"reductio ad absurdum" (Latin)

by Craig Shrives

What does the Latin term reductio ad absurdum mean?

"Reductio ad absurdum" is a Latin term commonly used in logic and argumentation. It translates to "reduction to the absurd" in English. It is a method of argument where a statement or proposition is disproven or criticized by demonstrating that it leads to absurd or illogical consequences when taken to its extreme or logical conclusion. By showing the absurdity of the proposition, the argument aims to invalidate it.

Examples in Sentences

Here are three example sentences:
  • The philosopher used reductio ad absurdum to refute the proposed theory by demonstrating that it led to contradictory and nonsensical outcomes.
  • In the debate, the opponent employed reductio ad absurdum to highlight the flaws in the proposed policy, illustrating the unrealistic and impractical consequences that would arise from its implementation.
  • The mathematician employed reductio ad absurdum to prove that the assumption was incorrect, showing that it led to a mathematical contradiction.
reductio ad absurdum (meaning)

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