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dialectic

dialectic enquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions. The ancient Greeks used the term to refer to various methods of reasoning and discussion in order to discover the truth. More recently, Kant applied the term to the criticism of the contradictions which arise from supposing knowledge of objects beyond the limits of experience, e.g. the soul. Hegel applied the term to the process of thought by which apparent contradictions (which he termed thesis and antithesis) are seen to be part of a higher truth (synthesis).

The word is recorded from late Middle English, and comes via Old French or Latin from Greek dialektikē (tekhnē) ‘(art) of debate’, from dialegesthai ‘converse with’.
dialectical materialism the Marxist theory (adopted as the official philosophy of the Soviet communists) that political and historical events result from the conflict of social forces and are interpretable as a series of contradictions and their solutions. The conflict is seen as caused by material needs.

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dialectic

dialectic (dīəlĕk´tĬk) [Gr.,= art of conversation], in philosophy, term originally applied to the method of philosophizing by means of question and answer employed by certain ancient philosophers, notably Socrates. For Plato the term came to apply more strictly to logical method and meant the reduction of what is multiple in our experience of phenomena to the unity of systematically organized concepts or ideas. Immanuel Kant gave the name "Transcendental Dialectic" (the title of one section of his Critique of Pure Reason) to his endeavor to expose the illusion of judgments that attempt to transcend the limits of experience. G. W. F. Hegel applied the term dialectic to the logical method of his philosophy, which proceeds from thesis through antithesis to synthesis. Hegel's method was appropriated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their philosophy of dialectical materialism.

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dialectic

dialectic Method of argument through conversation and dialogue; based on the philosophy of Socrates, in particular the Dialogues. Hegel went on to argue that ordinary logic, governed by the law of contradiction, is static and lifeless. In the Science of Logic (1812–16) he claimed to satisfy the need for a dynamic method, whose two moments of thesis and antithesis are cancelled and reconciled in a higher synthesis. Logic was to be dialectical, or a process of resolution by means of conflict of categories. See also dialectical materialism

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dialectic

di·a·lec·tic / ˌdīəˈlektik/ Philos. • n. (also di·a·lec·tics) [usu. treated as sing.] 1. the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions. 2. inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions. ∎  the existence or action of opposing social forces, concepts, etc. • adj. of or relating to dialectic or dialectics; dialectical.

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dialectical

di·a·lec·ti·cal / ˌdīəˈlektikəl/ • adj. 1. relating to the logical discussion of ideas and opinions: dialectical ingenuity. 2. concerned with or acting through opposing forces: a dialectical opposition between social convention and individual libertarianism. DERIVATIVES: di·a·lec·ti·cal·ly / -ik(ə)lē/ adv.

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dialectic

dialectic, dialectical materialism See ENGELS, FRIEDRICH; GURVITCH, GEORGES; HEGEL, G. W. F.; HISTORICAL MATERIALISM; MARX, KARL; MATERIALISM.

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dialectic

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dialectical

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