AskDefine | Define contradiction

Dictionary Definition



1 opposition between two conflicting forces or ideas
2 (logic) a statement that is necessarily false; "the statement `he is brave and he is not brave' is a contradiction" [syn: contradiction in terms]
3 the speech act of contradicting someone; "he spoke as if he thought his claims were immune to contradiction"

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (UK) /ˌkɒntɹəˈdɪkʃən/, /%kQntr@"dIkS@n/
  • (US) /ˌkɑːntɹəˈdɪkʃən/, /%kA:ntr@"dIkS@n/
    Rhymes: -ɪkʃən


From contradictionem, from contradicere.


  1. The act of contradicting.
    His contradiction of the proposal was very interesting.
  2. A statement that contradicts itself.
    There is a contradiction in what you say - she can't be both married and single.
  3. A proposition that is false for all values of its variables.


  • (proposition that is false for all values of its variables): tautology


act of contradicting
statement that contradicts itself
proposition that is false for all values of its variables

Related terms

Extensive Definition

In logic, a contradiction consists of a logical incompatibility between two or more propositions. It occurs when the propositions, taken together, yield two conclusions which form the logical inversions of each other. Illustrating a general tendency in applied logic, Aristotle’s law of noncontradiction states that “One cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time.”
By extension, outside of formal logic, one can speak of contradictions between actions when one presumes that their motives contradict each other.

Contradiction in formal logic

In formal logic, particularly in propositional and first-order logic, a proposition \varphi is a contradiction if and only if \varphi\vdash\bot. Since for contradictory \varphi it is true that \vdash\varphi\rightarrow\psi for all \psi (because \varphi\rightarrow\bot\rightarrow\psi), one may prove any proposition from a set of axioms which contains contradictions.

Contradictions and philosophy

Adherents of the epistemological theory of coherentism typically claim that as a necessary condition of the justification of a belief, that belief must form a part of a logically non-contradictory (consistent) system of beliefs. Some dialetheists, including Graham Priest, have argued that coherence may not require consistency.

Pragmatic contradictions

Pragmatic contradictions often occur in philosophy that the very presence of the argument contradicts the claims of the argument. An inconsistency arising because of the normal implications of saying something, rather than because of the content of what is said. For examples, Heraclitus’s proposition that knowledge is impossible; or, arguably, Nietzsche’s statement that one should not obey others, or moore's paradox. These are self-refuting statements and performative contradictions.

Contradiction outside formal logic

Colloquial usage can label actions or statements (or both) as contradicting each other when due (or perceived as due) to presuppositions which are contradictory in the logical sense.
In dialectical materialism, contradiction, as derived by Karl Marx from Hegelianism, usually refers to an opposition of social forces. Most prominently (according to Marx), capitalism entails a social system that has contradictions because the social classes have conflicting collective goals. These contradictions stem from the social structure of society and inherently lead to class conflict, economic crisis, and eventually revolution, the existing order’s overthrow and the formerly oppressed classes’ ascension to political power.
Mao Zedong's philosophical essay furthered Marx and Lenin's thesis and suggested that all existence is the result of contradiction.


External links

contradiction in Persian: تناقض
contradiction in German: Kontradiktion
contradiction in French: Contradiction
contradiction in Korean: 모순
contradiction in Icelandic: Mótsögn
contradiction in Lithuanian: Prieštaravimas
contradiction in Macedonian: Контрадикција
contradiction in Dutch: Contradictie
contradiction in Japanese: 矛盾
contradiction in Norwegian: Selvmotsigelse
contradiction in Polish: Sprzeczność
contradiction in Portuguese: Contradição
contradiction in Russian: Противоречие
contradiction in Swedish: Motsägelse
contradiction in Chinese: 矛盾

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abjuration, abjurement, abrogation, absolute contradiction, annulment, answer, antagonism, antipathy, antithesis, argumentation, backlash, bucking, challenge, chucking, chucking out, clashing, collision, complete answer, conflict, confounding, confrontation, confutation, contempt, contention, contradistinction, contraindication, contraposition, contrariety, contrary assertion, contrast, contravention, contraversion, controversion, controversy, counteraction, countering, counterposition, counterworking, crankiness, cross-purposes, crosscurrent, crossing, crotchetiness, declination, declining, demolition, denial, despisal, despising, difference, disaccord, disaccordance, disaffirmation, disagreement, disallowance, disapproval, disavowal, discard, disclaimer, disclamation, discord, discordance, discordancy, discounting, discrediting, discrepancy, disharmony, dismissal, disownment, disparity, disproof, disregard, dissension, dissent, dissidence, dissonance, disunion, disunity, divergence, diversity, effective rejoinder, exception, exclusion, faction, forswearing, friction, gainsaying, head wind, hostility, ignoring, impugnation, impugnment, inaccordance, inconsistency, inequality, inimicalness, interference, jarring, kick, negation, nonacceptance, nonapproval, nonconformity, nonconsideration, nullification, opposing, oppositeness, opposition, opposure, oppugnance, oppugnancy, oppugnation, overthrow, overthrowal, passing by, perverseness, perversity, polarity, putting away, putting out, reaction, rebuff, rebutment, rebuttal, recalcitrance, recantation, recoil, refusal, refutal, refutation, rejection, renitency, renouncement, renunciation, repercussion, repudiation, repugnance, repulse, resistance, retractation, retraction, revocation, revolt, scouting, showdown, spurning, squelch, standing against, subversion, swimming upstream, throwing out, traversal, turning out, undercurrent, undermining, unharmoniousness, upset, upsetting, variance
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1