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[dahy-uh-lek-tik] /ˌdaɪ əˈlɛk tɪk/
adjective, Also, dialectical.
of, relating to, or of the nature of logical argumentation.
the art or practice of logical discussion as employed in investigating the truth of a theory or opinion.
logical argumentation.
Often, dialectics.
  1. logic or any of its branches.
  2. any formal system of reasoning or thought.
dialectics, (often used with a singular verb) the arguments or bases of dialectical materialism, including the elevation of matter over mind and a constantly changing reality with a material basis.
(in Kantian epistemology) a fallacious metaphysical system arising from the attribution of objective reality to the perceptions by the mind of external objects.
the juxtaposition or interaction of conflicting ideas, forces, etc.
Origin of dialectic
1350-1400; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin dialectica < Greek dialektikḗ (téchnē) argumentative (art), feminine of dialektikós. See dialect, -ic
Related forms
dialectically, adverb
nondialectic, adjective, noun
Can be confused
dialectal, dialectic, dialectical (see usage note at dialectal) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dialectics
Historical Examples
  • How they were always put off with promises, and defeated in dialectics and the game of wits.

    The Underworld James C. Welsh
  • To us there seems to be no residuum of this long piece of dialectics.

    Parmenides Plato
  • Yosef, who did not love declamation, had still fallen into the dialectics of unhappiness.

    In Vain Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • His real defect is that he is inferior to Socrates in dialectics.

    Protagoras Plato
  • It taught the three arts, Latin grammar, rhetoric and dialectics, known as the trivium.

    Colleges in America John Marshall Barker
  • Why have dialectics, when there were no quarrels and no differences of opinion?

  • Having discovered and achieved these principles, dialectics puts their consequences in order.

    Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 1 Plotinos (Plotinus)
  • It is no longer a question of dialectics, theories, and dreams.

  • These were called Ideas; and ideas are the basis of his system, or rather the subject-matter of dialectics.

  • What is called with Kant dialectics is in reality resignation.

British Dictionary definitions for dialectics


noun (functioning as pl or (sometimes) singular)
the study of reasoning or of argumentative methodology
a particular methodology or system; a logic
the application of the Hegelian dialectic or the rationale of dialectical materialism


disputation or debate, esp intended to resolve differences between two views rather than to establish one of them as true
  1. the conversational Socratic method of argument
  2. (in Plato) the highest study, that of the Forms
(in the writings of Kant) the exposure of the contradictions implicit in applying empirical concepts beyond the limits of experience
(philosophy) the process of reconciliation of contradiction either of beliefs or in historical processes See also Hegelian dialectic, dialectical materialism
of or relating to logical disputation
Derived Forms
dialectician, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektikē (tekhnē) (the art) of argument; see dialect
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dialectics



1580s, earlier dialatik (late 14c.), from Old French dialectique (12c.), from Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektike (techne) "(art of) philosophical discussion or discourse," fem. of dialektikos "of conversation, discourse," from dialektos "discourse, conversation" (see dialect). Originally synonymous with logic; in modern philosophy refined by Kant, then by Hegel, who made it mean "process of resolving or merging contradictions in character." Related: Dialectics.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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