We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Does "Eristic" Mean?

By Alan Rankin
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

“Eristic” refers to the process of creating strife, discord, or confusion. The term is named after the Greek goddess of disorder, Eris, also known as Discordia. In debate and argument, eristic principles are employed for the sake of prolonging rather than resolving the conflict in question. These principles are often employed in modern political discussions and debate. During the 1960s, the joke religion Discordianism was founded on the belief that eristic principles dictate most human behavior, especially the behavior of people in groups.

According to ancient Greek theology, every Earthly realm or concept was watched over and maintained by a corresponding god. Eris was the daughter of the goddess of night; her siblings included the gods of death, vengeance, and fate. Her jurisdiction involved any state of conflict, disorganization, or chaos. Such situations were therefore said to be eristic. The most famous Greek myth regarding Eris is the tale of the golden apple, also known as the Judgment of Paris.

According to this legend, Zeus invited the gods to the wedding of a sea nymph, but left out Eris, fearing she would cause trouble. Feeling spited, Eris delivered a golden apple to the wedding; written on the apple was the word “kallisti,” meaning “for the fairest one.” The other goddesses argued over which one of them was the fairest; Zeus, wisely declining to get involved, commanded a human being named Paris to decide. Aphrodite bribed Paris with the hand of the most beautiful woman on Earth, Helen of Troy. According to tradition, this led directly to the Trojan War, a seminal event in Greek history and the inspiration for the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey.

In modern times, anything that causes conflict or discord is said to be eristic. In speech and debate, for example, there are certain tactics that are not meant to fairly win a debate, but merely to prolong the conflict or confuse and anger an opponent. The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer identified these “38 Stratagems” in his book Eristic Dialectic. These tactics are not considered fair by the rules of debate etiquette. Nevertheless, they are often used in modern political debate and in open discussion of controversial topics.

In the 1960s, the American writers Kerry Thornley and Gregory Hill decided that eristic principles clearly dictated much of human behavior and history. Accordingly, they invented Discordianism, a religion celebrating Eris and her work in the modern world. While some considered Discordianism a joke or an art prank, it attracted many adherents who saw the sense of its nonsensical concepts. The symbol of Discordianism is the golden apple of Eris, known as the Apple of Discord. The author Robert Anton Wilson, who often wrote about Discordianism, described the eristic principles governing human activity as “chaos, discord, confusion, bureaucracy and international relations.”

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.