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Example research essay topic: Philosophy - The Dialectical Method - 1221 words

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There are a lot many descriptions for the word dialectic. By viewing all of them what I have ended up concluding in the given context, i.e. Socrates' Dialectical Method, is that: Dialectic is a variety of languages, conceivably a sort of a composition of the languages in this variety. The word comes from Ancient Greek dialektos, which is derived from dialegesthai, meaning to discourse, converse, and talk. By this root of the word, in this context, I deduce that Dialectics is a method in which people from different walks of life, contained by different personal philosophies (languages) are set together to discuss on a single word, sentence, thought, topic etc. explaining their personal views supported by logical reasons defending their argument. This discussion is meant to have all the possible view points on that particular subject with in a group of people and finally to deduce a definition for the subject which is acceptable by all the individuals involved.

The ultimate goal for having Dialectic seems to search for the real the truth. Socratic Dialectical Method Well for this I think first we should know what nature Socrates had, it will help us knowing the uniqueness of Socrates' method. Socrates was a man of the Periclean age, which witnessed one of the periodic "bankruptcies of science." Cosmological speculation, which had been boldly pursued from the beginning of the 6th century, seemed to have led to a chaos of conflicting systems of thought. People had turned away from pursue of science and concentrated themselves not with truth but with making a successful human life. In this time of chaos and individualism, Socrates was the most realistic person in sight. He was always searching for more than the meanings of things already had.

He wanted proof of what was defined, proof which would give logical reasons for it self. He was 'an inquirer', unsatisfied and still looking for truth. Unlike others he was not self-centered, always ready to be corrected. His nature of being broad minded reflected his way of teaching people, which actually seems to be learning by them. This is the beauty of his method, called as The Socratic Dialectical Method.

Procedure Socrates did not call people towards him self, he went out towards them and asked them their views instead of lecturing and forcing his thoughts on them. It was a dialogue form discussion, where individuals brought up their view points on a particular subject set by Socrates. On one side there was Socrates playing the role of the enquirer, asking the questions and on the other side the conversant with whom the conversation was being held, would submit to answer Socrates' questions. It was actually a test of the beliefs one had by questioning them about it. Socrates let the other speak first and as he spoke Socrates brought up questions for him out of his arguments, picking up threads out of what he spoke.

The primary question is not always the first question which is raised more for dramatic purposes. Socrates persuades his conversant into teaching him the meaning of a virtue by the use of Socratic irony: that he does not know the truth but his friend must be wise and clever so that he can teach Socrates the meaning of virtue The conversant answers Socrates' primary questions by stating a definition that is to be examined by a number of secondary questions. The secondary questions often are intended to find internal inconsistencies in the definition or conclusions that are inconsistent with other views held by the conversant or by the majority of mankind. When Socrates explains these inconsistencies he formulates a refutation (Greek: elenchos) of the definition after several further attempts to define the subject, Socrates' conversant admits that he does not know or that he now knows that he does not know. One by one all the participants of the discussion are questioned of their beliefs.

Finally comes up Socrates himself, though to a higher extent he may be already knew the real truth about what the discussion was but now he knows also what others think. Here comes the ability to deduce out of all these the real and actual on which all will have to agree, unarguable and non-disagreeable because what it will be, will be all and all out of what the people have spoken themselves. Now, Socrates end up the discussion with a new definition of the topic, a definition deduced by all of the people's knowledge and his ability to scrutinize and extract the real these views contained. All the way through this conversation some steps took places, which are listed below: • Conversation • Concepts • Methodological Doubt • Induction • Deduction Out of these the two major approaches that help the decision are; Methodic doubt - no one is right - and Deduction - everyone's right side contributes to the final right. Briefly defining notes on both follow.

Methodic Doubt A way of searching for certainty, systematically, though tentatively, doubting everything. First, all statements are classified according to type and source of knowledge - e.g., knowledge from tradition, empirical knowledge, and mathematical knowledge. Then, examples from each class are examined. If a way can be found to doubt the truth of any statement, then all other statements of that type are also set aside as dubitable. The doubt is methodic because it assures systematic completeness, but also because no claim is made that all - or even that any - statements in a dubitable class are really false or that one must or can distrust them in an ordinary sense.

The method is to set aside as conceivably false all statements and types of knowledge that are not indubitably true. The hope is that, by eliminating all statements and types of knowledge the truth of which can be doubted in any way, one will find some indubitable certainties. Deductive Approach In logic, a rigorous proof, or derivation, of one statement (the conclusion) from one or more statements (the premises) - i.e., a chain of statements, each of which is either a premise or a consequence of a statement occurring earlier in the proof. This usage is a generalization of what the Greek philosopher Aristotle called the syllogism, but a syllogism is now recognized as merely a special case of a deduction. Also, the traditional view that deduction proceeds "from the general to the specific" or "from the universal to the particular" has been abandoned as incorrect by most logicians.

Some experts regard all valid inference as deductive in form and, for this and other reasons reject the supposed contrast between deduction and induction. See also axiomatic method; formal system; inference. Negative & Positive Socrates' procedure is a negative kind of thing-it aims to find what is wrong with a belief. If a belief fails, it obviously should be rejected-either completely, or reformulated in light of their failures. However, if a belief survives questioning, we should accept it provisionally: we don't know that it is wrong, but we also don't know that it is right. A future round of questions may be its undoing.

Yet it seems to be an inductive quality and has made the Socratic Method the basic of all scientific methods today Note: Methodic Doubt, Deductive Approach and Negative & Positive, all are extracts from various sources with slight changes.

Related: dialectical, socratic method, human life, ultimate goal, premise

Research essay sample on Philosophy - The Dialectical Method

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