Simple Explanation Of Hegelian Dialectic Method

Hegel is considered as one of the hardest philosophers to read, and it is not rare case for people to say that this is not because what Hegel said is hard to understand or because his writing was bad, but that actually what Hegel wrote was nonsense.
It is easy really to point to some quotes from his works taken out of the context, and say… Look, the person who said this, was surely talking nonsense. After all, would any sensible person say such thing as “Pure Being and pure nothing, are therefore, the same” or that “They are (i.e. being and nothing) in this unity (i.e. becoming) but only as vanishing, sublated moments. They sink from their initially imagined self-subsistence to the status of moments, which are still distinct but at the same time are sublated”? Those two are quotes taken from the first part of Hegel’s Science of Logic.  How can one argue that two different things which every person knows are different, are in fact same? And what is that talk about “sublating”?

Here, I will give something that might not be named an example, but maybe better named an analogy of the dialectic method of Hegel.

The analogy would work with the notions of “Left” and “Right”.
Let’s analyze those notions as abstractions. When we think of Left as something immediate (as Hegel uses the term), it marks let’s say half of the space (or line which is in front of us, etc..), and Right as something immediate marks the other half of the space (or line, or whatever). But if we take now those half-spaces, or half-lines by themselves, or if we limit our thinking just to those abstractions (this is important), we can figure out that there is ideal symmetry between them.  There is nothing that distinguishes them internally. The half-space that we named Left can be Right, and the half-space that we named Right can be also Left.

It is in this abstract symmetry where different notions become equal. (or more general produce a contradiction of some kind)

But for sure Left and Right as notions are not equal, they have different meaning. So, we are brought to a contradiction, they are different, but also they are equal. This is the important moment in the dialectical movement. Two different abstract notions are taken, and it is shown how in their abstract symmetry they are equal. However pointing to this contradiction is not an end in itself. Hegel is not defending contradictions, the next step he takes in this dialectical movement is to resolve the contradiction.

The resolution is based on really simple principle – if the distinction between two universals is not in them taken alone, then their difference is something outside of them.

So, let’s return to the notions of Right and Left. We might say that what is determined as Left and what is determined as Right depends on the position of the observer. But if we try to specify the observer by a point, it won’t make much difference. Still there is the symmetry between Right and Left. We need vertical observer. But even if we imagine observer as short vertical line on the edge between Left and Right, still there is perfect symmetry. Even if we name one of the sides of the observer-line as Top, and the other as Bottom, still there is perfect symmetry between Right and Left. It is when additionally to Top/Bottom we also have observer with Front/Back where the symmetry is broken.

So, we come to conclusion that the Left/Right distinction starts to make sense only in the whole new notion of Vertical-Observer- With-Bottom-and-Top -and-Front-and-Back-Sides- Who-Is-Existing-In-Space. OK, this is one silly named universal, but we can understand what Hegel means by “sublated” now. Hegel says as explanation for this term:

To sublate has a twofold meaning in the language: on the one hand it means to preserve, to maintain, and equally it also means to cause to cease, to put an end to. Even ‘to preserve’ includes a negative elements, namely, that something is removed from its influences, in order to preserve it. Thus what is sublated is at the same time preserved; it has only lost its immediacy but is not on that account annihilated.

So, in this case Left and Right are sublated. “They sink from their initially imagined self-subsistence to the status of moments” of the new wealthier silly-named concept.

So, what Hegel tries to do through this method, is to show a structure of universals, in which the “lower” ones are sublated in the higher and richer ones, arguing that former have their truth and meaning only as moments in the later. One can easily see that Hegelian philosophy is holistic, and that it denies that abstract universals have truth in themselves isolated from the whole. He tries to show that each of those concepts taken as having determinate meaning in itself necessarily will produce contradictions.

