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external link[edit]

This page: should be added somwhere.The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 08:54, 23 July 2004 (UTC).


the criticisms at the end of this section seem only to be directed at a specific kind of dialectics, namely the dialectics that started with hegel and possibly plato.

to criticize dialectics in general and say it is not part of anglo-american philsophy fudges different meanings of it. anglo-american try to avoid the hegelian dialectic, and especcialy the idea that systems, and reality, have as part of their structure, contradictions.

"Dialectic is based on a dialogue between two or more people who may hold differing views, yet wish to pursue truth by seeking agreement with one another"

if the above is seen as a general definition of dialectic then all philosophys have some kind of dialectic.

maybe i am wrong but i think what popper is criticzing should be made clear, but i have only read his criticism of hegel, and never read "what is dialectic". if he was cricizing dialectic in general, than i would disagree with him but that is by the by. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:15, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Round 2 "He wrote that in Kant’s work the triadic form “was still lifeless and uncomprehended” but that “since then [since Kant] it has, however, been raised to its absolute significance."

This characterization SEEMS to take Dialectic and the "triadic form" as synonymous particularly because the author has to add the phrase triadic form to what he quotes from Hegel. In fact nothing can be further from the truth.

Yes one can approach Hegel's work with a preconcieved idea and say oh look. we have Indeterminate being, Indeterminate nothing and determinate being. Voila we have thesis-antithesis-synthesis! Yet does Hegel mention anything about proceeding by some triadic formula. Does

Hegel's dialectic get applied or is dialectic in Hegel the underlying logic. Hegel doesn't go hey I have concept A over here and now I need to hunt its opposite down so I can come up with some sort of resolution. Hegel seeks to elicit the attributes of a concept while avoiding certain philosophic problems. Indeterminate being doesn't stand antithetically with indeterminate nothing. It is the same! The tension is INTERNAL not applied. While indeterminate being and indeterminate nothing share the same substance lack of distinction, they are still different. Nothing is nothing and being is being. Thus first distinction is determinate or specific being. The crucial question here is how the distinction is brought out. Is the distinction inherent in the concept or do we apply some formula in search of some compromise?

Spiker 22 (talk) 20:55, 18 September 2013 (UTC) Spiker_22

Aristotelian Dialectic[edit]

Aristotle’s contribution to the notion of dialectic is important to recognize because in order to gain a more holistic perspective on the term, one must understand its origins. Although Plato, Aristotle’s teacher, was the first to use the actual term ‘dialektike,’ Aristotle had a large impact in its development.[1]

The essence of Aristotelian dialectic lies in the pursuit for the ‘truthful opinion.’ It starts with some available topic, and seeks to produce insight as to why things are the way they are.[2] It provides a way of hypothesizing, testing, convincing, and coming to a justified and sufficient conclusion of some question.[3] In other words, dialectic is primarily about reaching a collective acceptance of something as true.[4] Aristotle uses the principle of endoxa to explain that the opinion of the wise or of the majority holds more credibility than that of the individual.[5] A reputable idea that is supported by such a majority has authority to it, simply because so many people believe it is true.

The first line of Aristotle’s Rhetoric reads, “Rhetoric is the counterpart to dialectic.” The two are used in complementary ways to reach that goal of the accepted truth. In fact, Brunschwig says, “Rhetoric is to public discourse… what dialectic is to private, conversational and dialogic discourse,” meaning that dialectic plays a huge role in everyday interpersonal communication and persuasion.[6] Accordingly, in Aristotle’s view, everyone already practices the art of dialectic.[7] Since we are the ones who partake in it, dialectic produces something “clearer and more knowable” for us.[8] Furthermore, Aristotle claims that dialectic is an “art” (‘techne’), or a “science of words” (‘episteme logon’), because it comes from the combination of practicality and intellect, as well as common experiences.[9]

Amrb15 (talk) 00:35, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Change moves in 3D spirals not 2D circles. (Sometimes referred to as "negation of the negation")[edit]

I defy anyone to explain what the hell this is supposed to mean. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Decora (talkcontribs) 04:48, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

I assume the previous poster refers to the fact that, on top of the claim on being clear, it entails that spirals are three-dimensional, which they are not. The original author must mean either a helix or something more conical (e.g., the general image of a tornado). (March 30, 2009) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hlinz (talkcontribs) 01:52, 31 March 2009 (UTC)


I haven't surveyed the page extensively but this page has been very clearly been vandalized (e.g. in the first like "thesis" is replaced with "feces") (talk) 08:01, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Apparently, in the time it took me to write that note it has been reverted, so never mind. (talk) 08:02, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
lol —Preceding unsigned comment added by Decora (talkcontribs) 05:00, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Whole Article[edit]

A lot of this article is not NPOV and is awkward to read and pretentious. Different sections claim to have proven each other wrong.


My understanding (probably flawed) is that Hegelian dialectic arose primarily in response to Kant, and the thesis, antithesis, synthesis triad arises with Hegel (although it's not named by him). This makes the introduction a bit odd.

Dear Anonymous Commenter:
In describing his table of categories, Kant wrote:

in every class there is the same number of categories, namely three, which again makes us ponder, because generally all division a priori by means of concepts must be a dichotomy. It should be remarked also, that the third category always arises from the combination of the second with the first … It must not be supposed, however, that therefore the third category is only a derivative, and not a primary concept of the pure understanding. For the joining of the first and second concepts, in order to produce the third, requires an independent act of the understanding, which is not identical with the act that produces the first and second concepts…. Critique of Pure Reason, B110

I emboldened the main point. From this Kantian triadic process of conceptual combination, Fichte, and subsequently Hegel, formed their so–called dialectical movement of concepts.Lestrade 19:08, 30 July 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

In his book, Kant's Theory of Knowledge, Justus Hartnack commented on the celebrated dialectical method. In a footnote to his Chapter 3, he wrote: "On Kant's observation: 'Further, it may be observed that the third category in each class always arises from the combination of the second category with the first' (B 110), Richard Falckenberg makes the following comment: 'It is this "neat" remark by Kant which occasioned Fichte's Triaden and Hegel's dialectical method (Hilfsbuch zur Geschichte der Philosophie seit Kant, p. 13)." Falckenberg categorically asserted that Kant's combination of categories, which was based on the way that premises combine in a syllogism in order to form a conclusion, occasioned or caused the dialectical method which is such a favorite in the academies and universities. Don't bother looking for Falckenberg's Hilfsbuch (Aid). It does not exist on the Internet in an English translation. Such an important claim cannot even be located today, while so many trashy books are readily available.Lestrade (talk) 20:19, 8 July 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Exposition needs revamping[edit]

The musicologist bit belongs in the body of the article IMO. There should be something clearer to explain dialectic up front.

Pazouzou 00:24, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)

What are your objections? It is a clear real world example that also illustrates the importance of the concept. Hyacinth 00:32, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think relational dialectics should be covered somewhere.The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 15:55, 20 September 2005 (UTC).

More details, less rhetoric.[edit]

Many philosophers have offered critiques of dialectic, and it can even be said that hostility or receptivity to dialectics is one of the things that divides twentieth-century Anglo-American philosophy from the so-called "continental" tradition, a divide that only a few contemporary philosophers (among them Richard Rorty) have ventured to bridge.

So what does the "Anglo-American philosophy" do - agree with dialectic or disagree? For that matter, what does one who disagree with dialectic believe? How does non-dilectic philosophy disagree with dialectic philosophy?

It's generally thought that whilst on the continent of Europe dialectics has entered the cultural as a legtimate part of thought and philosophy, it is generally misunderstood, disregarded, ridiculed or treated with great suspicion in the UK and the USA, and plays no discernable part in their culture with their strong mechanical positivist bias. Of course there are many notatble exceptions to this. Andysoh 00:58, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Parts of this page sounds like it was dumped from someone's honors thesis - good, but a little unapproachable for someone without a good grounding in philosophy. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 21:39, 15 May 2005 (UTC).


i don't know much about this subject, but isn't the socratic method essentially reductio ad absurdum? if so, should there be a reference to the latter?

