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 Is the Difference between Synthesis and Antithesis?

By Mark Wollacott
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.

Synthesis and antithesis are two elements of a dialectic argument, the third being the original thesis. The difference between synthesis and antithesis is that antithesis is an idea in opposition to another, while a synthesis blends two opposing ideas together. Antithesis is likely to occur when a thesis is put forward, but synthesis is not guaranteed to happen unless both protagonists decide to compromise or someone decides to compromise for them.

One similarity between synthesis and antithesis is that neither can exist without a thesis to work from. Their relationship to the central thesis defines the differences between them. A thesis can be proposed in a letter, article or speech and sets out an idea and elaborates on it with examples and reason. The aim is to get readers and listeners to agree with the idea.

An example of a thesis came from St. Augustine of Hippo, a Roman theologian, who set out the idea of original sin. He believed that all babies were born sinful and would go to hell unless baptized. Even after baptism, all humans are still sinful without divine aid from God. He believed predestination and not good works decided if someone went to heaven or not.

The antithesis is a counter position to the thesis. It is set out in the same way in a speech or in written form and also attempts to persuade people to agree with it instead of the thesis. Pelagius, a British priest, proposed a counter idea to Augustine’s ideas on original sin. Pelagius believed that babies were born innocent and man could earn a place in heaven if he or she did good works and lived a good life.

One big difference between synthesis and antithesis is that while an antithesis is common in reaction to a thesis, the production of synthesis is not. Synthesis attempts to find common ground between two arguments. It insinuates that both the proponent of the thesis and the champion of the antithesis are willing to discuss the matter and reach a conclusion. This can be done by a third person or by the creators of the thesis and antithesis together.

Often this is not the case. With Augustine and Pelagius, neither, especially Augustine, was willing to compromise. The Church then ruled on the matter and found in favor of Augustine. This led to Pelagius being denounced as a heretic and hounded for the rest of his life. The Church ruled that there could be no synthesis and antithesis, just the thesis.

Once basic points of agreement are found, the synthesis then attempts to reconcile other elements of the thesis and antithesis. If the Catholic Church had forced Augustine and Pelagius to sit down and compromise, they would have formed a synthesis together. Pelagius might have agreed that man is sinful, but Augustine would have relented on babies, allowing an un-baptized baby to go to heaven and not hell.

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.
Link to Sources
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.