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Hannah Barlow CAS 201 Dr. Sutton 25th January 2012 Vocabulary Word: Dialectic Some say Aristotle.

Others say Plato. Either way in Ancient Greece, someone came to the conclusion that in order to find a truth one must put together a series of logical arguments in order to support their claim. It is this logic that enhanced the ability of one to persuade, formulate, and defend ideas. The Greeks liked to call this dialectic. To put it in simple terms, dialectic is logic, according to Plato and Aristotle (Keith, 6). It has also been described as using rigorous syllogistic logic to approach probable truths in questions about human affairs and philosophy that do not lend themselves to absolute certainty (Bizzell, 4). Although Aristotle is known as the developer of the dialectic form, Plato is also considered a fashioner. Together they recognised dialectic as a rigorous form of argumentative dialogue between experts (Bizzell, 31) making it very strategic and powerful. Aristotle, however, believed that absolute truth is available only through scientific demonstration (Bizzell, 31) unlike Platos belief that just sought out the absolute truth not knowing where it came from or the evidence to support it. Therefore, Aristotle was the driving force behind this rigid rhetoric style, especially since dialectic does not play any role in the discovery of absolute truth (Bizzell, 31) thus can [only] test whether absolute truth has been achieved (Bizzell, 31). So, although Aristotle and Plato had the same ideas, Aristotle believed it was the evidence, and how that was conveyed, in supporting a claim, argument, or notion that determined its plausibility. As stated above, Plato wanted absolute truth -the answer to any question- whereas Aristotle wanted the method to receive or discover the absolute truth. He was interested

mainly in scientific demonstration and the analysis of formal logic (Bizzell, 170). This is described as empirical (Bizzell, 170) and goes hand in hand with rhetoric, according to Aristotle. Dialectic and rhetoric are not opposites but mutually complementary and necessary counterparts; logic requires persuasion, and persuasion requires logic (Keith, 6). Dialectic is one major method in Aristotles view of human inquiry [that deals] with subjects on which true knowledge is not available (Bizzell, 170), the other being rhetoric. As a ferociously analytical form of argument, dialectic is understandable to those with the capacity to process such information and those that are considered experts in the field and share the amount of knowledge being expressed; otherwise, it requires rhetoric to make it more understandable to the masses. It is dialectic that is used to persuade people using logical expression, thus a difficult concept to grasp. Not everyone can utilise dialectic very well, or even at all. Dialectic arrives at probable knowledge (what Plato called belief) in disciplined academic inquiry that allows for rigorous questioning of premises and testing of conclusions (Bizzell, 170). Then, and only then, can one actually determine whether the truth given absolute and exact. Back in Ancient Greece, much alike today, dialectic would have been used in court cases, where the demonstration of oral evidence was the key to innocence or guilt. Using logic, one may be able to prove their innocence much more effectively than if they neglected to use logic and just procured words with little substance. Although used even today, dialectic would have had more of an effect back then when physical evidence was very hard to come by, since they did not have forensics teams or federal investigators. Therefore, the force of words on an audience of people would have been far more powerful than today. However, it must not be ignored that words can maintain a certain level of confidence in a person if you are willing them to. It is amazing how powerful words still are in our materialistic and visual-fact-needing world.

While observing the modern world, dialectic is used in surprising places. When looking at our marketing industry, every person is inspired and encouraged to persuade a sale. Car commercials, for example, do not simply state this is the best car ever; you should totally buy it! Why, because there is insufficient evidence to back up the claim. In contrast, if the commercial then states how many miles per gallon the car can make, thus making it more economical and lighter on your pocket, and if it received a top safety rating, making it far more safe for you and your loved ones, a customer is more likely to choose the vehicle. In this example, the writers have provided enough logical evidence to support their two claims, therefore, making their claims more believable, which, according to Aristotle, is the goal of dialectic and a fantastic way of persuasion or rhetoric.

MLA Citations Bizzell, Patricia, and Bruce Herzberg, ed. The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present. 2 ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 2001. Print.

Keith, William M. and Christian O. Lundberg. The Essential Guide to Rhetoric. Boston & New York: Bedford/ St. Martins Press, 2008. Print.