy of science.

Reductio ad absurdum is only valid when it builds on assertions which are actually present in the argument it is deconstructing, and not when it misrepresents them as a straw man.

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