TODAY -

The importance of dialogue and dialectic in Philosophy

Ashok Vohra *



Philosophy is concerned with finding solutions to problems of life as well as of 'being and becoming'. It is primarily concerned with issues relating to the origin and nature of matter, mind, goodness, truth, and ultimate reality.

Philosophy is the outcome of our sense of wonder, what Vedanta calls jigyasa, curiosity; what the Gita calls pariprashna, the questioning spirit. Methodologies adopted by Greek, western and Indian systems of philosophy differ. Western philosophy is a disinterested quest for knowledge, to know for the sake of knowing, knowledge being an end in itself.

In Indian philosophy pursuit of knowledge has utilitarian ends. While Greek and western philosophers limit their investigation to the external world of senses, Indian philosophers go beyond the sensory world. In pursuit of truth, both use technique of dialogue and dialectic. Ordinarily, 'dialogue' means 'conversation', 'discussion', 'exchange or interchange of ideas'. For Plato "dialogue is the dialectic, a skillfully directed technique of questioning". So he described the dialectician as "midwife tending us in the act, in the 'labour' of knowing".

The dictionary defines dialectic as a specialised "way of discovering what is true by considering opposite theories; a formal method of argument, in which new positions are reached by testing opposing views against one another" — to designate "the method of investigating the nature of truth by critical analysis of concepts and hypotheses".

In the west, the earliest use of the dialectical method is found in Plato. In his 'Dialogues', Plato arrives at truth through discussion in the form of questions and answers. Greek philosopher Aristotle thought of dialectic as the search for the philosophic basis of science, and he frequently used the term as synonym for the "science of logic".

Plato calls the written discourse as "dead discourse". First, because the written words, "seem to talk to you as though they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on telling you just the same thing forever".

The second reason for denouncing writing is that there is always a danger of the written word falling in the hands of undeserving persons. It does not know how to address the right people, and not address the wrong.

On the other hand, the "living speech," dialogue, resides in 'the soul of the learner; (it) can defend itself, and knows to whom should it speak and to whom it should say nothing'. Hence Plato prefers "living speech" –active dialogue over passive written composition or treatise, however reasoned it may be.

The presuppositions of a successful dialogue are first, there has to be at least one rival – contradictory or contrary – claim to knowledge as well as theory of knowledge being supported or opposed. Second, participants have to believe in the supremacy of reason and be ready without prejudice to go where it takes them. All participants are equal; there is no place for authority.

In authentic dialogue there is no place for an aapta vaakya – the absolute unassailable statement. There is also no place for an aapta purusha – an all-knowing person. Testimony and rigid mindset have no role in a dialogue. The underlying principle of the method of arriving at knowledge, or truth, through the method of dialogue and dialectic is the axiom that reason, the logos, guides us in our quest.


