Dialectic is defined as “that branch of logic which teaches the rules and modes of reasoning.” Dialectic is a philosophical term that requires a precise set of definitions. On the Via Christa, we subscribe to the Platonic usage and definition of dialectic. We thoroughly disavow all other worldly “brands” of dialectic (Hegelian and Marxist) as mere degrees of the sophistical disguises for varying perversions of reality.

Dialectic is “the art or practice of arriving at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments. 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. The contradiction between two conflicting forces viewed as the determining factor in their continuing interaction.”
  “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.”
  “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.” — American Heritage Dictionary.

The term dialetic is “from the Greek διαλεκτική (sc. τέχνη), meaning the dialectic art, the art of discussion, logical debate, also the logic of probabilities. Dialectic is 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.” — Century Dictionary

Dialectic is defined as "1. a: Discussion and reasoning by dialogue as a method of intellectual investigation, specifically the Socratic techniques of exposing false beliefs and eliciting truth; b: The Platonic investigation of the eternal ideas. 2. The logic of appearances and of illusions, the logic of fallacy (the dialectic of Kant).
  3. a: the Hegelian process of change in which a concept or its realization passes over into and is preserved and fulfilled by its opposite, also the critical investigation of this process; b. Marxism: development through the stages of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis in accordance with the laws of dialectical materialism; the investigation of this process; the theoretical application of this process especially in the social sciences.
  "4. a: any systematic reasoning, exposition, or argument that juxtaposes opposed or contradictory ideas and usually seeks to resolve their conflict; a method of examining and discussing opposing ideas in order to find the truth. b: an intellectual exchange of ideas. 5. The dialectical tension or opposition between two interacting forces or elements. — Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Dialectic: Logic Through Conversation

Dialectic is a term used in philosophy, and the fact that it is closely connected to the ideas of Socrates and Plato is completely logical — even from an etymological point of view. Plato’s famous dialogues frequently presented Socrates playing a leading role, and dialogue comes from the Greek roots dia- (“through” or “across”) and -logue (“discourse” or “talk”). Dialect and dialectic come from dialecktos (“conversation” or “dialect”) and ultimately back to the Greek word dialegesthai, meaning “to converse.”

Conversation or dialogue was indeed at the heart of the “Socratic method,” through which Socrates would ask probing questions which cumulatively revealed his students’ unsupported assumptions and misconceptions. The goal was to elicit a clear and consistent expression of something supposed to be implicitly known by all rational beings.

Other philosophers had specific uses of dialectic, including Aristotle, the Stoics, Kant, Hegel, and Marx. On deeper examination, one finds that each of the above used dialectic in his own way, to his own ends, and twisting the process into a form meeting his own goals, which may or may not be the truth.

Socrates’ method of “giving birth” to the truth was to ask a series of questions; maieutic, a related word defined as “relating to or resembling the Socratic method of eliciting new ideas from another,” comes from the Greek word meaning “of midwifery.” Socrates referred to himself as a midwife to the birth of a soul (Theaetetus 150).

Platonic Dialectic

“The full meaning of dialectics in Plato would demand a treatise. It is almost the opposite of what Hegelians call by that name, which is represented in Plato by the second part of the Parmenides. The characteristic Platonic dialectic is the checking of the stream of thought by the necessity of securing the understanding and assent of an intelligent interlocutor at every step, and the habit of noting all relevant distinctions, divisions, and ambiguities, in ideas and terms. When the interlocutor is used merely to relieve the strain on the leader’s voice or the reader’s attention, as in some of the later dialogues, dialectic becomes merely a literary form.” Paul Shorey, Republic Book VII. p. 201.

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“Dialectic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary.

“Dialectic.” Wordnik.com Dictionary.