What is dialectic


From the Greek slide (through) and lay in (speak), dialégesthai (conduct a conversation): speak across the space that separates the interlocutors, conduct a dialogue. This term, which is very complex, means for Plato on the one hand the art of dialogue and on the other hand the art of logical subdivision, which allows us to get from the sensual to the intelligible (ascending dialectic) or to return from the intelligible to the sensual (descending dialectic). Downgraded by Aristotle, who intended it for thinking about only probable opinions, and later by Kant, who made the transcendental dialectic a logic of appearances, it became essential for Hegel, who saw in it the movement of thought and reality itself: Dialectic is the “work of the negative”, which means that everything has to be negated by passing “into its other” (its antithesis) in order to be realized in this way. [If the grain does not die, there will be no harvest.} This meaning is revisited by Marx to justify the revolution and rule of the proletariat, as well as by 20th century neo-Marxist thinkers such as Sartre (Critique of Dialectical Reason) or the Frankfurt School (Dialectic of Enlightenment). The term is also used by Bachelard to explain the progress of science. In general, dialectic is considered to be an effective way of shaping thoughts because it makes the contradicting debate fruitful. It has been recommended as a method for scientific work since Victor Cousin, a friend of Hegel and Minister of Public Education. “A non-dialectical contradiction, that's the tragedy,” said Paul Ricœur.