Monday, July 27, 2009

Definitions Better Than Webster's: Part 24- Contradictions

"...In the category of contradictions- mutually exclusive assertions that can not possibly be both, in the same context, be true. 'In the same context' is the key phrase here, for it is context that defines contradiction. There is no problem in someone's remarking that he prefers oranges to apples, and also remarking that he prefers apples to oranges- not if one statement is made in the context of choosing a wallpaper design and the other in the context of selecting fruit for dessert. In such a case, we have statements that are opposites, but not contradictory. But if the statements are made in a single, continuous, and coherent context, then they are contradictions, and cannot be true. Contradiction, in short, requires that statements and events be perceived as interrelated aspects of a continuous and coherent context. Disappear the context, or fragment it, and contradiction disappears." From, "Amusing Ourselves To Death" By: Neil Postman

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