For practical purposes (causally, the task at hand), productio dialectically opposes reductio in axiological momentum (Now, or, in the moment). --Dialectic (talk) 17:26, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Robert Pirsig[edit]

"Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" contains, among other things, a critique of dialectic and the socratic method.The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 05:37, 22 August 2005 (UTC).

more like a vindication of the dialectic. not of simple logic and rationality- but that's not what the socratic method is about.  ;) --Heah (talk) 20:25, 22 August 2005 (UTC)


I took out the reference, in the Marxist dialectics section, to "other schools of thought that use the triadic model", since they weren't identified and I couldn't figure out what the point of that section was. Jeremy J. Shapiro 17:43, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

i guess it was referring to fichte . . .  ;)--Heah (talk) 18:29, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
But I mean, they were presented as critiques of Marxian dialectics. I'm not aware of any modern Fichtean school that criticizes Marxism from that perspective. Or was I missing something? Jeremy J. Shapiro 20:01, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

"sinister dialectic"[edit]

I just moved the following new paragraph to this Talk page, because I have no idea of what it means, and no examples were given: "In some political analysis, this sort of dialectic has taken on a more sinister meaning, whereby both sides in a conflict are either directly controlled or indirectly manipulated in order to control the change which results." Although it sounds like an interesting idea, I couldn't figure out what it means, whether it's reporting on some current useage of "dialectic" or is original research, etc. If the person who added it would give some examples, that would help. Jeremy J. Shapiro 04:21, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

George Orwell[edit]

While I agree that doublethink is not a dialectic, I would argue that it is the absence of a dialectic - the elimination of the ability for people to think of things other than the mainstream. To me, 1984 was about breaking the historical cycle, leading to the stagnation and eventual death of society as we know it. For example, if in a country there were very weak exective powers and a strong parliament, then it might be very difficult to react quickly enough to situations where time is short. After such an event, people might change their government to have stronger exective powers (etc.). In 1984, there would be no reaction, no change, and no dialectic. So I would say that 1984 is actually about how crucial a dialectic is to a living society. --Ignignot 16:12, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

Orwell's 1984 shows what could be the result of a widespread controlled dialectic. This would be the desired end result such controllers presumably would seek. Problem, Reaction, Solution is the method used to bring about further control or other desired result that would in any other situation be completely unacceptable to the general population, e.g. loss of liberty, privacy invasion, war. --Shink X 19:07, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

moved Literature section here[edit]

I just moved the so-called "Literature" section here because I don't see what it adds to the article, is just some disconnected factoids, and in my view detracts from the article and makes it less encyclopedic. Half the literature ever written could be analyzed as dialectical or anti-dialetical. If someone really has something to contribute here, they should really explain what it is rather than stick in disconnected facts. Here's what I moved:

In Literature:

The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand critical of dialectics. Interestingly, Chris Sciabarra in Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical argues that Rand's method is dialectical.

Does anyone really believe that this should be in a general article about dialectics? Jeremy J. Shapiro 06:37, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Only in a high-quality article, but not for Wikipedia level. (talk) 15:39, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
i don't. --Heah talk 07:02, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

dialectic application to ecology[edit]

does the concept of 'niche contruction' (and the conflict with evolutionary theory/natural selection) arise from the application of dialectic thinking to ecology? That is, does the phrase 'not only does the environment cause changes in species, but species also cause changes in their environment' represent a dialectic argument? Dec 19,2005 CornColonel

Given that Lewontin is one of the main people to popularize the niche concept, I'd say yes. Apr 12, 06 Cellulator

Thesis, antithesis, and synthesis[edit]

Hegel never used these terms so their application is a bit too simplistic in the understanding of Hegel.The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 18:46, 30 January 2006 (UTC).

"Hegel never used these terms" is a myth. He did use them, but more often he used substitute terms with the same meaning. Let's start with "dialectical." In Phenomenology Hegel wrote that skepticism "exhibits the dialectical movement which Sense-certainty [thesis: general or "universal"], Perception [antithesis: particular], and the Understanding [synthesis: general = particulars, or one = many] each is" (Miller translation, para. 203). "Dialectical" is again mentioned in para. 205. Also see paras. 65 ("dialectical movement"), 66 ("dialectical movement," "dialectical form"), 130 ("dialectical movement"), 132 ("the dialectic of . . ."), and 233 ("dialectical movement"). More often Hegel uses equivalent terms such as "triadic form" (para.50), "these three moments" (para. 767), "three distinct moments" (para. 770), and "triple process."
"Thesis" becomes "primitive stage," "first stage," "first moment," and other substitute terms. "Antithesis" occurs frequently throughout the text, though often in reference to the clash between thesis and antithesis rather than to the antithesis itself. "Negation," "the negative element," "second moment," "middle term," and "estrangement" are among the terms that refer to antitheses. "Synthetic unity of the first two propositions," "synthetic connection," "third moment," and "negate the negation" (a term later adopted by Marx) are among the references to syntheses.Atticusattor (talk) 21:59, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

Readers might like to visit my site (link at the bottom of this page), where I systematically take apart dialectical materialism, from a Marxist angle.

Rosa Lichtenstein.


It's cute that there is an "anti-dialectics" site. The existence of such a site further affirms the principles of dialectics, of course. --Nat 02:10, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Only if the dialectics site and the anti-dialectics site synthesize into a synthetic dialectics site which retains the characteristics of both thetic and antithetic sites. Oh, I forgot to mention, the new synthetic absolute dialectic site must become, in turn, a new thetic site, which will generate a new antithetic site, ad infinitum. This is progressive development. Lestrade (talk) 00:12, 24 June 2012 (UTC)Lestrade ------------------------

Rosa L:

"The existence of such a site further affirms the principles of dialectics, of course."

Not if not a single one of these 'principles' makes a blind bit of sense.

In popular language, dialectics says that for every thesis, there is an antithesis. If dialectics is a thesis, your site is an (attempted) antithesis. You're affirming dialectics by opposing it. That's the strength of dialectics - it encompasses even its opposition. --Nat 03:21, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I would like to propose the synthesis of these two ideas: "Who cares." ;-) --Ignignot 16:26, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Rosa L writes:

"In popular language, dialectics says that for every thesis, there is an antithesis."

Which, of course, makes not a blind bit of sense.


"I would like to propose the synthesis of these two ideas: "Who cares.""

Clearly not you; so what?


Quote from Marx under Marxist Dialectic[edit]

I'm changing the first use of the word "ideal" to "Idea" — I think this was a (slightly confusing) typo. Please revert if I am mistaken, but post me a brief response why "ideal" is right (unless, of course, it is just that that is what Marx actually wrote; I can't check, as there is no citation.) Lewallen 18:18, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

I googled and found that that was indeed the correct quote, so I reverted... but it still doesn't make perfect sense to me. Lewallen 18:24, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
This is not "ideal" in the sense of a Platonic ideal, but simply an adjective derived from the noun idea. Forgive me if I'm just pointing out what you already know. Franklin Dmitryev 01:00, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
I think most modern writers would put 'conceptual' to avoid confusion, but Marx could conceivably have found such a confusion a fertile one, given his revolutionary, materialist perspective. Likewise. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:35, 30 December 2006 (UTC).

khm, you must be forgetting that marx was german? are you giving yourself enough credits to criticize him? matt.

Buddhistic Dialectic[edit]

Apparently, the sub-entry just relates what Engels thought he understood of it. That is POV and should be marked as such. Engels is not an authority on the matter. -- ZZ 19:16, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

That's pretty pointless. ALL citations on controversial issues are POV, because obviously everybody has an opinion on nearly anything. The NPOV stance does not apply to citations, it applies to the Wikipedians. We should try to be objective, not the sources, so there is really nothing gained by indiscriminately tagging articles where both sides of an inconclusive argument are exhibited. -- 02:56, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with the statement about the buddhist dialectic, but did Engel's really state such a thing? If so where? Somehow I'm skeptical. Is there an actual citation for this somewhere?

Regardless of whether Engles is an aithority on anything, the entire section fails utterly to convey the notion of dialectic in Buddhist training.

"Elements of dialectics are found in Buddhism, Engels explains. The Buddhist doctrine was argued in a highly consistent and logical way in the 2nd century by Nagarjuna, whose rationalism became the basis for the development of Buddhist logic. The logic of Buddhism was later developed by other notable thinkers such as Dignaga and Dharmakirti (between 500 and 700). This laid the basis for later idealist schools such as Madhyamaka, Vijnanavada, and Tantric Buddhism." This entire paragraph is simply silly and wrong.

