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), “‘inter, through’”) + λέγειν (legein), “‘to speak’”).
- A systematic method of argument that attempts to resolve the contradictions in opposing views or ideas.
The aim of the dialectical method is resolution of the disagreement through rational discussion, and ultimately the search for truth. One way to proceed — the Socratic method — is to show that a given hypothesis (with other admissions) leads to a contradiction; thus, forcing the withdrawal of the hypothesis as a candidate for truth. Another way of trying to resolve a disagreement is by denying some presupposition of both the contending thesis and antithesis; thereby moving to a third (syn)thesis or "sublation". (See Socrates)
It is generally thought dialectics has become central to "Continental" philosophy, while it plays no part in "Anglo-American" philosophy. In other words, on the continent of Europe, dialectics has entered intellectual culture (or at least its counter-culture) as what might be called a legitimate part of thought and philosophy, whereas in America and Britain, THE DIALECTIC PLAYS NO DISCERNIBLE PART IN THE INTELLECTUAL CULTURE, which instead tends toward positivism.