This post is intended to demonstrate how we can use our understanding of ‘contradiction‘ in the real world. We are going to use a factual claim that is often made by those on the American political Left. It usually takes some form to the affect of:
“There are no absolute truths!”
Now, if we understand the concept of ‘contradiction,’ and we can find a contradiction in this statement, then we can defeat the argument. Or, in more practical terms, we can justifiably ignore the argument and the person making it. So, let us see if we can find a contradiction in this argument.
We start by accepting that it is true: there are no absolute truths.
However, this is — itself — a statement of absolute truth.
Therefore, in order for this statement to be true, it has to be an absolute truth, because it claims to be true about all truth.
This means that both things have to be true at the same time: there are and there are not absolute truths.
This is a textbook example of a self-defeating argument. This is because it contradicts itself. It claims one thing is true, but proves the opposite is actually true. This means the entire argument is unsound. It and all claims based on it are absurdities, and all things follow an absurdity. Therefore, a rational person is not only justified in dismissing the argument, they would be wise to do so — especially an argument as clearly dangerous as this one.
By knowing the implications of a contradiction and then learning how to spot them, it becomes harder for people to convince us to accept absurdities. And that ability to spot absurdities can empower ourselves to make better decisions about the issues that affect our lives and the lives of our family, friends and community. Plus, it gives us more confidence that we know why we believe the things we believe. Instead of just rejecting an idea because we don’t like the way it sounds, now we can explain why we reject it. Or the other way around. If we catch ourselves making a contradiction in our own arguments, we can work out that contradiction, which will help us better understand our own idea and make our argument stronger at the same time.
See how easy this can all be — and how valuable?