What is a tautology?

Ekaterina Zhukova
Ekaterina Zhukova
February 19, 2013
What is a tautology?

The term "tautology" - came to our language from Greece, formed from the Greek word "tautologeo", which literally means "to say the same thing." However, for those who want to know exactly what tautology is, one should pay attention to the fact that this term has two meanings.

The definition of "tautology"

There are two definitions of the concept of tautology, since it is a term of two sciences:

  1. Tautology in the rhetoric and style of the language means the repetition of words having one and the same meaning. Such a repetition is considered unreasonable, since it does not carry any new information. It is considered that it is necessary to get rid of tautology as if it were an empty, empty element. An exception is left only to those moments when the application of tautology is intended to enhance the poetic expressiveness of speech. Examples of rhetorical tautology:
    • "Old man"
    • "True truth"
    • "Secret spy"
    • "Fall down"
    • "Minute of time"
  2. Tautology in logic is a term used to characterize logical laws. In different sections of logic, tautology has its own shades of meaning, but in general it means a concept that remains true no matter what objects you are talking about, that is, logical tautology is always a true expression. If in a formula representing a logical law, to replace variables with any constant expressions of the corresponding category, then this formula will turn into a true statement - this is a tautology. In other words, tautology in logic is a kind of mistake, a vicious circle, when a concept is wanted to be explained through the same concept. Examples of such replacements:
    • "Three plus three is zero or not zero"
    • “Snow is coming or not going”
    • “Home is home”

Now you know what tautology is. Armed with this knowledge, you can make your speech beautiful, expressive, and correct, both from rhetorical and logical points of view.

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