Dialectic and its consequencies

“Dialectic (also dialectics and the dialectical method), from Ancient Greek διαλεκτική, is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that has been central to European and Indian philosophy since antiquity. The word dialectic originated in ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato in the Socratic dialogues. The dialectical method is discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject, who wish to establish the truth of the matter guided by reasoned arguments.” (from Wikipedia)

“The purpose of the dialectic method of reasoning is resolution of disagreement through rational discussion, and, ultimately, the search for truth. One way to proceed—the Socratic method—is to show that a given hypothesis (with other admissions) leads to a contradiction; thus, forcing the withdrawal of the hypothesis as a candidate for truth (see reductio ad absurdum). Another dialectical resolution of disagreement is by denying a presupposition of the contending thesis and antithesis; thereby, proceeding to sublation (transcendence) to synthesis, a third thesis.” (from Wikipedia)

A third perspective on this process is to view it as an orthogonal circle starting from anti-thesis, proceeding to synthesis and ending in thesis, wherein every thesis also is an anti-thesis and vice versa. The difference between this perspective and the two other perspectives (above) is that it does not presume that there is a true hypothesis, but instead views the process objectively. This perspective implies that the process is infinite (independently of whether there is a true hypothesis or not). ie, what the mathematician Henri Poincaret called a “vicious circle”. If this perspective is correct, which it must be since it does not change any conditions for the process, then it must be true (given these conditions).

It means that dialectic (also dialectics and the dialectical method) equals the “vicious circle” of Henri Poincaret. The difference between them is just that dialectic focuses on the possibility to find a “true” synthesis, whereas Henri Poincaret’s vicious circle focuses on the infiniteness of the process. It means that dialectic actually is an infinite vicious (orthogonal) circle. We hope that this process can lead us to a truth, but unfortunately the process is actually infinite.

In the midst of this arguing against the notion that dialectic can reach a “true” hypothesis (ie, that cladistics and particle phydics can be correct), I realize that I break the neck of a hope that rationality can resolve reality. For this, I can only say I’m sorry. My intention is not to falsify rationality, but just to understand our possibilities with speech. And, unfortunately, these possibilities appear to be limited by that our speech ends in paradox.



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