56 thoughts on “Simple Explanation Of Hegelian Dialectic Method

  1. It’s not just ordinary people who think Hegel is talking crazy, professional philosophers do too. For example Caird writes “But the height of audacity in serving up pure nonsense, in stringing together senseless and extravegant mazes of words, such as had previously known only in madhouses, was finally reached in Hegel, and became the instrument of the most bare-faced general mystification that has ever taken place, with a result which will appear fabulous to prosterity, and will remain as a monument to German stupidity.”

  2. Thank you, this seems about right. A few questions:

    1. Where’s that definition of Aufheben (“to sublate”) from? The beginning of the Logic?
    2. What’s a “moment”? (I know what I *want* it to mean, but …).
    3. What’s the difference between “abstract negation” and “determinate negation” (and which one is the “negative of the negative”? I keep getting them mixed up)?
    4. Do you think this general idea – that of overcoming conceptual dualisms via Aufhebung – can be detached (ie so that we can use it) from the rest of the Hegelian system (which I can’t use)?

    1. Hey I can simplify it in a fools language-You say “either” and I say “either”
      You say “neither” I say “neither”
      “Either” “either”, “neither” “neither”
      Let’s call the whole thing off
      You say “potato,” I say “patattah”
      You say “tomato”, I say “creole tomata”
      Oh, let’s call the whole thing off

  3. Hi Dave, thanks for the questions.
    1. Yes, the quote is from Hegel’s Logic, from the part about Becoming
    2. Hegel names both of sublated notions to be moments of the new wealthier notion. For him the new notion is “more true” then those sublated notions(moments). I tend to think of them as abstractions from that new notion.
    3. As for his usage of concrete vs. abstract negation, I think “concrete negation (of X)” would be not merely dismissing of the X (which would be abstract negation, where there would be no difference in result when one dismisses e.g. X, Y or Z), but where the result is a new notion, which is negation of X, but also contains it, as a moment.
    4. I think that the general idea can be used unconnected to other parts of Hegel’s system, and I think I kind of tend to use it that way. As I don’t understand lot of things about Hegel’s system (in part I use the writing on this blog as a way to better that understanding,as writing makes you consider lot of things which one might just glance over when reading), but those ideas that I do, seem to me very nice, and usable by themselves. For example in earlier posts (here and here) I wrote about how number as aggregate can be better seen as number as ratio, and that way of looking presents not just comprehensible account of things like 1=0.99(9), but also presents good base of relating math to physical world as measurements take form of ratios.

    BTW, I’m puzzled about two things you said:
    1.You said “I know what I want them to mean” for moments. Can you say more?
    2.You said that there is parts that you can’t use. Can you say more about this also?

  4. I should probably blog about my attitude toward Hegel (as you say, blogging on something helps one fix one’s views about things), rather than dropping a big treatise in your comment box. But I’ll give short answers to your questions (seeing as you answered mine, it’s the least I can do).

    I’ll start with the second one. I’m looking for a good way to explain how to overcome the dualism of subject and object (as manifested in contemporary realism and anti-realism). Hegel seems concerned with the same issue, and Hegelian “sublation” looks like it might help. But in general Hegel [n.b. as should be obvious, I don’t know that much about him] seems too 1) obsessively systematic (deriving the whole business a priori from the very idea of pure indeterminate Being; no thanks), and 2) teleological (though I’m less sure about this one). In any case I’m not interested in defending Hegel (or Brandom!) against idealist or Romantic criticism, just to get a cool anti-dualist gadget I might be able to get somewhere else. Not if all that other stuff comes with it.

    As for the first question, I simply meant that I thought I knew what “moment” means, and if it means that, great, but if it means something else, then I might just be back at square one (in which case the heck with it). But what you say sounds like what I was thinking (except I might prefer to speak of “aspects” rather than “abstractions” – but that may just be the Wittgensteinian in me talking).

  5. Dave,

    Yes, one of the central ideas of Hegel’s system is removing the dichotomy between subject and object, or as I guess Hegel would prefer, between notion and the thing.
    However, the result is in the form of Absolute Idealism, where there is nothing else but notion(s), or as much there are things, those are not distinguished from their notions.

