reductio ad absurdum

leading back to the absurd


A common debate technique, and a method of proof in mathematics and philosophy, that proves the thesis by showing that its opposite is absurd or logically untenable. In general usage outside mathematics and philosophy, a reductio ad absurdum is a tactic in which the logic of an argument is challenged by reducing the concept to its most absurd extreme. Translated from Aristotle's "? e?? ?t?p?? apa????" (hi eis atopon apagogi, "reduction to the impossible").