Di`a*lec"tics(?), n. [L. dialectica (sc. ars), Gr. (sc. ): cf. F. dialectique.] That branch of logic which teaches the rules and modes of reasoning; the application of logical principles to discursive reasoning; the science or art of discriminating truth from error; logical discussion.
Dialectics was defined by Aristotle to be the method of arguing with probability on any given problem, and of defending a tenet without inconsistency. By Plato, it was used in the following senses:
1. Discussion by dialogue as a method of scientific investigation.
2. The method of investigating the truth by analysis.
3. The science of ideas or of the nature and laws of being -- higher metaphysics. By Kant, it was employed to signify the logic of appearances or illusions, whether these arise from accident or error, or from those necessary limitations which, according to this philosopher, originate in the constitution of the human intellect.
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