A premise is a deduction that has been proven to be true. On the other hand, contradictory premises are two conclusions that pertain to concepts that are actually opposite each other, resulting in a total conflict in concepts (Vos Savant, 1996). Contradictory premises may also exclude one conclusion from the other because there is no relationship or interaction that exists between the two premises. It is a mistake to argue from contradictory premises because each premise pertains to one independent concept which has no connection to the other conclusion hence there is no basis for comparison or connection when used together. It is thus not logical to argue from contradictory premises because both premises can not be applied together in one scenario. It may be possible that each premise is true, yet when two premises of opposite settings are combined, there is no chance that these two opposing concepts be unified into a single and correct concept.
It is a mistake to argue from contradictory premises because there will be no logic in connecting or integrating two concepts that express conflicting concepts. Such differences may never be combined into one stronger concept because each premise provides the reverse of the other premise. It will be erroneous to argue from contradictory premises because to do such action will generate an impression that one is challenging himself. And not only is the employment of contradictory premises a mistake, it is also a shame to argue with such premises because it denies an individual of a particular stand because contradictory premises go against each other. Hence, when an individual attempts to argue from contradictory premises, such action challenges himself and not his opponent because he is providing himself with premises that cancel out and he is left with no sound premise that should have been used to challenge another individual’s school of thought.
It is also a mistake to argue from contradictory premises because the employment of two opposing premises will only cause confusion in attaining a clear answer to a question that is being addressed (Weston, 1987). It is important that one should take note of the two premises that are being used in a discussion. A good argument stance generally involves having two premises that are true and can be used together in order to have a single and still true conclusion. When arguing from contradictory premises, each premise can not be true when considered together hence the employment of two premises makes an argument entirely false.
It is thus important to understand that a valid argument is mainly based on the stability of the premises that are being employed. Should there be two premises that are both true yet can not be used together, such premises should not be used in an argument because this will only provide more conflict than clarity in an argument. More importantly, it should be understood that when both premises that are presented are not contradictory and can be used together in an argument, it is more likely to uphold that concept that is being defended, than arguing from contradictory premises when at usually at odds with each other.
Hence contradictory premises are often considered fallacies because it is not likely that both premises can be integrated into one true inference. In the field of science, premises are often scrutinized at their smallest detail before it reaches other levels of assessment and analysis because it is difficult to generate a conclusion at a higher level if the simplest premises at the initial stages of experimentation are already contradictory. The use of sound premises also facilitates a better understanding of a concept, especially in the fields of sciences and philosophy, because it defends and upholds conclusions that may be easily presented and understood by the individuals who would like to employ such conclusions and observations that are generated from the analysis.
Vos Savant M (1996): The power of logical thinking. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Weston A (1987): A rulebook for arguments. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.