* Ashok Vohra wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The author is former professor of philosophy, Delhi University
This article was posted on May 14, 2017.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Tamu, Myanmar- Moreh border #2 :: Gallery
  • Changchapbou, Nampanliu :: eMing
  • State Inter School Archery :: Gallery
  • Condolence : demise of Rishang Keishing
  • Manipuri women and their tolerance
  • Career related to Climate Change
  • Musical- Where Have All The Flowers Gone
  • Career Counseling Seminar for Girls
  • Water everywhere but not a drop to drink
  • Will IM settlement be a betrayal to Manipur
  • Rongmei body demands shifting of Army
  • Women's League (Qualifying) #1 :: Gallery
  • Word Order in Manipuri Language
  • Mourning for Gurumayum Shyamsunder
  • Neglected..villagers built their own bridge
  • Of AFSPA and Common Man :: Poem
  • Job Opening at VITSOFTS, Canchipur
  • 19th Edition of IIT Techniche to start
  • 8th Western Angami A/C -NPF's Statement
  • Coming out against party hopping : Ibobi..
  • Blame game and you
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Krishna Janma @ISKCON :: Gallery
  • Natural Body Building #4 :: Gallery
  • The struggle so far...
  • Shadowy Lies :: Poem
  • Time for Modi to release all jailed militant..
  • Students, agitation & symptomatic treatment
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • A Political Messiah Has Come to Nagaland
  • Nungbi Khullen, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Protest in Kangpokpi District :: Gallery
  • Cirrhosis: Basics & laboratory diagnosis
  • Impact of television in rural development
  • The Echoing Hills :: Poem
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Nagaland CM respond to Dr. SL's bureau
  • Unauthorized CEC meeting
  • Student leaders detained for mobilizing ILPS
  • Earning our keeps
  • Meira Rally on Patriots' Day #2 :: Gallery
  • ... All The Flowers Gone? #2 :: Gallery
  • Shri Shri Govindaji Temple #1 :: 360 ° View
  • My Japanlan memoir after 4 score yrs
  • Traffic jam and 13th August
  • Manipur District Demand :: Articles / Photos
  • The Law is Mightier Than The Pen
  • Let the law decide
  • ...health insurance scheme for scribes
  • Absurd 1 Village, 1 Denomination decree
  • Singcha Wuya Won (flower) #3:: Gallery
  • Sunday Cup Football @Lamshang :: Gallery
  • Gurmayum Robert wins gold at World Event
  • Loktak Project & corporate unaccountability
  • Supremacy Of The Party :: NPF
  • Binding the wound: The district row
  • Admission Notice - AiTC, Imphal
  • 'Sexuality & Internet' at Digital Summit
  • Zeliang welcomed support from NPF Minority
  • NSU site and undue communal overtones
  • Tripartite Talk: GOI/GOM/UNC :: Gallery
  • Governor's Cup Fencing :: Gallery
  • 13 Aug @Kangla & BT Park :: Gallery
  • Bruce Dickinson: "son-rise" of Iron Maiden
  • Biren should learn from Mamata Banerjee
  • The globe is in your fist
  • AR I-Day festivities with Myanmar army
  • AR celebrates 71st Independence day
  • Unconstitutionality of TR Government
  • Stadium upgrade for I-League
  • NE film festival in Delhi from Aug 18
  • Myanmarese advised to follow traffic rules
  • The human torch and AFSPA
  • The real taste of Independence Day
  • Mission XI football @ Andro :: Gallery
  • Krishna Janma @ Mahabali :: Gallery
  • Blood Donation for 13 August:: Gallery
  • Mahabali Temple , Imphal :: 360 ° View
  • Graphic & plastic arts of Zeliangrong #3
  • Silence :: Poem
  • Sport Univ: Promises kept but corruption?
  • Job requirements at SKY Hospital
  • Jobs @ National Informatics Centre (NIC)
  • I-Day Celebration at BJP State Office
  • Meira Rally on Patriots' Day #1 :: Gallery
  • Patriots' Day @ Kolkata :: Gallery
  • 26th NAMA Convention Report, Houston, TX
  • Forming Plurals in Manipuri Language
  • Mammography and frequently ask question
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • NPF Office Bearers reaffirm support
  • DAN Co-ordination Meeting Resolutions
  • India and China: From rivalry to enmity
  • For better tomorrows
  • 13 August @Hicham Yaichampat :: Gallery
  • Patriots' Day @ Hojai, Assam :: Gallery
