(redirected from Dialectical subtlety)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.


1. The art or practice of arriving at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments.
2. The process especially associated with Hegel of arriving at the truth by stating a thesis, developing a contradictory antithesis, and combining and resolving them into a coherent synthesis.
3. often dialectics(used with a sing. or pl. verb) The Marxian process of change through the conflict of opposing forces, whereby a given contradiction is characterized by a primary and a secondary aspect, the secondary succumbing to the primary, which is then transformed into an aspect of a new contradiction.
4. dialectics(used with a sing. verb) A method of argument or exposition that systematically weighs contradictory facts or ideas with a view to the resolution of their real or apparent contradictions.
5. The contradiction between two conflicting forces viewed as the determining factor in their continuing interaction.

[Middle English dialetik, from Old French dialetique, from Latin dialectica, logic, from Greek dialektikē (tekhnē), (art) of debate, feminine of dialektikos, from dialektos, speech, conversation; see dialect.]

di′a·lec′ti·cal, di′a·lec′tic adj.
di′a·lec′ti·cal·ly adv.


1. (Philosophy) disputation or debate, esp intended to resolve differences between two views rather than to establish one of them as true
2. (Philosophy) philosophy
a. the conversational Socratic method of argument
b. (in Plato) the highest study, that of the Forms
3. (Philosophy) (in the writings of Kant) the exposure of the contradictions implicit in applying empirical concepts beyond the limits of experience
4. (Philosophy) philosophy the process of reconciliation of contradiction either of beliefs or in historical processes. See also Hegelian dialectic, dialectical materialism
(Logic) of or relating to logical disputation
[C17: from Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektikē (tekhnē) (the art) of argument; see dialect]
ˌdialecˈtician n


(ˌdaɪ əˈlɛk tɪk)

adj. Also, dialectical.
1. pertaining to or of the nature of logical argumentation.
3. the art or practice of debate or conversation by which the truth of a theory or opinion is arrived at logically.
4. logical argumentation.
6. dialectics, (often used with a sing. v.) the arguments or bases of dialectical materialism, including the elevation of matter over mind and a constantly changing reality with a material basis.
7. the juxtaposition or interaction of conflicting ideas, forces, etc.
[1350–1400; (< Anglo-French) < Latin dialectica < Greek dialektikḗ (téchnē) argumentative (art), feminine of dialektikós. See dialect, -ic]
di`a•lec′ti•cal•ly, adv.


In Greek philosophy, the art of testing whether assertions hold true. In Hegel, a system of logic proceeding from thesis to antithesis to synthesis.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.dialectic - any formal system of reasoning that arrives at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments
philosophy - the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics
2.dialectic - a contradiction of ideas that serves as the determining factor in their interaction; "this situation created the inner dialectic of American history"
contradiction - opposition between two conflicting forces or ideas
Adj.1.dialectic - of or relating to or employing dialectic; "the dialectical method"


noun debate, reasoning, discussion, logic, contention, polemics, disputation, argumentation, ratiocination He spent much time learning rhetoric and dialectic.


A. Ndialéctica f
B. ADJdialéctico


n with sing vbDialektik f


[ˌdaɪəˈlɛktɪk] n (Philosophy) → dialettica
References in periodicals archive ?
The "little" is deliberately condescending because Marcuse's essay, as well as the essay by Max Horkheimer that inspired Marcuse's, "Egoism and Freedom Movements: On the Anthropology of the Bourgeois Era" (1936), are far superior to Althusser's in almost every conceivable category: depth and breadth of analysis, philosophical and historical scope, dialectical subtlety, conceptual rigor, and analytical complexity.
This strikes me as an unusually sober and acute line of historical reflection, which Brown presents with some dialectical subtlety.
But to provide it Hunter has to sacrifice the dialectical subtlety that McKeon's study has or that one finds in New Historicists such as Stephen Greenblatt.