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reduction to absurdity
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Reductio ad absurdum
Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: "reduction to absurdity"; pl.: reductiones ad absurdum), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin: argument to absurdity), is a common form of argument which seeks to demonstrate that a statement is true by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its denial, or in turn to demonstrate that a statement is false by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its acceptance. First recognized and studied in classical Greek philosophy (the Latin term derives from the Greek "εις άτοπον απαγωγή" or eis atopon apagoge, "reduction to the impossible", for example in Aristotle's Prior Analytics), this technique has been used throughout history in both formal mathematical and philosophical reasoning, as well as informal debate.
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