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Philosophy contradiction existing between two apparently indubitable propositions; paradox
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a contradiction between two positions, each of which is equally demonstrable by logic.

The term “antinomy” was introduced in 1613 by the German philosopher R. Goclenius, although the contradictory character of thinking had already been discovered in ancient philosophy. I. Kant, the founder of German classical philosophy, was the first to demonstrate that antinomies necessarily arose from the characteristics of the cognition process, especially from the continual attempts of reason to go beyond the bounds of experience, to arrive at the knowledge of the “thing in itself.” And insofar as this is impossible, according to Kant, every such departure leads to an antinomy. In the Kantian doctrine concerning antinomies, a profound thought was expressed about the contradictory nature of the cognitive process, the dependence of the results of cognition on the existing forms of cognitive activity, and, at the same time, the limitless quality of cognition itself. This thought, however, was undermined by the agnosticism which was characteristic of Kant and by his denial of the contradictory nature of reality itself.

Dialectical materialism makes a distinction between antinomies which are the logical reflection of contradictions in reality itself (for example, the contradiction between the wave and the particle characteristics of the electron) and antinomic opinions—paradoxes brought forth by the specific level in the development of knowledge, especially by contradictions in the system of assumptions. Solving paradoxes is one of the principal sources in the development of cognition. For example, the theory of relativity arose as a result of the solution of certain antinomical points of departure in classical physics. But on the whole the concept of antinomy has no independent meaning in dialectical materialism, since it is subordinate to the category of contradiction.


Asmus, V. F. Filosofiia I. Kanta. Moscow, 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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In its antinomic romantic fashion it attests to the grandeur of what it, and what poetry' itself in this analysis, can never represent or sign for.
Come to think of it, all the most influential concepts in our political tradition--power, freedom, democracy--are, at their core, aporetic, antinomic, contradictory; they are exposed to a full-scale battle for the seizure and transformation of their meaning.
She sees in this history the realization of the antinomic element of messianism transformed into program of political action, both destructive and self-destructive.
The understanding that deconstruction opens up it that the concept democracy is, or contains, an antinomic structure, it is "built" of two impossible-to-reconcile parts and inclinations: "the idea of democracy encompasses irreconciliable obligations to the singularity of each individual member of the demos, and to the universality of the law before which all citizens are equal." (30) Derrida names this the "double-law." (31) What this quasi-concept offers to theorists or activists of democracy is the confirmation that the kinds of impossible tensions we are forever encountering in our work and in our thinking--How to get from the Many to the One, as in consultation and referendums?
Using an analogy from the theater (the distinction between production and performance) he described the antinomic character of scientific experimental performances as being simultaneously ontological, or concerned with the real presence and disclosure of invariants in the world, and praxical, or shaped by human cultural and historical forces.
This leads to what Tamar Gutner calls the problem of "antinomic delegation," a situation in which "principals [delegate] tasks that do not easily conform to the institution's mission and internal incentive systems, or are simply very complex and difficult to carry out." Gutner argues that this, in turn, can contribute to a problem of mission creep, defined as the "mushrooming of new institutional goals without a corresponding reduction in old goals." See Tamar Gutner, "Explaining the Gaps Between Mandate and Performance: Agency Theory and World Bank Environmental Reform," Global Environmental Politics 5, no.
[C]onfronted with an antinomic stance in the precise Kantian sense of the term, we should renounce all attempts to reduce one aspect to the other ...; on the contrary, we should assert antinomy as irreducible, and conceive the point of radical critique not as a certain determinate position as opposed to another position, but as the irreducible gap between the positions.
Pushkin's un-Dostoevskean universality is found in his use of vocabulary that is often oxymoronic and antinomic, where flame and ice, rebellion and bashful reverie coexist necessarily, conditions that well express his harmonious being in the mode of coincidentia oppositorum.
With his structural differential, Korzybski (1950) clearly showed that any process of progressive conceptual abstraction is somehow evermore antinomic to precise descriptions and distinctions.
The second crucial formal feature to which Vendler points is the poem's use of ottava rima--the first seven stanzas, which pile up the antinomic images of the "bitter diptychs," are all in some way "imperfect," the sestet and final couplet to a greater or lesser degree enjambed.