To begin, Nagarjuna is the founder of what we call Madhyamaka (English: Middle Way), which was extensively developed by the others referenced above, and by Chandrakirti who isn't even mentioned. The entire point of Madhyamaka is not to prove something, but to show that all conceptual explanations of reality fail because they fall into the trap of duality. Madhyamaka is a skillful means (Skt: upaya) to move the practioner beyond mental fabrications. In Tibet, and in Tibetan schools in the west, it is practiced as a form of debate. (In the Zen tradition, koans are a form of upaya.)The purpose of such activities is not philosophical games, but deep penetration into the false assumptions we all make about what is real, and to liberate our minds from making mistakes that cause suffering to ourselves and others. Without complete confidence that the purpose of discussion within a Buddhist context is to free our minds rather than to arive at a verbal "truth," one will not understand much.

I have seen a bumper sticker that reads, "You don't have to believe everything you think." This is so much more profound than the attempts to misunderstand Buddhism as some sort of rational philosophical school, that it should give one pause before saying more. If we could understand this, how many silly discussions and brutal wars could be avoided!

Somewhat as an aside, no Buddhist school has ever adopted a view which amounts to "idealism."

As a Trotskyist, my devotion to Engels and Marx is comparable to a cultist's dedication to his cult. However I am not yet fully blind and realize that Engels is indeed not an expert on Buddhism, thus if his opinion on Buddhist dialectics is the only thing that says that it existed. Then clearly there may not be such a thing as Buddhist dialectics in the first place. Although it does make some sense, that Buddhism is tied to dialectic thought. Have any Buddhists validated this claim perhaps? (Demigod Ron 04:21, 1 November 2007 (UTC))


I think that this article is misleading as are most discussions of the concept of Dialectic because they portray dialectic as dinstinct from or in opposition with Classical Logic. Which is to say that Dialectic does not allow for an "actual contradiction" or violation of Identity and Law of Excluded Middle, rather it identifies contradictions in terms or argument, which are cause for revision of premise or conclusion. In this sense the Law of Identity is central - something and it's contradiction (i.e. A and ~A) cannot both be true. If it is realized that two statements which are seemingly opposite are either both true or both false it means that they do not have a genuine inverse truth relation. Dialectic is the study of trichotomies. It is the process of realizing this "seeming contradiction" and resolving it by resort to some other statement which has a genuine relation. It is stripped of its of glorified philosophy terminology - trial and error.

Rosa L wrote:

Well, Hegel fans often say things like the above, but the so-called 'Law of Identity' (unknown to Aristotle) has nothing to do with the 'Law of Non-Contradiction'.

The former, in its traditional (i.e., pre-Leibnizian) form concerns the alleged relation between and object and itself; the latter relates to the truth-functional implications that hold between a proposition and its negation. Since propositions cannot be treated as objects without destroying their logical form, the 'law of non-Contradiction' is not about objects.

[And if, per impossibile, a proposition could fail to be identical with itself, it would not be a proposition, and hence nothing could follow from it.]

Of course, Hegel had rather odd views about 'judgements' and 'propositions' themselves, but unless one is fluent in Martian, they make no sense. [On this see John Rosenthal 'The Myth of Dialectics' (Macmillan, 1998).] But even so, a judgement cannot be an object, nor yet the name of one, without destroying its logical form, too.

So, this part of 'dialectics' is based on seriously defective logic (and this is so whether or not it is true that Hegel accepted/rejected these alleged 'laws' of logic in the dialectical or the speculative part of his philosophy), as indeed are others.

All of which vindicates Bertrand Russell's claim that the worse a man's logic, the more interesting are the conclusions that are alleged to follow from it.

More details here:

and here:

RL 29/08/06

Pierre de la Ramée (Petrus Ramus)[edit]

We appear to have a big gap in the story of dialectic between Socrates (circa 470–399 BC) and Hegel (1770-1831) - but what of Pierre de la Ramée (aka Petrus Ramus, 1515–1572) and his once canonical (even in England) Dialectique (dates varying between English and French Wikipedias)? Does the development of dialectic really jump from one philosophical 'Herrenvolk ' to another, without the inspirational influence of a French revolutionary? BTW, I just noticed that the evidence of editor opposition to the orthodox, mainpage summary of dialectic as Socratic-Hegelian reads 'Kant... Ramus.' :D —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:50, 30 December 2006 (UTC).

In addition, Hegel acredits Kant as being the first to revive ancient dialectics. I am not sure that "instead of regarding the contradictions into which dialectics leads as a sign of the sterility of the dialectical method, as Kant tended to do in his Critique of Pure Reason" is correct. I thought his four cosmological antimonies (etc) were a celebrated reintroduction and redefinition of dialectics along more classical greek lines.
And I think there was around the time of Pierre de la Ramée a strong influence of the neo-platonists; perhaps one find more than one or two attempts to retreive dialectics from the Aristotelian grasp.
The article on Pierre de la Ramée does not indicate this influence however, nor does it indicate what his dialectic might have consisted of. Andysoh 21:13, 26 March 2007 (UTC)


Well, as someone who came to the article with a desire to find out what Dialectics actually means (in the context of reading a history of Soviet Russia) I'm certainly confused. From the article, it seems that dialectic could be one (or more) of:

  • A form of conversation between two people with opposing views, resulting in the formation of a third view -- the synthesis -- the implication being that the synthesis is likely to be more valid than either original view.
  • A form of monologue (internal or otherwise) in which the protagonist "acts out" the roles of the two holders of opposing views described above, as a reasoning device (or persuasive device) to arrive at the synthesis.
  • An actual belief that there is a fundamental pattern in nature, that "things" emerge, then later their opposites emerge and finally a third alternative supercedes both
  • Something else altogether?

Looking elsewhere on the Web hasn't helped my confusion -- I fully admit I haven't looked at any dead tree sources.

Either the article isn't clear enough, or there is a genuine ambiguity about the whole thing -- in which case the article should state that an ambiguity exists.

Ukslim 14:53, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

That is a very precise summary of this article and of dialectics in all its forms. The article is therefore quite clear, but the subject is not perhaps easily accessible. If you are reading about soviet russia and wish to know the dialectics which Lenin supported (not Stalin), you might go to [1] Andysoh 22:14, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Rosa Lichtenstein wrote: UKSlim I am not surprised you are a little confused -- this whole approach to theory is itself riddled with confusions and logical blunders.

So, your last option is correct, but just add to it: "Not so much ambiguity as wall-to-wall nonsense"

Rosa Lichtenstein 04:23, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Thesis: Ambiguity is a problem (Ukslim). Antithesis: Ambiguity isn't a problem (anonymous, owing to repeated, largely US {but also some British} censorship)...

I feel like a data explosion lacking balancing emotional parsimony! --Dialectic (talk) 00:06, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Proudhonian concept of dialetics, anyone?[edit]

Hi, last year I did a dissertation on the politics and philosophy of the 'Anarchist' writer, journalism and philosophy of P-J Proudhon. He had a slightly different concept of dialectics. His theory that there was always be thesis and anti-thesis, and that there could be no synthesis. So there would be uneasy relationship between the two opposing ideas until it was superseded by different, 'superior' or more appealing ideology/philsophy. I'm not too confident to write a new chapter on this on this subject. But if anyone else wants to write about it they are welcome to do so. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:03, 4 March 2007 (UTC).

Proudhon therefore appears to present a concept of a non-synthesis. But surely that inevitably forms an antithesis to the thesis of a synthesis, resulting in...? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:28, 8 March 2007 (UTC).


Some of the opening remarks seem to me to reflect the Aristotelian tradition. "It is one of the three original liberal arts or trivium (the other members are rhetoric and grammar) in Western culture. In ancient and medieval times, both rhetoric and dialectic were understood to aim at being persuasive (through dialogue). The aim of the dialectical method, often known as dialectic or dialectics, is to try to resolve the disagreement through rational discussion." One could perhaps either insert, "originating with Aristotle" or, I wondered whether they might be better moved to an Aristotle section, perhaps with his ideas on dialectics made more explicit and the opening summary remarks made into a summary of sections that follow? Andysoh 22:14, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

first line[edit]

I think this article is good but I'm not sure about the first line. Is there a source in classical philosophy (other than Fichte) where dialectic is posited as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis? If so, why not specify the earliest origins? Is it Aristotle?

Alternatively, I wonder if this description should say something like:

"In philosophy, dialectic (Greek: διαλεκτική) is commonly described as an exchange of propositions (theses) and counter-propositions (antitheses) resulting in a synthesis of the opposing assertions, or at least a qualitative transformation in the direction of the dialogue."

