Contemporary Chinese Thought 13 (4):3-8 (1982)

Both "dialectical contradiction" and "logical contradiction" use the word "contradiction." This is misleading; it may easily lead people to believe that the word "contradiction" has only one meaning and thus confuse dialectical contradiction with logical contradiction. As a matter of fact, in dialectics and logic "contradiction" implies different things. "Contradiction" as used in dialectics refers to the two contradictory aspects in a thing. In contrast, "contradiction" as described in formal logic means the self-contradictoriness in thinking. For example, contradictions between the productive forces and the relations of production, between one's merits and weaknesses, and between getting rid of the stale and taking in the fresh are all dialectical contradictions. "At once a man and a not-man," "at once existent and non-existent," "at once meritorious and non-meritorious," and so forth are all logical contradictions. The law of contradiction of formal logic excludes only the self-contradictoriness in thinking and has nothing to do with dialectical contradiction. The law of contradiction says that there can be no"A and not-A." That is to say, "A and not-A" is the logic contradiction that the law of contradiction should rule out. If we admit that dialectical contradiction is not logical contradiction, we then cannot describe dialectical contradiction as "A and not-A."
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DOI 10.2753/CSP1097-146713043
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