11.2: Dialectics

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Learning Objectives

• Explain the components, practice, and benefits of dialectical thinking
• Conduct a dialect discussion to consider other points of view on your topic

As you read in Section 10.3, a strong persuasive essay will respectfully identify and discuss perspectives of the same topic. When you do this, you are presenting a well-rounded and complete discussion to your reader that shows you have critically thought about the topic and have been selective in choosing your points. As a result, there is a higher probably that you will convince your reader. The process of looking at multiple sides of a topic is called dialectics.

Dialectics is the act of using logical reasoning to combine, juxtapose, or synthesize opposing ideas to arrive at a strong conclusion.

The Components of Dialectics To begin the dialectic process, you first need to come up with an idea of what topic will be discussed; this is the thesis behind the discussion. Once you have determined your thesis, through various methods (the easiest being discussion with someone else), you will explore opposing sides to the topic, eventually discovering at least one antithesis. Combining those two perspectives, you can then make your own conclusions. Maybe this process will result in you standing by the original thesis, or maybe the antithesis is incredibly convincing and you will switch sides of the argument, or maybe you still believe the original thesis but accept there are other conditions that have credibility as well. This end result is called the synthesis: the blending of ideas. Essentially, the process would look like this:

Considering both your thesis and the discovered antithetical perspectives will help you to arrive at a wider view of a topic: one that has more credibility. Looking back to the persuasive essay samples you read in Section 10.4 and discussed in Exercise 11.5, consider to what degree the authors acknowledged opposing views. How did they justify their opinions? Consider how integrating dialectics into each of those arguments to a greater degree would have strengthened their points of view, ultimately making their arguments more convincing.

Exercise 11.6

Based on the thesis “Governments use capital punishment as an effective tool for deterring violent crime, answer the following questions and complete the table.

What is your stance on this statement? To what extent do you agree/disagree?

_____________________________________________________________________

Complete the table considering the thesis statement given above.

First complete the side of the table with ideas supporting the point of view you described in question #1.

Then, challenge yourself to come up with ideas (you may need to do a little bit of research) that would support the other side of the discussion.

Supporting the statement Against the statement

Collaboration: Discuss your answers with a partner. Do you both have the same ideas, or can you add to your list based on what your partner has come up with.

After coming up with and considering the other perspective, has your point of view changed at all?

Do you still stick by your same point of view 100 percent? Or do you concede that there are valid points from the other perspective?

Exercise 11.7/Discussion 3

Using both the scratch outline and the working thesis you created in Exercise 11.4, create a table like the one you used in Exercise 11.6, only filling in the side with information that supports your thesis.

Once you have created that table with your thesis given, share your table and thesis with a classmate.

Collaborate: Conduct a dialectic discussion on your topic and possible for and against the working thesis you presented. Add any points to your original table.

Remember to be aware of the process of synthesis you have gone through. Did your original point of view change at all? Is there anything you can make concessions on being valid? This may impact your thesis.

Using one or two of the opposing ideas your partner helped you come up with, revise your scratch outline from Exercise 11.4.

11.2: Dialectics is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.