Dialectics is often attributed to the Ancient Ionian philosophical school, particularly Heraclitus as per the wikipedia entry. Perhaps some acknowledgement of this?

Socrates seems to have combined something of this school with the best of the old Sophist tradition (which some trace back to the ionian school anyway), from where the term dialectic may have originated.

Plato's development may have been to make dialectics more of a mystical type of enlightenment (in his republic, for instance).

Andysoh 00:50, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Much talk of ancient history, few examples of benefits[edit]

In all this deliberation on the precise provenance of the concepts, little has been done to demonstrate their day-to-day practical value, if any(?). :)

In relation to science, see the last section: Dialectical biology.
We could possibly make reference to, where there is a scan of a "Science and Nature" magazine sponsored discussion in the USA. Irving Adler (North Bennington, Vermont) makes by far the most useful points in my opinion. I think they have been shortened. There is much that is wrong with the editorial position of "Science and Nature" in relation to the dialectics of nature in my opinion, and that makes me hesitate.
Dialectics is (and always was, going right back to Anaxamander in 600BC Miletus in ancient Ionia in my opinion) a logic of revolution, or a logic given birth to by revolutionary times, and in relation to society its practical value extends to those who wish to understand revolutions, that is, sudden changes, upheavals, coming-into-beings and passings away.
In cosmology, see "phase change" and its significance in understanding the cosmos. Phase change is an example of quantity into quality or vice versa. One could say that an awareness of the possiblity of encountering dialectics of nature in the form of a phase change could help predict, or does help predict, developments in nature. cf, for example, Brian Greene, 'The fabric of the cosmos'.
So - day-to-day practical value? ... you might say, no, not to you and me, not every day, just some days - exceptional days. :)

Andysoh 00:54, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure dialectics hasn't got day-to-day practical value, which is perhaps what someone new to the subject most needs to know. In authoritarian behaviour, people tend to accept what they're told about things by anyone remotely suggestive of authority, and are trained/reared to view contradiction as perverse, disobedient, disloyal. But when one adopts dialectics as part and parcel of one's day-to-day examination of reality, it becomes a routinely liberating mind-tool. Thus, for example, instead of meekly accepting your authoritative-sounding conclusion to the effect that dialectics may lack day-to-day value, I simply, routinely, explore the antithesis, resulting in a quite revolutionary, if not necessarily original(?) conclusion.
I would also really want to place these observations near the commencement of the systems analysis entry, but a cursory glance at it seems to suggest that, as often happens, the Wiki entry (and possibly the subject itself) has been cornered and monopolised by established idées fixes, which the simple application of dialectics at once exposes.
N.b.,: What would happen were one to propose to a student of dialectics? ;|
—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:18, 26 March 2007 (UTC).
I agree, actually. Some people think in rigid categories, and are the worst at practical things, and are always taken by surprise when the thing in question turns out to be many sided, appoproximate, full of contradictions, subject to sudden change (such as snapping off...) So it is useful, but not mysterious, and possibly not so easily accessible as an idea to new people as when one discusses big things, like big science or revolutions.
I wonder whether the systems analysis people would violently object to a criticisms section, in which one could perhaps place something? The only problem is, without some good sources, (Wittgenstein's later stuff, or something really heavy like that - his critique of logic and embracing of a holistic approach is the first step on the rung of dialectics) they will just laugh like a drain - and who could blame them - they're not philosophers.
Now the logicians might be fair game, although I've been reading a few critiques suggesting that hegel and trotsky misrepresented logic. I suspect the critiques take an ahistorical approach, and that hegel and trotsky correctly represented the logic, as it existed in their time. But its just a suspicion at this stage. Andysoh 20:20, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
I finally did get around to criticising the Systems analysis article: see Why can't a subject be what it says?

Rosa Lichtenstein wrote:

I do not know why you are repeating these hoary old falsehoods. I have taken them all apart at my site -- not one single dialectical idea works (where any sense can be made of them, that is).

Rosa Lichtenstein 21:10, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like a female problem to me. It's also quite offensive to accuse us of 'repeating hoary old falsehoods' when in fact we are simply paying homage to a simple, everyday mental process of lateral thinking in the contemplation of alternatives. Also, if you're still allowed your Wiki ID, you're not truly as radical/original as you pretend - radicals/originals are always banned, here - well our IDs, anyhow. Not that that really matters, as the truth is 'out there' - unpatentable, beyond copyright, anyway. I can't help thinking that your German/German-Jewish ID gives you an unfair advantage, also, with regard to the type of 'PC,' authoritarian policebots who run this joint.

article may contain original research or unverified claims?[edit]

Can anyone list the original research or unverified claims? J. D. Redding 14:12, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

original research[edit]

Here for OR. J. D. Redding

unverified claims[edit]

Here for UC. J. D. Redding

It was tagged (not by me, I hasten to add) on 2 January 2007 for lack of citations: "tagged for lack of sources". This suggests the tag should be "This article does not cite its sources" etc, and it would be great to have so direct references (author, book, page), then we could remove the tag.

The article starts off with classical philsophy, etc, and I'm sure all can be sourced, but I'd certainly be happier if someone had time to make the first paragraph to be more clear on which of the various interpretations of dialectics is being referenced, by original author if possible.

I did ask about this a bit further up on the talk page. It may be that the "tagger" (to coin a phrase), read the opening paragraphs and felt it was little a bit 'ad hoc', but could easily be squared up with some quotes and citations.

Andysoh 20:03, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Could you please list individual statements that need citations? J. D. Redding 00:01, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Switched tag to need references instead of original research ... unless you can state individual lines of OR ... if no, then leave this tag.
If you want to keep the need sources tag, PLEASE list individual statements that need them. J. D. Redding 00
12, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Hi J D Redding, I'd be interested in references in the places indicated below (I personally don't like tagging an article itself)

In classical philosophy, dialectic (Greek: διαλεκτική) is an exchange of propositions (theses) and counter-propositions (antitheses) resulting in a synthesis of the opposing assertions, or at least a qualitative transformation in the direction of the dialogue.

Citation? By "classical" is this a reference to ancient Greek classical, Plato presumably? In particular, is this correct about the "Synthesis" here? Is this what modern scholoarship suggests, or is this a reference to the Fichte or post-Hegelian rendering of the dialectic? Or should we remove "sythesis" at this point, or say, "later interpreted as arriving at a synthesis (ref, etc)". If Plato, can you give the best Socratic dialogue for this? Plato also discusses the dialectic in his Republic but here is it not rendered differently?

It is one of the three original liberal arts collectively known as the trivium (the other members are rhetoric and grammar) in Western culture.

Originally Aristotle? Can you state which work?

In ancient and medieval times, both rhetoric and dialectic were understood to aim at being persuasive (through dialogue).

This again has its origins in Aristotle I think, although perhaps 'dialogue' is Plato, and are we also refering to the medieval scholastic traditions? Are there any references we could give?

The aim of the dialectical method, often known as dialectic or dialectics, is to try to resolve the disagreement through rational discussion.

According to whom? I think this might be Aristotle again. (Socrates, for instance, argues that he only shows what he doesn't know although this often seems disingenuous, perhaps though Plato's intervention. It would not be the Kant, Hegel or Marx tradition I think.)

(My own opinion is that there are two distinct renderings of "dialectics" in Socrates/Plato, and another distinct one in Aristotle, whilst the Ionian school supplies another which they both pick up on / build on from time to time.)

