What is Opposite, What Does It Mean?July 2, 2021
hostile to each other. The term opposite adds the thought of ‘hostility’ to the term opposite. For example, the idiom ‘simple proposition’ is the equivalent of ‘complex proposition’, but it is not the opposite. However, the word ‘white’ is the opposite of ‘black’. The affirmation of the one requires the negation of the other; If something is black, it is not necessarily white. But the negation of one does not necessitate the affirmation of the other. If something is not black, it is not necessarily white, for example, it can be yellow or red.
Aristotle expressed it this way: “In all cases there is a middle term (there are many middle terms N.). The middle term is defined by the negation of both extremes: neither white nor black.” The Opposite’s inclusion of this middle term, in other words, the third possibility, distinguishes it from the contradictory, which does not include the third possibility. For this reason, the terms white-black are ‘against opposition’ and the terms colored-colorless are ‘against contradiction’ (because something is colorless if it is not colored, necessarily colored if it is not colorless. There is no room for a third possibility). To put it another way, the affirmation of one of the opposite terms necessitates the negation of the other, but the negation of one does not necessitate the affirmation of the other, whereas the negation of one of the contradictory terms necessitates the affirmation of the other, just as the affirmation of one necessarily necessitates the denial of the other.