Meaning of Apodictic

The Greek term apodeiktikós passed into Latin as apodictĭcus, which came to our language as apodictic. The concept is used in the field of philosophy to describe what is valid or true demonstrably and unconditionally.

Regarding its etymology, we note that it consists of the prefix apo- (“far, outside, apart”), the verb deiknumai (which can be translated as “indicate or show”) and the suffix-tico (which in this case provides the meaning of “relative to”). A possible interpretation of this fusion of components is that the apodictic is something that stands out and can be removed from its environment, as it is something undeniable.

According to DigoPaul, the notion of apodictic appears frequently in Aristotelian logic, as the doctrine developed from the works of Aristotle is known. For this outstanding philosopher of Ancient Greece, a proposition is apodictic when it is evidently valid or necessarily invalid. Thus he differentiates these expressions from assertive propositions (which are used to assert whether a thing is or is not) and from problematic propositions (reflect the possibility that a thing turns out to be true).

We can understand the differences between these types of proposition through examples. The statement “Four plus three equals seven” is apodictic: it is necessarily valid. It does not tolerate a contradiction since “four plus three” will always be “equal to seven”. In the framework of logic, there is no possibility of discussing the validity of the statement since it carries a necessary truth and is self-evident.

Instead, a phrase like “Everest is higher than Aconcagua” is assertive because it merely states that something “is”. A problematic proposition, meanwhile, is “A family can have more members than a people”: it indicates a possibility.

Aristotelian logic also includes the concept of dialectic, as opposed to apodictic, just as something reasonable or probable opposes scientific proof. We understand the technique of conversation as dialectical, and this same meaning has a branch of philosophy that has had a great development in history.

Initially, it was a method of argumentation similar to what we now call logic. Throughout the eighteenth century, this word received a new meaning, as it began to be defined as “the theory of opposites in concepts or things, as well as the identification and overcoming of them.” From a more schematic point of view, it is possible to define dialectics as that discourse in which a given tradition or conception is opposed (giving rise to a thesis), and the exposition of contradictions and problems (an antithesis).

The Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant published in 1781 a work entitled ” Critique of Pure Reason “, the most important of his career and with a second edition six years later, in which he gives a clear distinction between assertive, problematic and apodictic. First, he points out that the modality of a trial does not contribute anything to its content; it is a very particular function of these in which the relationship, quality and quantity weigh more.

With respect to problematic judgments, Kant defines them as those that do not carry the obligation to affirm or deny. Assertorics, meanwhile, are the judgments in which it is considered as real or true. Finally, there are the apodictics, whose definition coincides with that set forth in the preceding paragraphs.

Apodictic, on the other hand, can be an argumentative style that an individual develops when expressing a judgment as categorical truth, beyond the need to do so.