A bit further down we read:

(instead of regarding the contradictions into which dialectics leads as a sign of the sterility of the dialectical method, as Kant tended to do in his Critique of Pure Reason)

I'm not sure about this. Kant re-introduced the dialectical method because of the sterility of the existing philosophical schools, and to reflect the conflicts in philosophy (the four cosmological antimionies, etc.). I don't think this would reflect the general outloook of Kant Kant appears to see both of the dialectical propositions of each of the cosmological antimonies, for instance, as valid. This line might be better to simply read, that Hegel was building on the earlier work of Kant, Fichte and Schelling. Andysoh 00:12, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Great ... getting somewhere now ... put the fact tags in .. and I'll start looking for references for these ... J. D. Redding 00:16, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
Tag should now surely go. Any objections to unreferenced assertions remaining should be tagged at that place, or raised in this discussion page, rather than tag the entire article. Andysoh 17:56, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
Incidentally, whilst the person who inserted the reference to Heraclitus was adding an essential reference, I'm not sure that one could say "Since Heraclitus was the first person in the Western World to create a robust philosophical system" since I would have thought this would be attributed to Thales, and in writing, to Anaximander. This description appears in the wikipedia Heraclitus entry, without challenge in the talk page, so perhaps there is more scholarship to it that I haven't seen.
However, both provided elements that Heraclitus took further, and I would guess there is little doubt that Hegel and others regarded him as the father, or perhaps the originator of dialectics, which is a different matter, and should be kept.Andysoh 17:56, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
History of Classical Literature By Robert William Browne .... cites all these people ...
dialectics (dynamical theory) are terms that come up .... still have momre looking into it though ... J. D. Redding 20:10, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
I'll see if I can find any more refs for that ...
I also removed ref needed tag too ...
J. D. Redding 19:20, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

More unverified claims?[edit]

Please list more unverified claims. Otherwise, the tag should be removed. J. D. Redding 01:03, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Hegel and Engels' dialectics[edit]

Thesis question from article page[edit]

The following student question was left on the article page:

I have a question!!! In the first line, from the 'Engles explains..', where did Engels say this? There is no citation... It's really important and interesting issue for my thesis. Please answer for it by sending email to me Thank you.

Reposted by maxrspct ping me 22:32, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Rosa L:

In response to the student above, Engels says this in Dialectics of Nature, page 223 (in my edition), or here (1/4 of the way down the page -- search with the word "Buddhists"):

Rosa Lichtenstein 15:34, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Enormous Mistake[edit]

The article makes a major error by beginning with a definition of dialectic as consisting of a thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. This triad, borrowed from Kant, was described in the writings of Fichte and has often been mistakenly attributed to Hegel. The ancient Greeks, however, considered dialectic as being merely distinct from rhetoric. Rhetoric, to them, is a monologue or oration in which one person speaks without interruption. Dialectic is a dialogue in which two or more people speak alternately in a logical discussion.

Further, by rhetoric they (Skeptics) understand the science of speaking well on matters set forth by plain narrative, and by dialectic that of correctly discussing subjects by question and answer….|Diogenes Laertius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, VII. 42

Lestrade 15:50, 5 August 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

Good addition, but is it an 'enormous mistake,' or an accurate representation of a modern understanding of an ancient practice?
Since, in our time, there is no right or wrong, correct or incorrect, then it is not an enormous mistake. Mistakes, errors, misapprehensions, misunderstandings, and misconceptions presuppose a standard of correctness. Lets just say that originally dialectic meant logical dialogue and today, thanks to academic writers, it means the Hegelian three–step. Who cares?Lestrade 22:22, 15 August 2007 (UTC)Lestrade
You obviously do. Hyacinth 22:27, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Not any more.Lestrade 22:44, 15 August 2007 (UTC)Lestrade
What kind of logical dialogue could there be, apart from the Fichtean three-step?
This kind of triad is also expressed in the Bible interpretation method of Pierre Abelard. The terms thesis, antithesis, synthesis seems to be modern however. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 06:51, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Dialectic and dialectic[edit]

Being mainly German I took a look on the german article first, but they made the same mistake as it here is being made. I added that it was Zeno who invented dialectic in the introduction in opposition to the idea that it was Heraclitus, because in antique thinking Heraclitus had nothing to do with dialectic what so ever. There is a big difference between what you could call dialectic as method and dialectic as principle, the first being represented by Zeno and Plato (and others), the second by Heraclitus and Hegel (and obviously, some others). I'll go swimming now and reveal the big truth later. Thomas Arnold —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:01, August 25, 2007 (UTC)

back from swimming. For Plato a dialektikos is a person, who grabs the logos of the essence of things (ton logon hekastou tes ousias, rep. 534) - that roughly means he grabs the part of a thing that can be put to words and be reasoned about - and also one who can "question and answer" (krat. 390). Dialectic is episteme and methodos, it's analysis of ideas (so explained in the Sophistes). If you translate the word, you'll find it rather strange that nature and world and everything should follow a principle of dialectic, because that'd mean the world would follow a principle of "talking it through" or "thinking something in all directions". A notion or meaning of a word might be divided into two opposite elements - as "human" into "male" and "female" - or it might be put together under a higher notion with its opposite - "girl" and opposite "boy" under "child" or whatever else you want - thus creating the triad thesis antithesis synthesis. So, Hegel: principle, Plato: method. T. A. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:35, August 25, 2007 (UTC)

What do people think about categorizing Nietzsche as having used a Cogntive Dissonant Dialectic, similar to Hegel but with different values obviously used in the logical structure? I am interested to know what people believe. MicrocreditSA (talk) 00:08, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Dialectic is a discussion between two or more people. Dialectic consists of statements and questions that elicit responses. Rhetoric is a speech by one person. Rhetoric consists of statements without responses. It's that simple. Dialectic = dialogue. Rhetoric = monologue. Contrary to what the Hegelians say, there is nothing arcane here.Lestrade (talk) 00:15, 18 February 2008 (UTC)Lestrade
Please exclude my middling, err, meddling, as my heart and mind dialectically advance. --Dialectic (talk) 06:18, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

User:Dialectic employs obscure, meaningless language. This may be the result of exposure to Hegelian literature. Middling means medium or moderate. The heart is an organ that pumps blood. The mind is a postulated entity that supposedly resides in the brain and performs mental activity. Dialectic is discussion, debate, dialogue, or argument. Advancement is a spatial direction that depends on a subjective point of view. Please exclude my middling, err, meddling, as my heart and mind dialectically advance is therefore a senseless request which communicates no meaning.Lestrade (talk) 13:06, 20 February 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Thank you for your opinion Lestrade, but we're actually discussing what others, f.ex. Plato, says about dialectic, in order to make the article more precise. We cannot cite the talk page when updating the article. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 06:56, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

HIndu and Buddhist Dialectics[edit]

Whoever has written about hindu and buddhist dialectics, seems to have a little knowledge about various forms of dialectics. Hindu and buddist persepctives are full of dialectics some of which are similar to synthetic(hegelian) and others are totally different. One needs to see closely how Nagarjuna and Shankara championed negative and synthetic dialectics so as to develop the notion of Shunyata and Brahman/Atman. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:06, 4 October 2007 (UTC) Re: (The Essence of Buddhism in its original form possesses a rational core, and most of the elements of dialectics were present in it, but they were present only in Theravāda Buddhism presently practiced in Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka, similar to the early Greek philosophies. This represented the first faltering steps of dialectical philosophy). This is a gross miskate, and an attempt to subordinate Eastern logics under the Western/Greek logocentrism. There are more differences than similarities.

The criticism section concerning Popper should clarify more of Popper's response[edit]

Right now the criticism section basically says, "Popper says this is irresponsible hogwash GODWINNED the world ", but doesn't do a good job of explaining what Popper would replace the dialect with. I don't think this does this article, Hegel, or Popper any justice.

I suspect many of us grew up being taught both the Hegelian Dialectic as well as the Scientific Method and the two seem largely very compatible and not as opposed as this section would leave me to believe.

I would appreciate learning more of Popper's specific complaints and any responses to those complaints. (talk) 13:58, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

It is somewhat baffling to me why people attack Hegel on specifics when it is quite apparent to me that his intent was mainly to produce a logical dialectic which others could use to further complex social thought. I personally think it is because the Cognitive Dissonance inherent in Hegelian Dialectic makes people very uncomfortable. They would rather say that Nietzsche hated Hegel instead of focusing on the fact that Nietzsche often times used abstracted dissonances to create his own ideas. People get scared around powerful tools. MicrocreditSA (talk) 08:00, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Cognitive Dissonance as it Relates to Dialectic[edit]

Does anyone have any interest in having a part which describes Hegel's contradictory structure as a Dialectic formed through Abstracted Cognitive Dissonance? I think this application of the term is much more appropriate than using it to describe Psychological Pathology. At the very least I would like to see the concepts disentangled and be able to address the notion that some Dialectics intentionally use Abstracted Cognitive Dissonance to produce more unified Social Thought. MicrocreditSA (talk) 08:18, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

At the risk of dissonance (Occam, ahem), we could just erase me and enter "Celebrate Difference!" ;) --Dialectic (talk) 06:30, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

(Dia)logue has no etymological connection to "two"[edit]

