"Best philosophical ideas improve Humanity"

Philosophical thinking -
from Tradition to Innovation


Despina Samiotaki

Nowadays DIALECTICS is as essential as it was twenty five centuries ago, when this tradition was established by ancient Greeks philosophers. Since then, after many years, DIALECTICS has changed a lot and has become ambiguous having lots of meanings.
The word DIALECTICS (διαλεκτικήδιαλέγομαιthe art of dialogue and conversation, as well as the ability to have a conversation with questions and answers. Also, it meant the art of classification of meanings and the dissociation of things in genders and species.
Gradually, in ancient world, with the word DIALECTICS is implied the art that someone had on speaking to reach the Truth, overcoming and unveiling the antithesis that may have the opponent’s thought. The Truth is revealed only by the logic, the dialogue, the argument, the thesis and the antithesis, and the free conversation that takes place among two people at least. The atmosphere between the colluctors is pleasant and both know that nobody knows the Truth. So, DIALECTICS is a method that guarantees the reference to the fundamental principles and causes, it is also the superior cognitive procedure for the knowledge of ideas.
The ancient Greek philosophy was the first that underlined that the world is changeable like a big eternal and progressive function. It considered that the reality is a procedure. Illuminated the role that plays in this procedure the modification of each attribute onto its opposite (Iraklitos, Pythagoras). Ancient philosophers thought that the conflict the opposite opinions was the best way to discover the truth. Adopting this dialectic way of thinking on the study of the natural phenomena is producing the dialectic method for the nature. According to this method the natural phenomena are in an eternal move and change. The evolution of the nature has as a result the evolution of the nature’s contrasts as well as the mutual action of the opposite natural forces.
Aristotle was thinking that the father of DIALECTICS was Zinon from Elea, who analyzed the contrapositions that appeared when it was tied to understand the notion of movement and group. According to Diogenes Laertis, “by the time of Archelaos (Socrates’ teacher) bloomed Physics, from Socrates was born Ethics and from Zinon began Dialectics”. Following the opposite psychology (saying to somebody the opposite to what you want to say to him) Zinon wants his colluctor to follow the path of studying and browsing. By saying that he cannot talk about one thing, means that they have to search of this thing. This has as a result to enrich the dialogue because they will be very interested of the “difficult” issue.
According to Diogenes Laertis, the dialectic method “is the third part of Philosophy, it is the line of argument that uses Physics and Ethics. We can say that it combines and helps in the evolution of them: Physics that is the part that deals with the world (universe) and Ethics that deals with the life and our ancestors”.
However, Socrates established DIALECTICS as a critical function and practiced it in the real philosophical conversation. Socrates thought that phenomenal and temporary are not able to be an object of knowledge. He wanted to change the falsehood; that was the reason why he looked for a way of searching and thinking. Next, Platon, sets dialectics in “Politia” as one of the four sciences that have to be taught to the young people of the city as geometry, solid geometry and mathematics. In “Politia” it is mentioned the necessity of existence of a new science, dialectics that connects the sensible with the imaginable and moving from the hypothetical to the absolute principle, absolute idea of good. For Platon “be” includes the antithesis that is the essential condition for the soul’s impulse to the meditation. This is the art of dialectics according to Platon.
In the age of Regeneration, Kuzanos and Bruno declared the dialectic idea of “opposites’ conjunction” and afterwards, despite the domination of metaphysics, Descartes and Spinoza gave lots of signs of dialectic thinking.
Important step for the evolution of dialectics, before Marxism, was the classic German idealism that faced dialectics not only as knowledge but also as action. Kant was the first who injected the idea of evolution into the knowledge of nature and developed the dialectic idea for the “antinomy”. Later, Fichte developed the “adversative” method of extraction of philosophical categories that included great dialectical positions. Schelling developed the dialectical perception of the nature’s procedures.
The highest level in the evolution of the DIALECTICS was the idealistic ideas of Hegel, who made the thought as reality. Hegel for the first time represented the whole physical, historical and spiritual world as a procedure, as an eternal move, change, metamorphosis and evolution. He tried to discover the inner function of this move and evolution. The path that follows the mind (thesis- antithesis- composition) follows, as well, the reality.
Furthermore, Engels and Marx worked on the scientific idea of DIALECTICS. They rejected the idealistic subject of Hegel’s philosophy. They talked about the dialectical relation between the producing procedure of economical benefits and the class structure of the society. On the other hand they talked about the forms of ideology (justice, political aspects, ethics, art, religion, science, philosophy). The spiritual civilization is the construction. The producing method of the goods is the substructure. That is how the change of the ideologies in different social systems is explained. In fact that was the historical materialism of Marx, that became the modern understanding of the dialectic.
The next important step of use, change and development of dialectical logic was made by the soviet philosopher Vasioulin who combined the development of the social theory as a whole with the “logic of history”. In his theoretical approaches he tried to compose a perspective with the history of cognitive object.
Resuming the above we can assert that the true understanding of Life can be reached only if we combine the abilities of an individual with achievements of Dialectics, having as a result the real HUMAN being who is capable to overcome the contrasts and problems of everyday life on the grounds of wisdom and freedom.

Despina Samiotaki