I think some good words would be conflicted, or confused. As an example of context, think of someone who believes in freedom of speech, but, at the same time, they would support banning comedians who make jokes about certain issues that person cares about.
While not really a descriptive term of the person, as you suggest conflicted or confused, Cognitive Dissonance might be applicable.
As a single word I'd suggest
- not always acting or behaving in the same way
There are quite a few words that would work for this, here are a few that come to mind (all definitions from the Free Dictionary):
adj. 2. Characterized by dichotomy.
Noun 1. being twofold; a classification into two opposed parts or subclasses; "the dichotomy between eastern and western culture"
Supposedly some feel that this usage is not correct:
Usage: Dichotomy should always refer to a division of some kind into two groups. It is sometimes used to refer to a puzzling situation which seems to involve a contradiction, but this use is generally thought to be incorrect
But this is the primary way that I've heard the word used. Seems consistent with the "two opposed parts" meaning.
adj. 1. Involving, of the nature of, or being a contradiction:
contradictory reports about the vaccine's effectiveness. See Synonyms at opposite.
adj. 1. Characterized by hypocrisy: hypocritical praise.
- the practice of professing standards, beliefs, etc, contrary to one's real character or actual behaviour, esp. the pretence of virtue and piety
Formally you would say that person's arguments are 'logically inconsistent'. I would probably describe it in conversation as:
having two or more parts that disagree with each other
Here are a few that may fit.
Multifaceted: Having many aspects, sides, or faces.
Capricious: Given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior.
Erratic: Not even or regular in pattern or movement; unpredictable.
Protean: Tending or able to change frequently or easily.
Versatile: Able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities.
Multifarious: Many and varied.
Divers (Not misspelled): Many and varied.
Hypocrite: A person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs.
Contradictory Traits: Traits that coexist whilst excluding one another.
Personality Paradox: The observation that a human being’s personality tends to remain the same over time, while their behavior can change in different situations.
Mutually Inclusive: Able to occur or exist at the same time.
Oxford American College Dictionary. Meriam-Webster
Having mixed feelings about someone or something; being unable to choose between two (usually opposing) courses of action.
Of two minds (about someone or something) — TFD
Fig. holding conflicting opinions about someone or something; being undecided about someone or something.
"I am of two minds about whether I should go to the convention."
a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (as cruel kindness); broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements
Some who speaks out of both sides of their mouth is a phrase I hear quite a bit to refer to someone who says contradicting things. Usually it indicates someone who is just saying what people would like to hear.
be speaking/talking out of both sides of your mouth (American) 1. to say different things about the same subject when you are with different people in order to always please the people you are with "How can we trust any politicians when we know they're speaking out of both sides of their mouths?"
Besides doublethink, what first came to mind is compartmentalization:
An unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person's having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.
To be used in this way is offensive to some, but the following (non-clinical usage) fits your description - schizophrenic:
- Of, relating to, or characterized by the coexistence of disparate or antagonistic elements: "I vacillated back and forth without once perceiving that my impulses were schizophrenic" (Shirley Abbott). - thefreedictionary.com
I think you mean: Hypocrite
a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. Source:http://www.dictionary.com/browse/hypocrite
having or showing concern only about your own needs and interests
exploiting opportunities with little regard to principle or consequences : a politician considered opportunistic
1 (Of an action) seeming sensible and judicious in the circumstances: [WITH INFINITIVE]: I did not think it politic to express my reservations
I see it as; an Oxymoron is a phrase that contradicts itself and moron is someone that contradicts themselves. I do also tend to think that its more of an intellectual dissonance between two thoughts; say someone who believes everyone was born equal, unless you were born gay, as opposed to someone who is fine with immigration, as long as the migrants aren't moving in next door.
You could also have a hypocrite who is someone that acts in a way that contracts whats they say; I do feel this word really has more to do with actions than beliefs - "do as i say, not as i do" or learning through the voice of experience. My father, for example, used to tell me never to have children and never get married. He proceeded to do both some years later...