reductio ad absurdum

Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to reductio ad absurdum: Logical fallacies

re·duc·ti·o ad ab·sur·dum

 (rĭ-dŭk′tē-ō ăd əb-sûr′dəm, -zûr′-, -shē-ō)
n. pl. re·duc·ti·o·nes ad absurdum (-ō′nēz, -nās)
Disproof of a proposition by showing that it leads to absurd or untenable conclusions.

[Medieval Latin reductiō ad absurdum : Latin reductiō, a bringing back, reduction + Latin ad, to + Latin absurdum, absurdity, from neuter of absurdus, absurd.]

reductio ad absurdum

(rɪˈdʌktɪəʊ æd æbˈsɜːdəm)
1. (Logic) a method of disproving a proposition by showing that its inevitable consequences would be absurd
2. (Logic) 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]

re•duc•ti•o ad ab•sur•dum

(rɪˈdʌk tiˌoʊ ˈæd æbˈsɜr dəm, -ˈzɜr-, -ʃiˌoʊ)
a reduction to an absurdity; the refutation of a proposition by demonstrating that its logical conclusion is absurd.
[1735–45; < Latin]

reductio ad absurdum

A Latin phrase meaning reduction to absurdity, used to mean carrying an argument to the point at which it becomes absurd.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.reductio ad absurdum - (reduction to the absurd) a disproof by showing that the consequences of the proposition are absurd; or a proof of a proposition by showing that its negation leads to a contradiction
disproof, falsification, refutation - any evidence that helps to establish the falsity of something
References in classic literature ?
But as these arguments are largely a reductio ad absurdum of other theories, among which that which I am advocating is not included, I cannot regard them as establishing their contention.
If we continue to operate on the premises that were fashionable in the pre-cybernetic era, and which were especially underlined and strengthened during the Industrial Revolution, which seemed to validate the Darwinian unit of survival, we may have twenty or thirty years before the logical reductio ad absurdum of our old positions destroys us.
The arbitrary renormalization process and reductio ad absurdum practiced by natural science cannot resolve the contradiction of the infinite; it only leads to more and more contradictions and a dependence on ever more mysteries and theology, as we observe in modern theoretical natural science.
Moreover, Block attempts a reductio ad absurdum of my position on the basis of the following supposed analogy:
In the end, his is a variation on the poetics of the fragment, in which a reductio ad absurdum only demonstrates the futility of any attempt to construct the "grand narratives" of modernity.
Second, it is important to follow out these implications to learn whether or not they lead to a reductio ad absurdum (reduction to absurdity).
There is even a discussion of Hume's reductio ad absurdum of miracles, and Augustine's view in contrast.
Emmanuel Levinas, in the reductio ad absurdum of Enlightenment thought, may tell us that our duty to strangers can be no less than our duty to loved ones, but no one, possibly not even Levinas, would behave as if this were true if called upon to rescue either strangers or loved ones from a burning building.
The exercise is its own reductio ad absurdum, an exercise in comedy, like the high school game of adding "between the sheets" to the titles of hymns--high meeting low for yucks: "Amazing Grace Between the Sheets"; "Rock of Ages Between the Sheets"; or, given the news out of Boston lately, "Jesus Loves the Little Children Between the Sheets.
This is a kind of reductio ad absurdum, but it points to the problem poets are experiencing in the early 21st Century.
The ontological argument provides an affirmative answer by means of a reductio ad absurdum.
By reductio ad absurdum, suppose there exist x [member of] D and (y,[lambda],[mu],v) [member of] [DELTA] such that [pi](x) [less than or equal to] [delta](y,[lambda],[mu],v).