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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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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