dialectic

noun di·a·lec·tic \ ˌdī-ə-ˈlek-tik \

Definition of dialectic

philosophy
1 :logic 1a(1)
2 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 1) investigation of the eternal ideas
3 :the logic of appearances and of illusions :the logic of fallacy
  • the dialectic of Kant
4 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 4), antithesis, and synthesis (see synthesis 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
a :any systematic reasoning, exposition (see exposition 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 :the dialectical tension or opposition between two interacting forces or elements

Recent Examples of dialectic from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of dialectic

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


DIALECTIC Defined for English Language Learners

dialectic

noun

Definition of dialectic for English Language Learners

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



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up dialectic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

pleasing or sweet sound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Forms of Government Quiz

  • knupfer-painting-solon-before-croesus
  • A gerontocracy is rule by:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!