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Etymology & Plato[edit]

Dialogue goes back to logos, and dialectic goes back to lexis, thus it means "through words", whereas dialogue means "through notions". In other words, in a dialogue you exchange different points of view, in order to reconcile the different aspects or relations (in a strict mathematical sense) captured, whereas in a dialectic as described by Plato in detail in "The Sophist" and "The Statesman" you analyze the relations of words to each other, like describing different special cases of a more general notion, like when you say: a "car" is either used for personal transport or for the transport of goods. In the latter case it is called a "truck". In the former case, if it is used to carry people that enter at designiated points, it is called a "bus", otherwise, if it used as a carrier service, it is called it "taxi" and if not... (Yeah, well, this is not entirely correct, but before I come to sedan etc. I just stop here, because you should already understand what we're talking about, and this kind of thing is precisely what Plato does in Sophistes and Politikos. (talk) 09:10, 29 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Criticism section, other edits[edit]

I am going to make some edits to shorten the sections on Hegel and Marx, which at present are disproportionately long, the latter of which has also been flagged for over four years as having way too many blockquotes.

I am also inclined to delete the entire Criticism section. Primarily this is because it is devoted mostly to Hegel and Marx, who are not the topic of this article, and who have their own series of articles where such criticisms are discussed. Secondarily it is because Nietzsche, Popper, and Bunge are not scholars of even Hegel or Marx. They are famous for other things entirely, and their views do not help readers understand what dialectic is.

Before removing sourced material, however, I wanted to check in here.

See for reference: WP:Criticism#Approaches to presenting criticism. I would suggest that anything that cannot be integrated into other sections of the article probably does not belong.

Cheers, Patrick J. Welsh (talk) 15:53, 7 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]

@PatrickJWelsh: Thanks for the notice. I don't care about Nietzsche, but I would oppose the removal of Popper and Bunge, who are well known as critics of dialectic. The essay to which you linked, WP:Criticism#Approaches to presenting criticism, specifically says that a "Criticism" section "is sometimes used for politics, religion and philosophy topics". Such a section is warranted here for Popper and Bunge. The critics have also been criticized: Popper in, e.g., Nicholas Rescher's book Dialectics: A Classic Approach to Inquiry (2007), and Bunge in Poe Yu-ze Wan's article "Dialectics, complexity, and the systemic approach: toward a critical reconciliation" (2013). You said that "their views do not help readers understand what dialectic is", but that's wrong: their views clarify the limitations of dialectic. (The section may need to be written better to show what those limitations are.) And it's pretty nondialectical to suggest that the only purpose of an article is to define what a subject is, instead of to present contradictory views of the subject! Biogeographist (talk) 20:00, 7 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Hi @Biogeographist, Thanks for your prompt response! I am not at all convinced that Popper or Bunge understand Hegel (certainly) or Marx (probably) well enough to meaningfully contribute to our understanding of the underlying issues. That said, however, you will see that I have condensed the section, and it bothers me less in this form. Unless others speak up to support deletion, I plan to let it be.
Cheers, Patrick J. Welsh (talk) 21:22, 7 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks! But regarding this: I am not at all convinced that Popper or Bunge understand Hegel (certainly) or Marx (probably) well enough to meaningfully contribute to our understanding of the underlying issues. But the issues are different for philosophers with different purposes. It is an important point that Popper and Bunge were not scholars of Hegel and Marx, and their criticisms are not directed so much at Hegel and Marx themselves as at some of their intellectual legacy and that of Engels and Lenin. Their criticisms are important because they represent an attempt to assess that legacy from the perspective of 20th-century scientific philosophy (scientific realism and critical rationalism, broadly defined). If you're a Hegel scholar then you might not find that attempt to be "meaningful", but it's certainly meaningful from their perspective. Given their purposes, how well they understood Hegel or Marx isn't as relevant as you think it is. Biogeographist (talk) 01:27, 8 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Hi @Biogeographist,
Okay, thanks for adding the additional sources. I no longer wish to remove the section. (In fact, more about Rescher's views would be most welcome.)
Two tangential questions:
First, are you sure about changing so many of the verbs to past tense? I'm not sure of the exact "rule", but I thought that the same basic principle as that of the literary historical present also applied to works of philosophy, i.e., whatever Hegel put in writing is what he "claims", not "claimed". I don't think most readers will even notice, but I'd like to know if I am possibly wrong about this.
Second – and please cheerfully ignore if this is too personal – but how did you come across Mario Bunge? I know him from McGill, but no one to whom I've mentioned him has ever had any idea who he is. I kind of thought that he had been written off as a crank from another era. Or else just lost to history on account of making his philosophical opus, at eight volumes(!), too long for most people to be willing to read. If he's still a recognized authority in some circles, I'd be curious to know.
Cheers, Patrick J. Welsh (talk) 16:44, 9 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think there's a rule about verb tense. I don't like treating real people as literary characters who are speaking to us in the present; if some real person wrote something, I'd say they said it or wrote it, and not that they say or tell us, as if they are disembodied spirits whispering in our ears. (One reason for my dislike of this is that I think that if they had lived long enough, or if they are still alive, they might have changed their mind, so it's unfair to describe their past view as if it were a current view.) On the other hand, I didn't change the phrases "Socrates uses", "Socrates asks", "Socrates reaches", because I'm not sure how to treat Socrates: Did he really say what Plato made him say? I don't know and don't care, so treating him as a literary character is fine with me.
My first memory of Mario Bunge was when I noticed that he was the editor of the Springer book series "Episteme". Within a few years of noticing that, I started reading him. His work does seem to be from another era in some respects, but I don't think most people ignore him because they think he's a crank. Heinz Droste suggested some causes of his lack of fame in: Droste, Heinz W. (2019). "Mario Bunge as a public intellectual". In Matthews, Michael R. (ed.). Mario Bunge: A Centenary Festschrift. Cham: Springer. pp. 63–80. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-16673-1_4. ISBN 9783030166724. OCLC 1089222139. One of Droste's main points is that Bunge didn't try to build a school of thought or to attract a following. I also think Bunge's work may not be interesting to specialists because specialists know more than Bunge in their specialty and can see how what he wrote about their specialty is wrong in certain ways: You may think that way about what he wrote about Hegel, for example. On the other hand, if one is not too picky, one can be impressed by Bunge's ability to synthesize a big picture: Herbert Gintis, in his review of Bunge's book on ethics, found Bunge to be ignorant in Gintis's area of behavioral science, but useful on the big picture: "I found Bunge's approach extremely valuable in the abstract, but heavy-handed and outdated in many particulars." Still, it's impressive that Gintis would even give that much approval given how old the book is and how distant ethics is from Bunge's main competencies.
By the way, another critic of dialectic in the same era as Popper was Sidney Hook, in Reason, Social Myths and Democracy (1940). Hook started out as a scholar of Marx, so he knew what he was talking about regarding Marx. Biogeographist (talk) 20:19, 9 August 2023 (UTC) and Biogeographist (talk) 20:26, 9 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]