Advantages and Disadvantages of Dialectical Reasoning 1.0 Pre-Modern Dialectics 1.

1 Logic can be differentiated into formal or discrete logic and informal or rh etorical logic. The former can include studies in purely formal content, proposi tional and predicate logic, set theory and so forth. The latter is a study in ar gumentation and fallacies. (See "Logic in Philosophy", April 18, 2007 http://lig 1.2 The story of dialectics begins as a type of informal logic used by the Helle nes, especially by Plato's Socratic dialogues, but also Heraclitus argument of t he transitory nature of all things and, as a result, the union of contradictions : "We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not.""We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not." 1.3 Unlike rhetoric it does not appeal to ethical standards, or emotional states ; it's claims are based on empirical evidence and reasoned argumentation only. T he Socratic method begins with a hypothesis, which is shown to have contradictio ns (negative hypothesis elimination), or by denying the assumptions of the both the proposition and the contrary claim, thus leading to a third alternative, or even an circular abandonment. A famous example of the latter is the discussion i n Euryptho. 1.4 Logical debate has also been a historical feature of the dharmic religious t raditions (e.g., Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, etc). Examples include the Jainist SyÄ dvÄ da which conditiond a proposition through partiality, the Hindu Purusha-Prakrit i (active consciousness - restive phenomena) in the Hindu Samkhya school. 1.5 A visual and philosophical expression of the dialectic is expressed in the t ao-chi-tu (taijitu), Chinese symbol for the concept of yÄ«nyáng, and the core symbol of Taoism. The two propositions contains part of its opposite (complementary oppos ites), they are in a dynamic relationship, they are part of a whole (Wuji) which transcends the two propositions, reaching a state of quiescence. 2.0 Modern Dialectics: The Hegelian Revolution 2.1 Dialectics was taught througout the medieval period as part of the Trivium, the foundation of the liberal arts education in universities, along with grammar and rhetoric. An excellent description of the Trivium is "Grammar is the art of inventing symbols and combining them to express thought; logic is the art of th inking; and rhetoric, the art of communicating thought from one mind to another" (The Trivium, 1937). There was not however enormous development in the field, a lthough it was widely used. 2.2 Fichte developed modern principles of dialectics through an attempt to overc ome the notion of the noumenon (Das Ding an sich) in Kant describe an evolving s elf-consciousness of the phenomenal towards an absolute ego (God). Fichte also a rgued thath self-consciousness was a social phenomenon (c.f., his anti-Semetic G erman nationalism). 2.3 Following Fitch, Hegel expanded on this trajectory of dialectical reasoning. Dialectics is expressed in historical and social evolution of consciousness tow ards freedom and the Absolute Idal (cf., Fichte). This evolution is expressed th rough the logical of an Abstract encountering its Negative resulting in the Conc rete. The thetic description of thesis, antithesis, and resulting synthesis was popularised by Heinrich Moritz Chalybäus. Note that it the Hegelian version implici tly requires a negation (even in part) of the abstract. An example the process i s given in the Science of Logic; Being (Sein) is in contradiction with Nothing ( Nicht), and are united as Becoming. An example of the social consciousness is ev ident in the famous Master-Slave dialectic in The Phenomenology of Spirit. 2.4 The principles of the Fitchean-Hegelian dialectic can be thus expressed as f ollows: 2.4.1 Everything exists in an environment of contradicting forces, both from wit hout and from within. 2.4.2 Everything in a state of dynamic change; including oscillation, interactio n, and interdetermination. 2.4.3 Gradual quantitative changes leads to radical qualitative change.

