Retortion

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Retortion is the act of identifying a self-referential contradiction in an opponent's position.

So, for example, if I were to write, "No one can type a coherent sentence in English," a thoughtful critic might retort: "But what you just wrote provides evidence against what you claim to be true."

Retortion is spelled "retorsion" in French. The idea of turning an opponent's self-referential contradictions into a reason for rejecting the position is common among Transcendental Thomists, who used various forms of this argument to demonstrate the instability of Kant's epistemology.

Classical examples

St. Augustine, De Trinitate, 12-21; De Civitate Dei, XI, 26
Si fallor, sum.

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