Affirmations, Denials, and Contradictions

Affirmations, Denials, and Contradictions

Aristotle takes some pains in On Interpretation to argue that to every affirmation there corresponds exactly one denial such that that denial denies exactly what that affirmation affirms.

The pair consisting of an affirmation and its corresponding denial is a contradiction (antiphasis).

In general, Aristotle holds, exactly one member of any contradiction is true and one false:

– they cannot both be true, and they cannot both be false.

However, he appears to make an exception for propositions about future events, though interpreters have debated extensively what this exception might be (see further discussion below []).

The principle that contradictories cannot both be true has fundamental importance in Aristotle’s metaphysics (see further discussion below []).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s