Dialectical thinking Bal Chandra Luitel
In this presentation • What is dialectical thinking? • Characteristics • Different types of dialectics • Epistemology and ontology • Uses of dialectical thinking • Sources
Dialectical thinking • Triad/process: Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis • Opposites co-exist within the same phenomenon. • Conflict and contradiction is normal. • Change is an internal process based on internal contradictions /friction. • Change is the unity of opposites • Dialectical thinking is about looking for alternatives and widening our horizon
Characteristics • Emphasis on change: The first characteristic of dialectical thinking is that it places all the emphasis on change. • Usefulness of formal logic questioned: It is quite often we can see that the same phenomenon is different from its assumed basic attributes. So formal logic may not work in this situation. • For dialectics it is not uncommon to say "A is ~ A".
Characteristics • One of the very important characteristics of dialectical thinking is the interdependence of opposites. It does not say one attribute is superior of the other but only their viability in certain time and context. For instance usefulness of light in night time. No use of light, if there was no dark/light
Characteristics • The interpenetration of opposites: Opposites are regarded as relative attributes: Love and hate, right and wrong, good and bad. • Opposites are embedded with phenomenon itself. When we start thinking of good, we also try to conceive of bad.
Characteristics • The unity of opposites: If we choose one extreme it appears to be the other extreme too. For instance, if we make darkness absolute, we are blind - we can't see anything. And if we make light absolute, we are equally blind and unable to see. • How about thinking about Shubert’s curriculum images? Too much content results in…
Different types of dialectic • Eastern Dialectics: God of creator, order and destroyer (Hinduism) • Ian Stewart points out that the relationship between the gods Shiva, "the Untamed", and Vishnu is not the antagonism between good and evil, but that of the real principles of harmony and discord which together underlie the whole of existence (Wikipedia).
Different types of dialectics • Buddhist dialectics: you and the world, illusion and nirvana, multiple selves • Socratic dialectics: Contradiction and cross-examination of one’s claims • Hegelian dialectics: Dialectical stages of development: Thesis, antithesis and synthesis • Marxist dialectics: Materialistic dialectics, material/external world is the basis of forming ideas…
Epistemology and ontology • How about thinking ‘epistemology and ontology’ as dialectics? • Epistemology deals with the ways of knowing while ontology deals with the nature of reality… • how we know comes from what we perceive as the reality…
Uses of dialectical thinking in our research • Research as writing • Auto/representation • Auto/method • Self/other • Auto/ethnography • Dialectical logic in data interpretation
Sources • Rowan, J. (nd). Dialectical thinking. http://www.gwiep.net/site/dialthnk.htm • Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectic