reductio ad absurdum

reductio ad absurdum

[ri-duhk-tee-oh ad ab-sur-duhm, -zur-, -shee-oh]
noun Logic.
a reduction to an absurdity; the refutation of a proposition by demonstrating the inevitably absurd conclusion to which it would logically lead.

Origin:
1735–45; < Latin reductiō ad absurdum

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World English Dictionary
reductio ad absurdum (rɪˈdʌktɪəʊ æd æbˈsɜːdəm)
 
n
1.  a method of disproving a proposition by showing that its inevitable consequences would be absurd
2.  a method of indirectly proving a proposition by assuming its negation to be true and showing that this leads to an absurdity
3.  application of a principle or proposed principle to an instance in which it is absurd
 
[Latin, literally: reduction to the absurd]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

reductio ad absurdum
1741, from L., lit. "reduction to the absurd."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

reductio ad absurdum

(Latin: "reduction to absurdity"), in logic, a form of refutation showing contradictory or absurd consequences following upon premises as a matter of logical necessity. A form of the reductio ad absurdum argument, known as indirect proof or reductio ad impossibile, is one that proves a proposition by showing that its denial conjoined with other propositions previously proved or accepted leads to a contradiction. In common speech the term reductio ad absurdum refers to anything pushed to absurd extremes.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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