Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The art or practice of arriving at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments.
  • n. The process especially associated with Hegel of arriving at the truth by stating a thesis, developing a contradictory antithesis, and combining and resolving them into a coherent synthesis.
  • n. Hegel's critical method for the investigation of this process.
  • n. The Marxian process of change through the conflict of opposing forces, whereby a given contradiction is characterized by a primary and a secondary aspect, the secondary succumbing to the primary, which is then transformed into an aspect of a new contradiction. Often used in the plural with a singular or plural verb.
  • n. The Marxian critique of this process.
  • n. A method of argument or exposition that systematically weighs contradictory facts or ideas with a view to the resolution of their real or apparent contradictions.
  • n. The contradiction between two conflicting forces viewed as the determining factor in their continuing interaction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any formal system of reasoning that arrives at a truth by the exchange of logical arguments.
  • n. A contradiction of ideas that serves as the determining factor in their interaction.
  • adj. dialectical

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Same as dialectics.
  • adj. Pertaining to dialectics; logical; argumental.
  • adj. Pertaining to a dialect or to dialects.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Relating to the art of reasoning about probabilities; pertaining to scholastic disputation. Kantians sometimes use the word in the sense of pertaining to false argumentation.
  • Of or pertaining to a dialect or dialects; dialectal.
  • Also dialectical.
  • n. [= French dialectique = Sp. dialéctica = Pg. dialectica = It. dialettica = G. Dan. Sw. dialektik, ⟨ L. dialectica, ⟨ Gr. διαλεκτική (sc. τέχνη), the dialectic art, the art of discussion, logical debate, also the logic of probabilities, fem. of διαλεκτικός, belonging to disputation: see I.]
  • n. Logic, or a branch of logic; specifically, the art of critical examination into the truth of an opinion; inductive logic applied to philosophy; the logic of probable reasoning; the art of discussion and of disputation; logic applied to rhetoric and refutation.
  • n. Skill in disputation. Also dialectics.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any formal system of reasoning that arrives at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments
  • adj. of or relating to or employing dialectic
  • n. a contradiction of ideas that serves as the determining factor in their interaction

Etymologies

Middle English dialetik, from Old French dialetique, from Latin dialectica, logic, from Greek dialektikē (tekhnē), (art) of debate, feminine of dialektikos, from dialektos, speech, conversation; see dialect.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek διαλεκτική (dialektike, "the art of argument through interactive questioning and answering"), from διαλεκτικός (dialektikos, "competent debater"), from διαλέγομαι (dialegomai, "to participate in a dialogue"), from διά (dia, "through, across") + λέγειν (legein, "to speak"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The ancient Greeks used the term dialectic to refer to various methods of reasoning and discussion in order to discover the truth.

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  • The caricature of the dialectic is a boiling-down of every historical or philosophical pattern to two concepts in conflict with each other — depending on the caricature, either one concept inevitably prevails, or the two are mashed up into a crude "synthesis."

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  • The Marxist-Leninists call it dialectic materialism. say one thig to mask the fact that you mean the opposite.

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  • Then this is the progress which you call dialectic?

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  • e. with reality, it was natural that the term dialectic should be again extended from function to object, from thought to thing; and so, even as early as Plato, it had come to signify the whole science of reality, both as to method and as to content, thus nearly approaching what has been from a somewhat later period universally known as metaphysics.

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  • To become a really great lawyer you will need to internalize the process of having a dialog with the text - call it dialectic reasoning, or an internal Socratic Dialog if you must.

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  • Saying that, there is a certain dialectic (in the simple sense of the term) involved here, in terms of community norms that can be reasonably conceived and established within the context of both the law and wider moral/ethical considerations at the community level.

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  • The ultimate end-point of this, on one side of the dialectic, is maieutic fiction. posted by Hal Duncan | 9: 43 PM

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  • Miles uses their contrasting personalities and circumstances to forge a sort of Gallic Woodward-and-Bernstein dialectic, then pits the pair against the newly restored Bourbon monarchy and its shameful post-disaster attempts at saving face by suppressing the facts.

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  • In fact, anything of consequence in Hegel works in threes, a mechanism he called the dialectic, in which the truth is a kind of cosmic alarm clock that brings the world to its senses after a period of activity followed by rest.

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