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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The term dialectic was first derived from the Greek dialektike referring to the "art of philosophical discussion or discourse"; this word is actually the feminine form of the Greek word dialektikos which means conversation or discourse. Through the centuries, we see dialektike evolving to the Latin dialectica which then transformed into the Old French dialectique in the 12th century. Dialectique, finally turned into the modern day version, dialectic, in the 1580s. One can attempt to begin to understand what a dialectic could possibly be by knowing that it often pertains to discussions, arguments, events, or ideas that are in dynamic tension with other opposing, and often contrary items. The belief of this writer is that a dialectic is a process using reasoning to ascertain what the truth could be. To gain a clearer understanding of how this process works, it is best to refer to the works of different philosophers through the ages. The Socratic method developed by Socrates, and popularized by Plato, approaches a dialectic through the use of reasoned arguments that show that a certain hypothesis is flawed. If a person is successful in revealing the flaws of a hypothesis, the hypothesis is then removed from the pile of possible hypotheses, thus narrowing down what the truth could possibly be. Modern philosophers, most famously Immanuel Kant and Georg Hegel approach a dialect in much different way. Kant's philosophies, which are popularly known as Fichtean dialectics, are developed in three stages: a thesis is presented, this thesis will then have antithesis which disputes the thesis; this dispute creates an tension which is resolved through a synthesis of the two theses. Hegel's perspective is similar to Kant's, but with a twist: Hegel believed that for an antithesis to arise, there must be a flaw in the thesis posited, a point that Kant had not explained. Hegelian dialectics is similar to its Fichtean counterpart except Hegel describes his process as an abstract-negative-concrete. The abstract refers to the fact that the initial thesis presented has a flaw or is incomplete and lacks trial and experience. The concrete is the final iteration of this thesis that has undergone a change through time and trial - this amalgamation of experience purifies the original thesis and brings out the essential truth of the matter .


Wikipedia contributors, "Dialectic," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectic (accessed August 19, 2012).

"Dialectic." In Online Etymology Dictionary. N.p.: n.p., 2001-2012. Accessed November 19, 2012.


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