The prefix dia- is not etymologically related to the Greek word for "two," which is duo. dia is a preverb meaning "through, between, among." It still implies a plurality of speakers in the discussion, but not precisely "two." Should be changed. -- (talk) 19:24, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

I looked at the passage about "(dia)logue" and etymology more closely, and I really think that the offending portion here is out of place and poorly written. There are grammatical errors (mistakes in subject verb agreement) too. Much of it deals with Hegel and not Plato, thus shouldn't be in a section on Socratic dialectic. I am going to delete these 4 paragraphs, even though the author will probably soon revert the change, alas. -- (talk) 19:33, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

I have yet to see anyone defend the section on Socratic dialectic that I have been deleting. If anyone tried to revise it and delete the plainly wrong parts like the idea that dialectic has some etymological connection to "two," then be my guest. -- (talk) 00:06, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Dialectic is a discussion between two or more people. Dialectic consists of statements and questions that elicit responses. Rhetoric is a speech by one person. Rhetoric consists of statements without responses. It's that simple. Dialectic = dialogue. Rhetoric = monologue. Lestrade (talk) 01:38, 10 April 2008 (UTC)Lestrade
I agree that dialectic requires at least two people, but there is absolutely no etymological link between dialectic and "two." The Greek word for two is, by the way, duo. -- (talk) 19:29, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Dear Mr., Miss, or Mrs You are right. The Greek dyo or duo means "two." the Greek dia means "between" or "through." As you say, though, dialectic occurs between at least two people. The Hegelian German Idealists used the word as a kind of mystical, hieratic incantation. All it means, though, is simply "discussion."Lestrade (talk) 16:41, 12 April 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

add this point[edit]

Nevertheless in both cases the speaker is engaged in persuasion and uses techniques that make his effort more effective. --Vakeger (talk) 18:43, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

In bridging "both cases", you transcend the negation from above. In true dialectical form, well done.. err.. doing ;) --Dialectic (talk) 23:49, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Dialectic is simply a discussion or dialogue between two or more people, as opposed to rhetoric, which is a monologue. There is no "transcending negations" in dialectic.Lestrade (talk) 01:20, 13 April 2008 (UTC)Lestrade


You should check out the following facts: The word Logic has been introduced by the Stoics. The word Dialectics comes from Aristotle, who called the study of self-reflecting thinking as a separate discipline, Dialectics - what is Reflective thinking today Since the term has been widely used by materialist philosophers nobody goes along those line any more, but is stuck with formal logic, rhetorics now called critical thinking and the whole mess of cognitive science, the current version of the mindless autopsy of the Middle Ages. (talk) 13:20, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Question of material being deleted[edit]

The material (the section on Socratic dialectic, Hegel etc.) which is currently being deleted/re-added has some relevant links (at the end) but otherwise seems to wander, perhaps. This particular bit -- As this was the overall thrust of Platonic thought and Greek elitist intellectualism (distinguished from the illiterate masses of the general populace (demos))of the classical era, it is entirely plausible that this may have had a systemic and corollary influence on the development of theorectical and critical thought about human behavior of the "pre" and "post" modern eras. - - might be wandering towards OR, perhaps. I would think some re-writing would be necessary, otherwise I am not sure how much, if anything is added to the article by including the section as it is. --Newbyguesses (talk) 02:13, 10 April 2008 (UTC)[edit]

should this site ( ) be added on external links as part of the critisism on dialectics? Also I think that we should talk about communist anti-dialectics in the criticism.

Agreed. Commies and philosophers who ignore facts and basic observable reality (replacing them with a priori "proof by assertion" are amusing! (talk) 18:03, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Rhetoric and dialectic[edit]

The article claims that dialectic is a synthesis or combination of opposing assertions. I believe that this is incorrect. Dialectic is merely dialogue, argument, or conversation. There is no necessity for a synthesis. It is in contrast to rhetoric, which is monologue.Lestrade (talk) 20:26, 8 July 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Let's linguistically negate your negations: I believe that this is correct. There is necessity for a synthesis.
Is synthetic a removed extension of organic causality? Does this substantiate dialectical difference through space and time continuum? Is there a difference between weak and strong force, and is this model reproducible and scalable? What is the law of opposites? --Dialectic (talk) 14:59, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

There is no necessity for a synthesis because dialectic is merely dialogue, argument, conversation, or discussion between two or more people. The conversants do not have to synthesize, unite, or combine their premises together in order to reach a final conclusion or synthesis. A dialectic can exist when it consists of a discussion of various unsynthesized assertions. No final synthesis or combination is necessary. Dialectic = dialogue; rhetoric = monologue. If the opinions of Dialectic and Lestrade conflict, there is no universal law that forces them to combine and result in a compromised settlement or synthesis. The dialectic between their opposite claims may never be resolved.Lestrade (talk) 17:37, 12 July 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Dialectic has negated my negation and proved that there is a necessary synthesis in every argument by linguistically asking the following profound, pertinent, relevant, apposite, and deep questions:
(1) Is synthetic a removed extension of organic causality?
(2) Does this substantiate dialectical difference through space and time continuum?
(3) Is there a difference between weak and strong force, and is this model reproducible and scalable?
(4) What is the law of opposites?
Lestrade (talk) 23:58, 12 July 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Kaufmann on Dialectics[edit]

In Kaufmann's "Nietzsche", on the chapter about Nietzsche's method, Kaufmann dismisses the famous three-step interpretation of the Hegelian dialectic, which he was right in doing, and provides a definition of dialectics that encompasses Hegel's, Socrates's, Kierkegaard's, and Nietzsche's. This definition has two parts. The first presents dialectics as a form of reasoning that is reductive rather than deductive, which is to say that it seeks to reveal and analyze the assumptions that an idea or problem is built on, rather than starting from assumed premises and building a system upon them. It is demolition rather than construction, so to speak. And the second part asserts that this form of reasoning must be presented in a form of communication that leads to the recipient self-consciously questioning his own assumptions, i.e. being dialectical in the first sense: Socrates asked questions, Kierkegaard wrote ironic essays under pseudonyms, Hegel leads the mind of the reader through the phenomenology of Spirit, and Nietzsche plants aphoristic bombs.

Now, my question is whether or not this definition is (A) useful for the article, and (B) therefore accurate. I think that it is pretty accurate for Socrates and Kierkegaard, but I still don't know enough about Nietzsche and Hegel to comment on whether or not it accurately represents their dialectics. If it does, however, then I personally do think that Kaufmann's definition may be useful for unifying an article that currently looks like it is talking about several different things that just happen to share the same name. --Le vin blanc (talk) 17:25, 22 July 2008 (UTC) Now it is lot better!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

New Introduction[edit]

How about making the following the new introduction? I think it is clearer and far more accurate than what we currently have.

Over the centuries, a diverse group of philosophers has argued that discursive thought and deductive logic are incapable of grasping the dynamic nature of the universe. Consequently, they produce theories of objects that present them in too static of a state, or chop the world up into elements that contradict each other, when in reality they are one, and thereby set up false problems. Therefore, in order to grasp the world as it really is in itself, i.e., in a state of flux, these philosophers produced methods known as dialectics.
Dialectics, then, are methods for grasping the world as it really is, in all its dynamic intensities, but also the theories that ground these methods. A qualifying element of these theories is the idea that change is brought about through struggles between contradictory elements. For example, Marx theorizes that capitalism involves a struggle between two classes, but that this struggle will shift the economy from capitalism to socialism and then communism.
However, dialectics has not always meant what it has been identified as meaning above. In classical philosophy, it meant a form of argumentation similar to the Socratic Method, where an attempt is made to solve a disagreement through rational discussion. Then in the medieval period, dialectic meant logic and was considered part of the three original liberal arts: the trivium of logic, rhetoric and grammar.

--Le vin blanc (talk) 16:26, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Easy to understand Dialectic video[edit]

My Philosophy class has created a video explaining The Marxist Dialectic Process. It is pretty simple, but helped me to understand it. (P.S. It's not your fault if you don't understand all the philosophical terms with Marxist Leninists. They all boil down to simplicity.) (talk) 19:17, 8 April 2009 (UTC) I am a BC


on the top of the page it is written: "not to be confused with dielectric." i mean, who would confuse it? it's like confusing banana with panama. or bread with prayed. what do you think? Twipley (talk) 17:38, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

(Not everyone has perfect spelling and spellcheck doesn't catch that kind of stuff. If some one is looking for a term they heard in a class, 'dialectic', which has a very similar sound to it, may be confused with 'dielectric'.) (talk) 20:38, 20 April 2009 (UTC) IABC

I don't see also why this note should appear, they have nothing in common (even if they are spelled similarly, everyone may deduce from the context that these are different). --Meldor (talk) 18:22, 26 May 2009 (UTC)


It is said that the dialectic debate you have to study in order to achieve the Geshe degree is a ritualized debate. What does this mean in that context? What does the ritual consist of? How does it work?

