AskDefine | Define eristic

Dictionary Definition

eristic adj : given to disputation for its own sake and often employing specious arguments [syn: eristical]


1 a person who disputes; who is good at or enjoys controversy [syn: disputant, controversialist]
2 the art of logical disputation (especially if specious)

User Contributed Dictionary



From the ancient Greek word meaning wrangle or strife. See also Eris.


  1. Of something or someone provoking strife, controversy or discord.


  1. One who makes specious arguments; one who is is disputatious.
  2. A type of dialogue or argument where the participants do not have any reasonable goal. The aim is to argue for the sake of conflict, and often to see who can yell the loudest.

Extensive Definition

Eristic, from the ancient Greek word Eris meaning wrangle or strife, often refers to a type of dialogue or argument where the participants do not have any reasonable goal. The aim is to win the argument and to not potentially discover a true or probable answer to any specific question or topic. Eristic dialogue is arguing for the sake of conflict, fighting, and often to see who can yell the loudest.

Philosophical Eristic

Plato often contrasted this type of dialogue with the dialectical method and other more reasonable and logical methods (e.g., at Republic 454a). In the dialogue Euthydemus, Plato satirizes eristic.
Different from Plato, Schopenhauer considers that only logic pursues truth. For him, dialectic, sophistry and eristic have no objective truth in view, but only the appearance of it, and pay no regard to truth itself because it aims at victory. He names these three last methods as "eristic dialectic"
According to Schopenhauer Eristic Dialectic is mainly concerned to tabulate and analyse dishonest stratagems, in order that in a real debate they may be at once recognised and defeated. It is for this very reason that Eristic Dialectic must admittedly take victory, and not objective truth, for its aim and purpose.

Argumentation theory

Argumentation theory is a field of study that asks critical questions about eristic arguments and the other types of dialogue.



Schopenhauer, Arthur. Eristische Dialektik,1830.

External links

eristic in German: Eristik
eristic in Esperanto: Eristiko
eristic in French: Éristique
eristic in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Eristica
eristic in Italian: Dialettica eristica
eristic in Luxembourgish: Eristesch Dialektik
eristic in Polish: Erystyka
eristic in Portuguese: Erística
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