Engels also applied the dia lectical method to the natural sciences.3 From Hegel's example of phase-state transitions. whereby dialectical materialism referred to a world-view. especially evolution. Marcuse). and adopted shortly afterwards by Engels as the "mate rialist dialectic". contr adictions ought to be resolved. criticised the loose and vague way that dialectical theory deal with contradictions. where economic classes are in conflict (i. subservient. Bogdanov's "Empiriomonism" ). count ered only by those engaged in negative critique. and unthinking subjects dominated by "surplus repression".0 Marxist Historical and Dialectical Materialism 3. Smith put it). Further. in the process of sublation Concrete 'resolves' the Abstract and Negative).1 One of the strongest critics of dialectics was Popper. Horkheimer. The change from one mode of production to anoth er is qualitative and revolutionary. The "first generation" o f the Frankfurt School were particularly interested in a Freud/Marx synthesis (e . 3. 4. 3. as a self-correcting method. The historical modes of production identifi ed by Marx included primitive communism.2 Popper was also very critical of the deterministic and essentialist historic ism. Hypothesised future societies included socialism and communism. Marx explained a dialectic dynamic of history wh ereby societies move through different modes of production (a combination of the relations and means of production).3 The Frankfurt School of Social Research and the related body of critical the ory worked on developing dialectics. 4. 4. they interpr eted praxis and theory as interdependent on each other. 3. 4. rather tha n equivalent and circular or oscillating changes.g.4 Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason sought to overcome the contradiction . feudalism. not accepted. and t he theory of identity representing a unity of opposites. Adorno. which he traced through Plato to Hegel and Marx. and historical materialism as an explanation of social development ..e . the relations of production).M. As the predictions of historical destiny failed to match the contextual r eality. in particular. From this physi calist theory of consciousness.. which placed historical de stiny outside of human control. Popper's alternate theo ry of knowledge advanced through falsification (and positivist verification). The "second generation" (Haberm as) are critical of historical materialism for being inattentive to communicativ e action. It was introduced as "dialectical materialism" by Plenkhanov and then differentiated by Stalin. with small-scale and reversible social experiments wer e carried out. and made impossible predictions concerning the f uture. but also with fra gmentary notes in chemistry.e. ancient society. Thus they rejected historicism. whereby the "culture industry" produced a mas s. Popper's alternative was "piece meal social engineering".2.0 Criticism and Support of Dialectical Reasoning 4. that dialectics had to be ap plied to itself. and orthodox Marxism. wa s that hypotheses tested against rational consistency and empirical facts. The "direct opposite" of Hegel to Marx (as explained in Capital) was to ex plain ideas as a reflection of the real world on the human mind. The world-view application of dialectical materialism contributed significant ly to the "evolutionary" arguments of the inheritance of acquired characteristic s versus the "bourgeois" and mechanistic science of genetics ("Lysenko is the mi llstone round the neck of the dialectical biologist" as J.4. and capital ism. who does not so much criticise the development of knowledge through a dialectical process.4 Changes are progressive through the negation of the negation (i. Lenin attempted to extend this further to include p hysics (in opposition to fellow leading party member.1 Marx brought together Hegel's dialectics and Feurbach's materialism (what co ntemporary philosophy called "physicalism") to come up with "historical material ism".2 Dialectical materialism (as distinct from historical materialism) was first coined by Joseph Dietzgen. ph ysicalist metaphysical presumptions.. Popper noted negative effects in attempting to expediate a remodelling t he reality of human behaviour to fit the theory.

4 Note the difference with these core propositions of dialectical logic and th e three classical laws of thought (often mistakingly called "formal logic") usua lly attributed to Aristotle i. and never has been. mediation and negotion processes.g. Euthyphro generalises this tp emphasise something which is loved by all gods to represent piety. it is not part of its defining characteristics.1 Can formal logic be extended to account for temporal and contextual conditio ns? What about partial conditions (e. Rather. that ecology. with cri tical and heurestic functions.e.3 Euthyphro defines as piety is what is pleasing to the gods (6e-7a). and Socrates goes to a ttend the courts on a charge of impiety. illustrating how the these oppositions are unstable. 4. 4. Law of identity (A=A and not !A). and health communic ation. which reduces the gods to agents of commerce .7 Most recently some logicians have attempted to formalise dialectics. an argument progresses through definition through discussion stages. parlimentary and political debates. albeit within argumentation and decision theory..2 How does one determine what is a qualitative change? Are qualitative changes always rapid? How does one determine whether contradictions have been trascende d and sublated. is it still useful as a heuristic or post-hoc explanatory tool? Elaborations 1. 4. social inquiry.of freedom and necessity (recalling both Kant and Hegel in the title).0 Evaluating Questions 5. dialectics as a world-view. 2. by which conventionally assumed binary opposites are exp lored for tensions and weaknesses between the opposites that suggest a commonali ty. a claim still subject to debate. a dialectical analysis provides a n overview and a set of warning signs against particular forms of dogmatism and narrowness of thought." This is perhaps partially contridicted by Eldredge and G ould.. i.3 What predictive capacity does dialectics really have? If it doesn't have any . and the possibility of class-based expressions creativity and spo ntaneity. above) universally true for natural s cience.4. or an incorporated and unresolved compromise? 5... which Socrates responds with: "I s the good loved by the gods because it is good? Or is it good because it is lov ed by the gods?" (10a). and mutuall y dependent on one another. Euthyphro suggest s that piety is concerned with caring for the gods (13b).e. which suggests that th ey are subject to such care and improvement. argued t hat conscious human activity did have a interconnected and transformative approa ch that was totalising without a totaliser. but "th e" gods. Euthyphro then proposes that piety is an art of sacrifice and appeals.5 The biologists Levins and Lewotin apply dialectics as a heuristic approach. argues that species remain in a rela tively static state until a rapid period of branching speciation (cladogenesis). Socrates notes that the approval of all gods is an attri bute of piety. a programmatic method for solving particular physical problems. which would mean actions wo uld be both pious and impious (note the interest not in individual gods. reversible. their essence). Utilising rules for critical discussio n.6 The deconstructionalist strategy of textual analysis has some resemblance to dialectical reasoning. 5. and alter. and could reach a trascendent point in a post-scarcity communist society. The Law of . At this point Euthyphro leaves. and personal aesthetics? 5. especially in regard to the oscillation between total environments and particula r heterogenuous species which are part of. It also rejects historicism. superposition in quantum mechanics)? 5.1 Are the principles of dialectics (2. Again there is criticism of using dialectics in a non-heuristic manner in the physical world : "Dialectical materialism is not. Pragma-dialectics has been used in law. but Socr ates notes that the gods differ on what is pleasing. There is no resolution. whose theory of punctuated equilibra.