Austerlitz -- (talk) 19:50, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Hegelian dialectic section[edit]

The section Hegelian dialectic declares a lot of "troubles" with the Fichtean triad Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis or the Fichtean triad as explaining Hegel's triad without citing sources in a lot of places where sources are needed. This makes some paragraphs of that section WP:ESSAYish and possibly WP:ORish. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 14:53, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Completely puzzled[edit]

If you don't know what the word dialectic exactly means, like me, reading the article from top to bottom doesn't do very much to help understanding it. The article states in the first paragraph that "changes move in spirals, not circles" without any explanation whatsoever. Another "basic concept" is that "everything is made out of opposing forces/opposing sides", which is fortunately explained in detail by the word "contradictions" in brackets. Maybe some dialectician could explain what the word really means, and may be even elaborate on the "three (or four)" basic concepts? Joepnl (talk) 03:12, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Dialectic means the same difference as every other persistent spacetime object. It's an axiom that begs for opposing differentiation in time and space (Ф).

The reference in the article that differentiates a circle from any other differentiation, simply illustrates scalar progressions that make up reality. So a singularity, causes a linear circle (2D), causes a 3D spiral, to what our current best math is in 11-dimension String Theory, M-Theory.

A sustainable model, such as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, applies such progressions in its classic dialectical opposition of basic, essential science, to aesthetic variations of religion (hopefully you'll start to get the gist of necessary oppositional ranges by seeing more scientific extrapolations at the bottom of the Hierarchy, as opposed to the more free, aesthetic variables at the top of the progression).

Now given this polarized differentiation from religion to science, one might argue there's more scientific dialectics on this discussion page, than there is in the article. I'm hoping to inspire that unbalance be sequentially corrected, from posts such as this. Then, eloquence shall be best served by an eventual article consequence.

Thanks for your contribution. --Dialectic (talk) 16:37, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Thank you, too. Even more puzzled now :) Really, this article sucks at explaining the very title of it and adding Maslow, singularities, String Theory or any other theory (you must have forgotten Gaia hypothesis, Chaos theory or Chariots of the Gods?) doesn't help.. Joepnl (talk) 20:03, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
So you have a limited understanding of scalar differential equations, and the simple axiom that dialectics (at its root) is. But hey, don't let my "theory" sustain your law! ;-) --Dialectic (talk) 21:09, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
So, what is the simple axiom at the root of dialectics and why is it not in the article? It would be extremely helpful to grasp the very idea. Joepnl (talk) 21:25, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Dialectic, you really need to learn how to write to an audience. Describing a technique of forming arguments in terms of angular momentum, M-theory and advanced psychology really is gobbledegook of the utmost extreme. Eloquence ≠ Logorrhoea. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 11:43, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
What a load of totally incomprehensible jargon in answer to User:Joepn's dilemma. Wikipedia pages often go far beyond the scope of encyclopedic articles required by subjec-innocent visitors looking for a concise, reasonably short explanation on something they are looking up. This is mainly due to the lack of control on one hand, and the enthusiasm of some Wikipedia editors to show off their knowledge on the other. Such is the case with our article on Dialectic. Dialectic does not really mean different things to different people, but it does have slightly different meanings (all within the philosophy of discussion) depending on the context of its use. I agree that the Wikipedia fails to give a clear answer here for laypersons, and the answers given on this talk page are deliberately contrived to confuse the non-doctorates amongst us. The Wikipeada article of course seriously needs pruning and cleaning up to make it more intelligible for us mere mortals, (see for example the britannica on dialectic) but it might be hard to achieve this without polemic, and , yes, dialectic! --Kudpung (talk) 05:00, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Dialectic is simply one person speaking and another person responding, as in an argument or discussion. This is in contrast to rhetoric, which is merely one person speaking and no other person responding, as in oratory. That is why a speaker is said to be asking a rhetorical question when asking a question that does not require an answer from another person.Lestrade (talk) 14:23, 6 May 2010 (UTC)Lestrade


Fichtean/Hegelian Dialectic contains within itself the seed of its own destruction. If everything evolves out of its opposite and becomes absorbed into some other thing, then dialectic itself should turn into its opposite and become lost in some further combination. In this way, it should mercifully disappear from existence.Lestrade (talk) 09:47, 5 April 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

Yes, agreed verily! "Debunking" dialectic have no place here. But User:Kudpung who added the comment in 00:24, 11 May 2010 could at least have added a ~~~~~ to date the {{notice}} post (please?). Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 07:37, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Modern dialectics, Not Hegel's dialectic, not a classic dialectic[edit]

Hello! My name is Michael. I am the author of articles in Russian Wikipedia under username Михаил Заумный. In the Russian Wikipedia, I wrote an article about the Ph.D. Rothenfelde Y.A. Professor Rothenfelde Y.A. - the creator of modern dialectics. He defended two dissertations on its development, member of Russian Philosophical Society. I have a question. Can I publish this article link to my article? (Here it is ...,_%D0%AE%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B9_%D0%90%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B4%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%87) or site Ph.D. Rothenfelde Y.A.? (Http:// Or his archive? (Http:// Михаил Заумный14.50, 16 may 2010

You did it. I'll make a little stylistic cleanups. However, the links should preferrably be to and directly. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 07:06, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
No, making a more detailed review I note that it is a biographical text about prof. Rothenfelde. That shouldn't be in the article, so I rip it out and place it here:
I replaced the section with a stub section, requiring expansion. Using google-translation I scanned the russian article. What is relevant for this article is a compacted version of the section Диалектика Ю. А. Ротенфельда (современная диалектика, неклассическая диалектика) (too long name!!) with most academic-biographical data removed. Almost all biographical data should be in a hypothetical Yuri Rothenfelde, if notable. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 07:23, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

I have a step-by-step the expanding theme "Rothenfelde modern dialectics" Михаил Заумный00.15, 27 may 2010 —Preceding undated comment added 21:11, 26 May 2010 (UTC).

Have I expanded the article "Rothenfelde modern dialectics"?

P.S. I put the time change article in my time zone.

Михаил Заумный19.26, 30 may 2010

Plato's well documented antagonism (esp. towards Democritus, Protagoras & Sophists) & plagiarism (in the name of the holy halo of Socrates)[edit]

In the lead, it says:

"Dialectic is based on a dialogue between two or more people who hold different ideas and wish to persuade each other. This is in contrast to rhetoric, which is a relatively long oration conducted by a single person, a method favored by the Sophists[1]."

Apolloniandionysus wrote the following comment:

"This accusation against the Sophists is a logical fallacy of Confirmation Bias. Another logical fallacy here is Hazardous Uber-Generalization. Yet another logical fallacy here is not confirming the neutrality of historical source. In fact, to the contrary, Sophists were pioneers of relativism & dialogue (very much to the chagrin of Plato). Diogenes Laertius, one of the most prominent historians of antiquity, states that the Socratic Method was actually invented by Protagoras who was a Sophist. Please refer to "Protagoras and the challenge of relativism: Plato's subtlest enemy"."

This was copied to the talk page by Lova Falk talk 06:37, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Middle ages[edit]

In the article on Aquinas' Summa Theologica, there is a section Summa_Theologica#Structure that describes dialectic in the Middle Ages. But it is described (documented) no place else that I can find. Should this be a separate article? Or at least in this article, where it appears to be skipped? Seems to me that it should be separate so it can be linked to by other editors trying to explain how questions were argued (resolved) back then. Student7 (talk) 02:59, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Undue weight to dialectical biology?[edit]

As it appears in the article, Dialectical biology is a concept advanced by only one book. The concept's currency in the practice and study of biology or philosophy seems limited (116 hits on google scholar for 'dialectical biology'). Unless other authors who discuss this concept are included, it appears to me that giving the concept a section in this article is undue weight. Dialectric (talk) 23:56, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Rothenfelde modern dialectics[edit]

I was reading through the article and came to this section. As it stands, it is awkward and doesn't add anything meaningful; it reads as someone's research notes. I've moved it here so someone can work on it and add it later if necessary. freshacconci talktalk 03:05, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Like the Schopenhauer three-step, I understand your resistance, and celebrate it. However, in the spirit of a consistent developmental progression, let the additional framework stand on the page, and be shaped proportionally by a democratic Wiki process. Thanks. --Dialectic (talk) 03:42, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Well, this sort of development should be done off the main page. It has nothing to do with being democratic. At the end of the day we are creating an encyclopedia that needs to be useful and accessible. This section of text is neither. freshacconci talktalk 13:58, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Deleted text from article[edit]

In the Soviet Union dialectics of Marx developed in two directions - the ideological propaganda and research methodology. Some research scientists have used the dialectic of Hegel and Marx to interpret the results of natural sciences - physics, etc. One of them was Yuri Rothenfelde (born in 1940). At the same time he created the non-classical dialectic (Not-Hegelian dialectic).