    BTW, starting from the indeterminate Being, as I understand it, is important in his system partly because of that. Namely because the dialectics is started with Being as most abstract (and empty) notion, it is sublated and appears as moment in all the “higher” notions, making them more then mere subjective thoughts.
    So to say, by including the Being, in all those, Hegel tries to remove the distinction between what is, and what is thought.

  6. I wish I actually understood philosphy, maybe that’s because I’m too young to comprehend things about the world, like God, and Nature, etc, the metaphysical world and reality, alas, I don’t iknow

    1. Naivety is not a direct constitute of youth (it would all depend on your social conditioning, parents, peers and education/indoctrination) There are many who are young wiser than the old and many old wiser than the young.

      Some really great pocket-sized books that would really help in understanding of all-sorts of topics within philosophy (and related subjets) for beginers and experts in helping to clarify things are at (Not available in the USA. I’m in UK/Britain.

  7. Hegel used the German word Geist (Spirit or Reason) to refer to the world considered as a thinking thing. The history of the world is the story of Geist developing self-consciousness. It is the story of reason (basically, the minds of human beings) coming to reason (discovering truths, becoming more rational and reasonable in our beliefs and our behavior). It is the story of scientific and political progress. This progress is not smooth but dialectical. That is to say, it moves like a productive philosophical dialogue in which person A states some partial truth, person B states the opposite (which is also partly true), and then the truth (combining elements of both ideas) comes out. There is a kind of logical inevitability about this progress, but we see it only in retrospect. The job of philosophy is to describe the direction of movement that is already underway.

    1. Hey Jamaal,
      Your explanation seems to me the simplest and most insightful one I have ever come across. If you don’t mind, could you expand on how consciousness is determined according to Hegel.

  8. Too hard to understand!!!!!
    Can u explain it more in a laymans language.
    Just like what it is given in books.

  9. hey guys i have a question… how does the hegelian dialectic take place in our individual search for meaning? i can’t understand it Im 17 years old only…

    1. The hegelian dialectic takes place in all search for learning. Its an individual enhancement of learning truth through the joining of untruths, so yes its used when we search for meaning because its prevalent in all realizations of truth.

  10. I actually like your explanation. It help me to resolve some confusions I had on the subject.
    My conclusion is that he did get it wrong but this doesn’t stop us from reviewing and reaching better truths. His and I repeat his own truths are his truths which were truth to him. We can contemplate his idea or concepts as a philosophy and strive to attain his level of understanding but we have little guarantee that it is a step up from where you and I have already risen too.

    > Whether we call it left or right, is a viewpoint from where you are standing. You have a choice of three:
    a) part of left,
    b) part of right or
    c) be part of both.
    The latter one opens a whole new can of worms, because it elevates us above data and observations and with that we get onto a level where we can’t rule out creating data. We move from effect view to cause view.
    In order to create data we require space, time and energy. Now the primary substance of this universe is Time, Space, Energy and condensed energy which is objects.
    I hope I haven’t lost you yet but here comes my final bit to create data we require a mind and this makes the mind senior to time, Space, Energy and objects.
    if Mind is over Matter, we have to assume that we are creating, altering our surroundings, so where are we now?

    But most importantly, what can we do with that? – and we can do a hell of a lot with that!

    P.S. What is lacking is the practicality of his thesis, in my opinion, and it is all good and fine to contemplate life from an Ivory tower but living tells the real story. If you get hit by a heavy pain and can still maintain that a certain truth is true I’d say you should share your truth with us because it has value for us all.

  11. I’m trying to think of what the antithetic opposite of hegel’s philosopy might be. Does he claim anywhere that he is the synthesis?