From forms of develo pment of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Karl. men inevitably enter into defi nite relations. the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production. van. Karl. Karl. Harvard Unive rsity Press. Richard..1 Consider Stalin's idea of contradiction: "The highest development of state p ower with the object of preparing the conditions for the withering away of state power -. FP 1807 Hegel. "Negative Dialectics". namely relations of product ion appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. F. on which arises a legal and politi cal superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of consciousness.. 1967 Eemeren. FP 1796. and it fully reflects Marx's dialectics. FPc399 BCE Popper. Max.. "Anti-Dühring". FP 1937 Levins. Miriam. Frans H. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the econom ic structure of society. Georg W.W .... Routledge. It should remind us that philosophy should not be made a basi s for any sort of scientific system and that philosophers should be much more mo dest in their claims." [Political Report of the Central Committee to the Sixteenth Congress of the CPSU(B). Vale Press.. Richard. 1797 Derrida.such is the Marxist formula.' But this contradiction us bound up with life. 3. Zveno Publishers. 2002 Engels. "The Poverty of Historicism".. 1979 Hegel. Is this 'contradictory'? Yes. 1945 Popper. 1816 Horkheimer. 1957 Popper. Herber. Persia n Philosopher and Physician.. Lewontin..Non-contradiction ("A := B" and "A := !B" are mutually exclusive). FP 1811. FP 1947 Joseph. (two volumes). Then beg ins an era of social revolution. Beacon Press. and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned. Suhrkamp Verlag. "Foundations of Natural Right According to the Principles of the Wissenschaftslehre". FP 1859 Lenin. 1955 Marx.. FP 1909 Plato. "Communication and the Evolution of Society"... The Law of E xcluded Middle (either A := B or A := !B is true). which are independent of their will. "Dialectic of Enlightenment". 1963 ... "Advances in pragma-dialectics". 1966 Fichte. "Eros and Civilization : A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud". "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History". Frederich. "The Open Society and It's Enemies" (Vol II). One task which they can fulfill quite usefully is the stud y of the critical methods of science".. 1812." (Avicenna. and Adorno.. 1980 Habermas. Routledge. Les à ditions de Minuit. 980-1037 CE). Popper from C&R: "The whole developme nt of dialectic should be a warning against the dangers inherent in philosophica l system-building.1 "In the social production of their existence. Routledge. "Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge" . FP 1878 Engels. Jacques. 1985 Marcuse. "The Dialectical Biologist". the real foundation. Ed. Theodore. "Dialectics of Nature". Beacon Press. Vladimar. Norton. Johann. "Of Grammatology"... "Materialism and Empirio-criticism". "A contribution to the Critique of Political Economy".1 Recall Avicenna. 4. Jürgen. "Euthyphro". Karl. At a certain stage of development. June 27.. W. "Science of Logic" (three volumes). Frederich." (Contribution to a Critique of Political Econo my) 4. "Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be b eaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten. FP 1883 Gould. "The Phenomenology of Spirit". it is 'cont radictory. "The Trivium in College Composition and Reading". F.1930 Further Reading Adorno. Theodore. Georg W. Stephen J...

FP 1938 . "Critique of Dialectical Reason". Editions Gallimard. Jean-Paul..Sartre. 1960 Stalin. "Historical and Dialectical Materialism".. Joseph.

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