Dialectical method

The problem of Truth is a point of restlessness that cuts across all ages of thought. One could say that to solve this problem, one of the methods with the longest trajectory is the dialectical method . On this subject we will speak today.

What is the dialectical method?

In philosophy, the dialectical method is the method aimed at solving the problems of truth by confronting different perspectives that eventually contradict each other. Part of the Hegelian assumption that for each thesis , there is an antithesis, and that the purpose of putting them in contact is to arrive at a synthesis. That is, a point where differences are resolved satisfactorily and productively.

  • Definition
  • Characteristics of the dialectical method
  • Marx’s dialectical method
  • From Plato
  • Of Hegel
  • Of Socrates
  • How to apply the dialectical method
  • Steps
  • Importance of the dialectical method
  • Examples


It is a method that was born in the heart of Greek antiquity , of the conversational type, where an idea, concept or notion is put in contact with another that is totally or almost totally opposite. This method can find its fields of application in very dissimilar contexts, from society , technology, education, culture and other fields with a high level of abstraction .

Characteristics of the dialectical method

We can say, in a synthetic way and that this is not intended to evade future discussions, that the dialectical method has the following essential characteristics:

  • It is a method that thinks about social and historical events inserted within the same continuum. That is, they are not placed in isolation.
  • The dialectical method is a conversational method, in which everything is thought to be subject to a state of permanent connection . With this, he establishes that the isolated elements are a fiction, that in reality, two apparently opposite ideas are closely related.
  • Parallel to the above, the dialectical method takes into account the changing reality. An object is never the same for an unlimited time. In reality, thanks to the dialectical reality of objects, they are always transforming each other. By this, it is meant that the dialectical method itself proposes to produce transformations in the objects that come into contact.

Marx’s dialectical method

Although Marx is by no means the founder of this method or its application, he can be thought of as one of the most important developers. Marx , as a good disciple of Hegel, takes from this the concept of dialectical method in order to put it in the context of the sociological, economic and historical. For Marx, ” the history of society is a history of class struggle” , a very famous phrase that generates echoes among connoisseurs of the subject. Marx stipulates that the dialectic is already in its historical development, as there is a proletariat and a bourgeois class in permanent contradiction. Marx takes from the dialectical method a way to investigate these contradictions, and to find possible solutions to them.

From Plato

With Plato , it is seen that there is a Sensible World and a World of Ideas in his theoretical body. While the first can be known only through the sensorium, the sense organs, the second requires a series of mental operations to be achieved. According to Plato , it is only through the dialectical (dialogical) method that the truth (which is something inherent in the non-material world) can be known. This is, in a way, an inheritance from Socrates .

Of Hegel

For many, one of the main founders of the dialectical method as a theoretical body and as a research method . Hegel had proposed the existence of a world full of thesis and antithesis. For him, each concept or idea has its opposite, and from this tense relationship new ideas or concepts are born, which are thought as synthesis. In this sense, Hegel does not shy away, but wants the encounter between opposites in order to know what appears.

Of Socrates

One may think that, in essence, the Socratic method is a dialectical method . Already in him, we can see the first expositions of thesis and antithesis, his method being a philosophical instrument for the search for truth. The Socratic philosopher leads a series of questions or interrogations that will put the other’s claims to the test , in order to determine their consistency or inconsistency, and through this, arrive at the ultimate truth. In the Socratic method we found much of the mayéutica and Socratic irony.

How to apply the dialectical method

Understanding its theoretical bases, we must understand that its best field of application can be found in the dialogue . One makes application of the dialectical method when encountering a debate with an opponent who presents ideas that are opposite to one’s own. The purpose of this debate is not so much to win, take advantage of the adversary , but rather that ideas arise from this debate that synthesize the characteristics of both.


Although it is difficult to find a consensus (the dialectical method, like much of the philosophical, lends itself to free interpretation), we could say that this is a method with three highly differentiated phases:


An interlocutor proposes an idea, a notion or a concept . This, therefore, will present its own characteristics.


Which contrary to the postulates of the thesis. It is usually said that within each postulate, there is always a germ of antithesis. The fate of the thesis , apparently, is to meet its antithesis.


Final and desired outcome of the struggle between thesis and antithesis. The struggle is overcome, and the above ideas are ignored in pursuit of one that surpasses both.

Importance of the dialectical method

As a method of exploring reality, the dialectic is one of the most prominent in philosophy and in other disciplines that take something to do from it. We can find it in a large part of the political, economic and social action of society , this being a method that allows the interlocutors to reach higher points of knowledge than the previous ones.


  • Capital, by Karl Marx.
  • The dialectical method, by Rodolfo Cortés del Moral.

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