What is dialectics ?

by moodyharsh 2010-11-10

Although I was aware of dialectics as a wiki page as such. I never really appreciated it truly. Once I did, I found it everywhere. Philosophy became different, indeed I began to see philosophically after an understanding and practice of dialectical understanding.
Plato, Socates, Aristotle, German Idealism, Existentialism, Post-Modernism all have commentaries on dialectics. But what is so special about dialectic ?

Kant and Socrates think it can battles illusions.
Aristotle thinks dialectics is the only true philosophical method.
Hegel thinks dialectic is a transcendental process which guarantees that man eventually reaches God.
Kierkegaard thinks God can only be reached by a leap of faith.
Nietzsche hated dialectics. He thinks belief in the eternal return is what we need.
Taoism makes a religion out of dialectics.
Marx thinks dialectical struggles happen in the people plane materially and brutally.
Lacan brought dialectics into the collective unconscious.
Derrida put dialectics on steroids with his deconstruction (my conclusion).
Baudrillard thinks that the philosophical game of dialectics can no longer be played.
Zizek thinks it can.
Not only this, one can also see dialectical thinking (~ not based thinking) in buddhism.

What is dialectics then ? It has no clear definition other than the
fact that You can recognize it when you see it by its obsession
with “not” or “inversions”. What is the closest approximation to
an understanding of dialectics then ? Here is a simple explanation.

Dialectics is about understanding reality in a ‘total form’
(essentially an idea), by repeatedly generating and using negative
ideas. It might be debatable whether it indeed matches reality or
creates a fictitious one but that is how it rolls.

How does one repeatedly generate negative ideas or even understand
them ? By repeatedly and actively imagining the negative of an
idea or ideas. How are these maps of ideas presented in text ? By
twists and inversions (which is radically different from logic
because logic presents itself textually as arguments and conclusions).
I think that dialectical thinking and imagination is crucial to
understanding modern philosophy without brushing it of as incoherent
like Sokal. The problem with dialectics is, it can not be explained
in logical terms because its entire presentation is so different.
After a while though it seems that one can start speaking dialectically
and make sense of these incoherent remarks.

For example. A simple logical rule can be - Stop dreaming. A
dialectical rule will be - Stop finding reality in dreams and find
dreams in reality. Can you truly see the twist and the inversion ?
As you can see naively interpreting the statement can not do. One
is forced to imagine. And therein lies the force of dialectics.
Only by understanding this strangeness can one understand limitations
and utility of dialectics and use it fruitfully. And only through
dialectics, as some philosophers remind us can the world ever be