Sam Harris Dictionary: Reductio Ad Absurdum

reductio ad absurdum

Reductio Ad Absurdum (noun)


Meaning: A reduction to an absurdity; the refutation of a proposition by demonstrating the inevitably absurd conclusion to which it would logically lead. 

In episode #206 of the Making Sense podcast with David Frum, Sam uses the term “reductio ad absurdum” while describing the idea that the Christian right would consider President Donald Trump an exemplar of what it claims to stand for. 

Reductio ad absurdum, also known as “reductio argument” and “arguments ad absurdum” is a logical strategy to refute a claim by extending the logic of the opponent’s argument to the point of absurdity. 

…The idea that the Christian right is behind this guy as though he were some apotheosis of their values, it’s a reductio ad absurdum of everything they pretend is their values…  – Sam Harris