Doctoral dissertation, consultant V.S. Gott - "Becoming a non-classical dialectics" (1991). In 1991 Ph.D. Rothenfelde Y. has published a monography dedicated to the nonclassical dialectic - Rothenfelde Y.A. Non-classical dialectic. - M: Ray, 1991.

Leading the research theme was the problem of differentiating the concept of "specific identity". It lies between the abstract identity and absolute difference. He managed to differentiate an infinite number of specific differences.

The scheme of Hegel:

Abstract identity - Specific identity (or identity of opposites) - Absolute difference.

Yuri Rothenfelde divided "specific identity" to the specific differences. And express them in a series of philosophical categories. These categories became the basis of non-classical dialectic. Rothenfelde Y. called them "the comparative category".

The scheme of Rothenfelde:

The first series:

Abstract identity <- Meaning Assigned (less relatively more) - ...etc....< Absolute difference

Second series:

Abstract identity <- Opposite (the middle between the smaller and more) -...etc.... < Absolute difference

These categories describe the types of symmetry, antisymmetry and asymmetry. Abstract identity - the mirror symmetry, the Absolute difference - asymmetry. Meaning assigned - translational symmetry, the Opposite - the mirror antisymmetry, etc. That philosophy is connected with physics.

For example. The right and left hand - Abstract identity - Mirror symmetry.


I've re-titled the section "Notes" as "References", since this is what they actually are. I've also removed the list of "references", as none of them are actually cited in the text. I've copied that list here, in case anyone wants to re-add any of them as cited references.

~dom Kaos~ (talk) 12:44, 14 March 2011 (UTC)


There are two main interpretations of dialectic in Plato. First is the process of question and answer and this is covered in the article. The second is a form of intuition and this is not covered. I will add something but any comments from any editors? Oxford73 (talk) 05:08, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

What happened to Heraclitus??[edit]

It's remarkable that all reference to Heraclitus, from antiquity, has been removed from this entry on dialectics. The antipathy towards Heraclitus in the Ancient World has continued, apparently, to the present day. Why nothing about the most famous dialectical philosopher of the Ancient World? Wikipedia, when it comes to important Marxist ideas, is a thin gruel of half-truths and misrepresentations. And that's a shame. Georgi Plekhanov (talk) 06:09, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Why was Heraclitus a dialectical philosopher? Did he teach through the use of questions and answers?Lestrade (talk) 00:19, 24 June 2012 (UTC)Lestrade
Perhaps not, but he did make statements in the direction that the world is constituted of dialethia (talk) 11:06, 15 November 2012 (UTC)


After extensive web research in several languages, with minimal results, it has become obvious that Dr.Rothenfelde and his ideas do not have sufficient recognition to warrant their inclusion in a general discussion of this topic...let alone their own section, which would suggest primary importance. In fact, an article on him was removed from the Russian Wikipedia. WQUlrich (talk) 18:49, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

I've just noticed that this section has been deleted once before, in Oct.2010. WQUlrich (talk) 19:20, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

PS: It appears to be a summary of his doctoral thesis.WQUlrich (talk) 22:02, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Chinese dialectics[edit]

I think there should also be a section on Chinese dialectical philosophy, both from classical Chinese philosophy (hundred schools of thought) and also within certain schools of Chinese Buddhism. The dialectical concept of the "unification of opposites" is quite important in virtually every school in Chinese philosophy, and can be symbolised by the Yin-Yang symbol.

Edit request on 7 July 2013[edit]

The list of philosophers who used the dialectic method in the Medieval Period --- Abelard, Sherwood, Compotista --- amazingly fails to include the one more prominent than any of them, i.e., Thomas Aquinas. The failure to mention him indicates a lack of knowledge, and thus, detracts from the authority of the entire discussion. (talk) 00:09, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Not done: please provide reliable sources that support the change you want to be made. 786b6364 (talk) 17:52, 16 July 2013 (UTC)


How can Russell's legendary delivery of smack—"the worse your logic…"—to Hegel not be in this article?

Also the insight of Landauer"the dialectical manure of the Marxists"—must be inserted into the text. (talk) 22:05, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Hegelian dialectics and user Atticusattor[edit]

Hegelian dialectics section seems to be rewritten almost completely recently. I'm no expert on Hegel, rather I came here to find out about his thought. However, what I can say about that part of the article is that while there seem to be some sources given for the new material, it is written in highly confrontational and patronizing style with occasional original research thrown in. The section states for example that an earlier version of the material under this heading revealed a common misconception about Hegel's thesis-antithesis-synthesis dialectics, which are quite real. Also, most of the edits claim to "correct" some differing views which are then removed or reworded to appear as if they were incorrect or just wild speculations, although some of the stuff "corrected" was properly sourced.

It seems that user Atticusattor who made these edits is pushing some kind of an agenda here, as he has also rewritten an article on Master–slave dialectic and many other Hegel-related articles almost completely, with the same aggressive style. In most of the edits he seems to emphasize the claim that Hegel was an atheist and that his main agenda was to covertly "spread" atheism. As I said, I'm not that familiar with Hegel but that sounds like a very fringe theory to me and I've never ever heard such claims before.

You say "I've never ever heard such claims before" (claims that Hegel was an atheist). You also admit, "I'm not that familiar with Hegel," which would explain your unfamiliarity with his atheism. I have cited numerous interpreters who have identified Hegel as an atheist: Findlay, Tucker, Kaufmann, Solomon, McCarney, Hyppolite, Pinkard, Westphal, Beiser, and Wheat.
And where was it said that Hegel's "main agenda was to covertly 'spread' atheism"? That was not his main agenda. As Solomon and Pinkard have explained, his main agenda was to write a book that would qualify him for a professorship. At the same time, he wanted the book to covertly express the atheism found in his early religious writings. So he adopted the almost incomprehensible obscurantist language for which he is famous. He also used hidden dialectics rather than open remarks to express his atheism -- dialectics so well hidden that most of his interpreters (but not two other dialecticians, Marx and Tillich) have denied that Hegel even used dialectics. And, of course, he now and then referred to his nonsupernatural Spirit as "God" so as to confuse people into believing that he was a theist, whereas the "God" he was referring to was a redefined nonsupernatural God, loosely equivalent to the nonsupernatural God "Nature" that self-described pantheists endorse to hide the fact that they are really atheists, who are unpopular in our society. Kaufmann,who accurately identifies Hegel as a humanist, wrote that Hegel's writing "should have caused no misunderstanding, had it not been for Hegel's occasional references to God" (Hegel: A Reinterprtation, p. 273).Atticusattor (talk) 22:33, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

It would be great if someone who knows their Hegel would take a look on these articles. (talk) 11:13, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

I agree. More importantly, the content added here was also added by the same user, Atticusattor, to the article about Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (see specifically the section titled ["Dialectical" Triads”]) and to an article about “Hegelian dialectic”. Major sections of the information provided is simply copied-paste from one article to the other. The least that should be done would be to centralize this information in one place and add redirection everywhere else. That being said, the neutrality of this significant intervention remains open for discussion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Parneix (talkcontribs) 15:20, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Article too long and confusing[edit]

I believe that this article should be more concise and clear. Particularly, the sections on Hegelian and Marxist dialectics are too long, considering that there are specific articles dealing with them. I might add the rewrite template (I cannot myself restructure the entire article), unless perhaps whoever is more involved with the article can address this issue.

Gabsvillalobos (talk) 01:07, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Agree, but I think its the nature of the beast that it should be so long and wandering. Ceoil (talk) 05:01, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).