The Meaning of Dialectics


  • Bertell Ollman



Marxism, Philosophy


There is so much misinformation about dialectics that it may be useful to start by saying what it is not. Dialectics is not a rock-ribbed triad of thesis-antithesis-synthesis which serves as an all purpose explanation, nor does it provide a formula that enables us to praise or predict anything, nor is it the motor force of history. The dialectic as such explains nothing, proves nothing, predicts nothing, and causes nothing to happen. Rather, dialectics is a way of thinking which brings into focus the full range of changes and interactions that occur in the world. It includes how to organize a reality viewed in this manner for purposes of study, and how to present to others, most of whom do not think dialectically, the results of what one finds.

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