What is actually the use of the phrase 'in that'?

For instance,


2:15 in this video.

Russel Crowe is delightfully paradoxical in that he is a huge d**k with a small p***s.

P.S. Sorry for the bad language in the video. But, I couldn't find any better example.

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    Please write the full sentence where "in that" is used in the linked video. Also, have you done enough research to find what "in that" could mean? thesaurus.com/browse/in%20that – user140086 Jan 6 '17 at 16:23
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    You really couldn't find any better example than that? What about just looking in a dictionary, where you'll find things like The new system is better in that it provides faster access to the Internet. – FumbleFingers Jan 6 '17 at 16:58
  • @FumbleFingers, you have the liberty to edit the question-body. – user20865 Jan 6 '17 at 18:23

The in that construction, in the context you mean, is generally (and in my view properly) used to link two declarative statements, each in a form that comprises a term in the syllogistic sense, where it refers to "each of the two concepts being compared or related in a proposition" (TFDO).

So you can say

A in that B.

where B is an illumination or explanation of A. Thus we can have

Abraham Lincoln was a statesman in that he acted in the best interests of his country.

or, a more complex example,

Hamlet is a religious drama in that it expresses the consequences of an unchecked evil that winds up polluting the main character and almost everything around him.

  • I'm not sure Socrates is mortal, in that he is a man really does it for me. I'd normally only expect the format A in that B to be used where A wouldn't normally be recognised as an obvious (or even, likely) true statement. That's to say, your Hamlet example seems completely natural to me (because we don't axiomatically categorise Hamlet as a religious drama; A is only really a "natural" classification when considered from the B perspective). But the Lincoln one doesn't have much of an "in light of B" element. – FumbleFingers Jan 6 '17 at 18:38
  • @Fumble: Any construction can be obtuse or perspicacious. I was concentrating on demonstrating mechanics, not brilliance. – Robusto Jan 6 '17 at 22:32
  • I think maybe my understanding of how in that is properly used might be somewhat flawed, in that I even disagree with the dictionary. I just found in that definition: 33 because; inasmuch as, with example In that you won't have time for supper, let me give you something now., which I find just "weird". – FumbleFingers Jan 7 '17 at 13:14