Meaning of Antinomy

A Greek word (antinomy) derived into a Latin word (antinomy) and this came to our language as an antinomy. The term refers to the contradiction that exists between two concepts or ideas.

For example: “There is an antinomy between the projects proposed by the two political parties”, “The antinomy between offensive football and defensive football has been left behind: today we know that the best teams are those that are committed to balance”, “It is incredible that, in the XXI century, there are countries that are bleeding to death by a religious antinomy ”.

The antinomy reveals the existence of a contradiction that cannot be solved: the two antinomic principles appear to be facing each other. It is important to emphasize that, in the field of philosophy, antinomies are not necessarily linked to reason, since two principles can be rational and, in turn, be contradictory.

In everyday language, the notion of antinomy is often used with reference to a confrontation that seems impossible to resolve due to the absence of common ground or the presentation of discordant proposals. It is common for antinomies to arise in the field of politics, when the proposals of different parties are very different. If one party proposes a free market economy and another wants a strong state presence to control economic variables, there is an antinomy between the two projects.

Finally, a religious movement that developed in the 16th century is called antinomism. Although it was part of Christianity, it was branded heretical because it held that faith was all that was needed, no matter what sins were committed.

The antinomy in law

In the field of law, the antinomy presents various nuances, which we must analyze to find the most appropriate solution to a given conflict. Many theorists have dedicated their efforts to producing valuable documents that allow us to classify and study the different types of antinomy. In this case, we will focus on the theory of Norberto Bobbio, who relies on the scope of validity of the norms that lead the conflict, to establish a distinction between various classes of antinomy.

If the two norms share the scope of validity, Bobbio points out that we are faced with a total-total antinomy. It is a case in which neither can be applied without causing a conflict; for example, if one of them prohibits parking in a certain area from nine in the morning until twelve in the afternoon and the other from ten in the morning until two in the afternoon. Compliance with one of them inevitably implies non-compliance with the other.

On the other hand, we have the cases in which the scope of validity of the norms is not identical, and Bobbio groups them under the concept of partial-partial antinomy. This controversy only occurs in the intersection portion between both regulations, as would happen if both prohibited parking during the same hours, but one focused on trucks and cars, and the other focused on cars and bicycles.

The partial-partial antinomy exposed in this example occurs only when the desire to park a bicycle or truck in the prohibition zone arises, since both rules coincide with respect to cars.

The third type of antinomy recognized by Norberto Bobbio is called total-partial, and occurs when the two conflicting norms have the same scope of validity, but one of them presents a greater restriction. Taking the example from the previous paragraphs, we could notice this controversy if one rule absolutely prohibited parking for any vehicle, while the other only addressed trucks.