di·​a·​lec·​tic | \ ˌdī-ə-ˈlek-tik How to pronounce dialectic (audio) \

Definition of dialectic

1 philosophy : logic sense 1a(1)

2 philosophy

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 (see platonic sense 1) investigation of the eternal ideas
3 philosophy : the logic of appearances and of illusions : the logic of fallacy the dialectic of Kant

4 philosophy

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

(1) usually dialectics plural in form but singular or plural in construction : development through the stages of thesis (see thesis sense 4), antithesis, and synthesis (see synthesis sense 2b) in accordance with the laws of dialectical materialism
(2) : the investigation of this process
(3) : the theoretical application of this process especially in the social sciences

5 usually dialectics plural in form but singular or plural in construction philosophy

a : any systematic reasoning, exposition (see exposition sense 2a), 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
6 philosophy : the dialectical tension or opposition between two interacting forces or elements

Examples of dialectic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Compass remains, in spite of Enard’s intentions, a story of the West, rather than a genuine dialectic, a limitation that also bedevils much of the recent European cinema on its internal Others. Adam Shatz, The New York Review of Books, "‘Orientalism,’ Then and Now," 20 May 2019 For artists, fans' online gift cultures raise dialectic tensions between participatory desires for communication and connection and personal, economic, and artistic desires to control their work and image. Nancy Baym, WIRED, "Book Excerpt: How Music Fans Built the Internet," 10 July 2018 And in a way, the entire dialectic unfairly reduces the tournament, their teams and both men. Brian Straus, SI.com, "The World Cup Will Be Just Fine Without the Exhausting Messi vs. Ronaldo Debate," 30 June 2018 Yet in our own country, and our own time, that simple dialectic doesn’t sound so far off. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "'Young Karl Marx' review: The man, the dialectic, the biopic, the legend," 21 June 2018 And now, with Lemonade as the thesis and 4:44 the antithesis, the Hegelian hip-hop dialectic is complete. Dan Deluca, Philly.com, "Beyonce and Jay-Z are a happy couple on 'Everything Is Love.' Is that good for their music?," 18 June 2018 Either way, there’s some intellectual common ground, both in facts and methodologies, that leads to the hypothesis-thesis-synthesis dialectic of Socrates or Hegel. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "Facebook, Snapchat and the Dawn of the Post-Truth Era," 28 May 2018 History teaches us about an inevitable dialectic: Power creates resistance. Edward Wong, New York Times, "A Chinese Empire Reborn," 5 Jan. 2018 Theirs is a dazzling dialectic — a sort of Talmudic argument as snarled by junkyard dogs. F. Kathleen Foley, latimes.com, "'Bad Jews' at the Odyssey: High-decibel hilarity," 2 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dialectic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dialectic

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dialectic

Middle English dialetik, from Anglo-French dialetiqe, from Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektikē, from feminine of dialektikos of conversation, from dialektos — see dialect

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The first known use of dialectic was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of dialectic

philosophy : a method of examining and discussing opposing ideas in order to find the truth

More from Merriam-Webster on dialectic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dialectic

Britannica English: Translation of dialectic for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dialectic

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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