  • Protest: malpractices of MPSC :: Gallery
  • On MPSC scam & people defending it
  • 126th Patriots' Day observed in Delhi
  • 126th Patriots' Day observed in Hojai
  • Lajong U-12 to represent India in BRICS
  • Learn something from 2015 experience
  • The district creation headache
  • State Thang-Ta Competition :: Gallery
  • Search operation [Aug 12] :: Gallery
  • 13 August Patriots' Day : Read all about it
  • Thangal General : The Patriot
  • Proxy examination and Wrong politics
  • Women should not live in fear ....
  • Summer Thoughts :: Poem
  • NPF Youth serve Ultimatum to Rio
  • A slap on the face of Christianity
  • U-Morok @ Shirarakhong :: Gallery
  • Dangers of 'Trial by Media' & the MPSC
  • Is Culture of insensible activism taking root
  • Meiteilon never been Tibeto-Burman
  • Mechanized threshing of foodgrains #2
  • ZSUB Foundation Day, Fresher's Meeting
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Breaking the barrier
  • National Handloom Day @ GHY :: Gallery
  • Chirom Indira shine in hearts of NE Weavers
  • Investigate killings as ordered by SC
  • MSTC CMD met with CM of Manipur
  • Conspiracy behind the toppling game
  • Armed groups attack..a human right abuse
  • Drawing Competition at Khengjoi, Chandel
  • Save the indigenous people cry : Valley..
  • A matter need to ponder
  • Earthen wares of Ningthemcha Karong
  • Indigenous Wrestling @ SPT #2 :: Gallery
  • Awunching Biodiversity Park #3 :: 360 ° View
  • XXVIII State Thang-Ta Competition 2017
  • India's HLPF review of SDGs & Manipur
  • Robotics as career options
  • International Day of Indigenous People
  • Rejoinder Issued By Shurhozelie Liezietsu
  • Hard facts of political crisis (Nagaland)
  • Viewing through one's community
  • Darkening shadows of doubt
  • Ziumi village, Maram Landscape:: Gallery
  • Inter School Handball Tournament :: Gallery
  • The Proud Bamboo Tree :: Folk Tale
  • Populated Attitudes :: Poem
  • Marijuana, Mahadev and Maneka
  • Notice for MSc Biochemistry Admissions
  • Assam edition of NE India Fashion Week
  • Being different from Cong Govt
  • Cracking down on fraudulence
  • Hanuba-hanubi paan thaba :: Funga Wari
  • ... All The Flowers Gone? #1 :: Gallery
  • Need to bust racket running inside MPSC
  • Will PM Modi betray Assam in No ST, no rest
  • State Level Essay Writing Competition
  • RIST Condolence Function at MU
  • When we stumble and fall
  • Customer Care Executive @ basicP, Imphal
  • Petition for Disqualification of 10 MLAs
  • Cracking down on fraudulence
  • Rape of small newspaper
  • Landscape of Ukhrul District #2:: Gallery
  • Jhulon Nupi Pala Phamsak :: Gallery
  • TR is CM by technicality sans Legality
  • One Day in Heaven :: Poem
  • Libraries Vs Google: Are we heading there
  • ..for electrical distribution rearrangement
  • Lessons to learn from CCpur: public hygiene
  • Angaoba Film Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • The dawn of cricket in Manipur
  • Lumbini Leikolda Shat-houba Leirang
  • Workshop on MU Reservations held
  • Job posting at C-DAC Silchar
  • Indigenous Wrestling @ SPT #1 :: Gallery
  • Tourist Watch Tower, Khongjom #4 :: 360 °
  • Admission for B.Ed at Manipur University
  • A village called Nbena :: Book Review
  • Employment Generating Hands on Skill
  • Unnatural death of Sainik School student
  • Confession
  • Nongbrang, bank of Thoubal River :: Gallery
  • Pukpha Fest @Tamenglong :: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram at UN, NYC : 1 Aug
  • Free Computer Course by KEN @ Imphal
  • Ishu : Feature Film in Assamese :: Review
  • Battle Of Khongjom & Manipuris in 1891 #3
  • Photography: Career through lenses
  • Mega Marathon Manipur : Download Form
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • Singcha Wayawon opening #2:: Gallery
  • 1st Mao Market day @Nagamapal:: Gallery
  • ILP : Students protest [27 July] :: Gallery
  • Ethoi Oinam (Actress) #2 :: eRang Photos
  • Echum Lairembi, Khurkhul #3:: Gallery
  • Tapta :: Funga Wari
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #3 :: Gallery
  • Lai Khong Chingba @Thangjing #4
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #5 : Ooba
  • SPONSORED ADS