For context, it is my suspicion that practical problems arise out of philosophy when it is too strictly implemented. (Possibly we would call this extremism.) In computer science terms, and exclusive or (XOR) in relation to philosophy is fraught.


  • In popular thought, Socialism and Capitalism are often held to be mutually exclusive, when in fact nearly every industrial society is a mix of the two philosophies.

  • Utilitarian or Deontological ideas may be more appropriate for different sets of problems--context is everything. Using either approach exclusively is problematic.

Is there a formal philosophy of related to the reconciliation of opposites? Is this simply a form of relativism?

  • 1
    Reconciling opposites and finding middle ground don;t necessarily go together. E.g. the latter can be found in Pragmatism, and the former in various non-dualisms, which are far from pragmatic.
    – user9166
    Jun 28, 2017 at 23:06
  • 1
    Hegel's entire philosophy is premised on the belief there are no absolute contradictions and everything can be mediated on a higher plane. I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for.
    – virmaior
    Jun 29, 2017 at 0:55
  • @virmaior very useful. it's been a while since anyone has mentioned Hegel to me, so thank you for pointing me in his direction!
    – DukeZhou
    Jun 29, 2017 at 2:10
  • Also, much of Eastern philosophy deals with such reconciliation. Non-duality is a very powerful concept there.
    – Cort Ammon
    Jul 15, 2017 at 0:08
  • @CortAmmon The Buddhist doctrine of the middle way comes to mind, as does the importance of moderation in Taoism, although this type of doctrine also has a long history in Europe.
    – DukeZhou
    Jul 16, 2017 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


There is a famous saying of Saint Augustine which seems to reflect this idea, with an added entreaty:

In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.

In necessary things, unity. In uncertain things, liberty. In all things, charity.

I can definitely interpret this in a game theoretic context, which unity relates to coalitions, liberty relates to partisanism, and charity relates to the superrational strategy.

The justification for the first two strategies is based on available data, or lack thereof, but the third is an appeal to humanity, which binds us, regardless of political, economic, or ethnic divisions.

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