The dialectic consists of the branch of philosophy in which those contradictory relationships are explained .


What is dialectics?

It is a philosophical branch that studies the interaction of opposite pairs. Its conception has evolved over the years. Beginning with Plato , and passing through Hegel and Marx , its definition has been, however, the same in its essence. It would try to understand the relationship between concepts that by their very nature are contrary. From that setback, is that new elements emerge.

  • Definition of dialectic
  • Etymology
  • Characteristics of the dialectic
  • History
  • Laws
  • Beginning
  • Platonic dialectic
  • Hegelian dialectic
  • What is dialectics for Marx
  • Importance
  • Examples

Definition of dialectic

No one is oblivious to the contradiction. We are constantly faced with dilemmas that are more or less difficult to solve. Should I buy this or that? Do you need this or that more? Could it be that I follow this or another course? The dilemma is one thing that has plagued man for a long time . We can find it in our relationships with the environment , but also with significant others, or within ourselves?


What, then, is  dialectics ? We could discern it as the philosophical branch that is understood with contradictory relationships. Before each thesis, there is antithesis . Each concept raises its solutions, but at the same time, it finds problems, elements that are in opposition.

The dialectic states that all ideas are in permanent contradiction with others. These are, by their very nature , a problem that the philosopher has to figure out to solve. Let’s see a little more about this.


Like much of the philosophical concepts , its roots are in ancient Greek. It began to be used by Plato , and the word comes from the dialektike . This would come to mean Conversation Technique . The reasons for such a conception will be elucidated later.

Characteristics of the dialectic

  • It is a branch of philosophy whose conception has diversified with the passing of the ages.
  • It was primarily intended as a conversation or debate technique.
  • The contradiction is what allows the emergence of new ideas. The latter is one of the postulates made by Hegel .
  • Karl Marx takes a dialectical stance when doing his study of historical phenomena. To do this, it takes into account a materialistic stance as well.


Historically, dialectic knows its formal origins in Classical Greece . It should be clarified, however, that the dialectic has arisen in an unmeditated way in the religious groups of the East. From the latter one can see the so-called contradiction between the creative and destructive elements of Hinduism .

However, in Classical Greece it is the place where this concept was formally born. Plato is the creator of the so-called Dialectical Method . Any conversation that is configured based on discussion, on the dialogue between opposite pairs, is dialectical . Both parties debate in order to arrive at a truth. In this case, a philosophical truth.

The concept few changes experimented with the passing of the centuries , and it is with Hegel that it begins to acquire other nuances. These, in turn, allowed the emergence of conceptions such as Karl Marx’s Materialist Dialectic.


As a discipline, dialectics tries to understand the nature of the objects of study. An object is, therefore, subject to various laws that this discipline tries to elucidate. Here are some of them:

  • Law of unity and struggle of opposites, or the conception that several elements within an object are in a permanent struggle.
  • Law of the transition from quantitative to qualitative changes , or the idea that there is a relationship between the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the same object.
  • Law of negation of negation , or the tendency to deny old aspects of an object, to give rise to new and superior aspects of it.


In the same way, we can also extract a series of principles from dialectics . These could be said to be born in the materialist dialectic , but they can be extended to all the models of this discipline. Here are some of them:

  • Principle of constant change
  • Principle of reciprocal action
  • Principle of unity of opposites
  • Principle of quantitative changes and qualitative leaps

Platonic dialectic

From Plato , one could perceive the formal beginnings of this notion. It arises under the so-called Platonic Dialogue . This could be thought that he was born as heir to the Socratic maieutics . Its hallmarks, however, have been defined by Plato himself . Its ultimate goal is the acquisition of knowledge and to achieve the “Idea of ​​Good” . To get there, try to get opposing pairs into contact. Such an encounter facilitates access to the truth.

Hegelian dialectic

Hegel was a German philosopher who incorporated this concept into his philosophical system. For him, the development of thought could only occur from the encounter of opposite pairs. Opposite pairs of ideas, in this case. Out of the contradiction arise the most important ideas, says Hegel . This position becomes revolutionary at the time, since it is opposed (dialectically?) To what was predominant at the time; the denial of the contradiction and the search for the truth from a single position.

What is dialectics for Marx

It could be said that Marx introduces this conception to historical materialism . For Marx , the dialectic is embedded in history as a history of struggles. The struggle and the conception of the opposite, of the adversary, is essential in this philosophical system . There is no sign of identity in any role or character within Marxism if it is not contrasted with its opposite.

The main struggle that is exposed in dialectical materialism is, of course, the class struggle. Marx argues very eloquently that much of the historical event has been the “class struggle” due to the material conditions of the moment. Example of this: Worker vs. Bourgeois.


To declare the importance of dialectics is to declare the importance of a concept that has been used (and still is) in many of the contemporary philosophical models . A dialectical process is, for example, in the political debate gestated between opposing parties in a parliament. About examples is precisely what we will talk about next.


An example that we can take is decision-making that must be made in the political arena. In a parliament , the common thing is to meet deputies or parliamentarians from different parties. Most of them are in open antagonism. What good can come of all this?

Basically, that from their disagreements, the parliament can extract quite creative ideas or decisions. In the event that the parliament is well structured, the plurality of parties will make it possible to perceive the diversity of perspectives and, in turn, enable actions that are varied.

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