1. The art or practice of arriving at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments.
a. 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.
b. Hegel's critical method for the investigation of this process.
a. 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. Often used in the plural with a singular or plural verb.
b. The Marxian critique of this process.
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 dialektik (tekhn), (art) of debate, feminine of dialektikos, from dialektos, speech, conversation; see dialect.]
dia·lecti·cal, dia·lectic adj.