  12. Perhaps an antithesis for Hegel is divine revelation a la Christian theism (general and special), this however is an antithesis that allows no synthesis. The most internally consistent forms of Christian theism deal with universals and particulars ontologically and analogically. It is protected from the general trend in philosophy to either monism or atomism, where either particulars are swallowed whole in systems that deny universals, or universals are chopped to bits in systems that say there are no pieces. Does it make sense to deal with non-being in abstraction? Why not consider being analogically? Hegel’s assertions assume a lot, for instance how it is the we might make inquiry of the universal to begin with, i.e. what are the neccessary preconditions explaining the thought as a tool of inquiry? Where does language come from? How does meaning transcend words and is yet mediated by them? Such concepts are consistently dealt with within an explicitly Trinitarian framework, which considers all that there is in the cosmos to be a created reality, which is revalatory in nature; as such it speaks of God, with human kind as a special speach-act of God. Thought, language, meaning, love proceed ontologically from God to His creation.

    1. Damn, what am I reading here?

      its googlegoo.or googlegaa…

      Does Hegel have an answer to this I wonder?

      If halve right is halve left, then halve left must be halve right. So what is halve center =1/4=middle?

      that’s metaphorical speaking ;)

  13. can understand these dialetical method,
    A) is it similar to the socratic dialogues if not
    b) what are the difference between socratic dialogue and the dialetical method of hegel?

    1. The Socratic method of discourse is vastly superior in that it invites scrutiny , not negation and cooperation. Read Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place” which has Holmes solving a case by eliciting information, clarifying information, rooting out faulty assumptions or faulty points of view and testing and discarding suppositions until he reaches the truth. You’ll never go back.

  14. Mr. Tanas, you failed to communicate or impart any knowledge. If you truly thought you were making this simple, you are more naive than arrogant.

    1. This is David R again. YOU KNOW, I really do not understand why people have so much trouble understanding the DIALECTICAL METHOD.

      I was reinterduced to it in the 1980s on a TV Phlosophy course. The woman prof did an unforgetable job with the Hegalian Dialectic.

      I see this as a MEANS TO INTRODUCE totally NEW ideas INTO SPACE_TIME.

      It goes SIMPLY like this: for any THESIS I have someone else can produce an ANTITHESIS that is just as “correct” and just as “logical” as mine. BUT WHERE IS THE “ultimate TRUTH??? What is it that UNITES these two totally OPPOSED ideas?

      One cannot take the Thesis and Antithesis and mathematically manipulate them to get an AVERAGE LOL. And then say THAT IS IT.

      The Hagallian Dialectic consists of three things: THESIS, ANTITHESIS ……and SYNTHESIS. Think of it as an Isosoleas triangle with the THESIS and ANTITHESIS here in Space-Time and the SYNTHESIS in the Zero Point Energy Conciousness Field.

      The Space-Time continium consists of PAIRS OF OPPOSITTES. If something does not consist of this DIPOLAR structure “it will not be here Your brain cells RIGHT NOW are full of CHEMICAL PAIRS OF OPPOSITES as you read this. When those chemical dipoles are no longer functioning inside you (YOU ARE DEAD)Any THING “BROUGHT UP here will produce its OPPOSITE including IDEAS

      The ZPECF has no PAIRS of OPPOSITES everything is united , one and good there.

      In the ZPECF there is a SYNTHESIS for every PAIR OF OPPOSITES that exists here and every HUMAN BEING.

      When you discover the SYNTHESIS for your THESIS (antithesis is always suggested…if not by you; by the continium of Space-Time) then you have introduced a TOTALLY NEW “thing” into Space-Time. This is how new ideas, art, feelings science ENTERS Space-ime

      To obtain the SYNTHESIS requires “INCUBATION ” in the mind of the person. One way is to SLEEP ON IT. (e.g. Einstein asked a friend of Rollo May: “Why do I get my best ideas in the morning when I am shaving/LOL)”

    2. Thanks, appreciate that great explaination. I’ve been trying to get a grasp of this from other sources, but they typically like to show off their IQ with confusing descriptions. Yours helped and broke it down in simple terms, thanks

      1. Glad to be of assistance. Remember; this Dialectical device links with many relations between Space-Time and the Zero Point Continium (Heaven….). Always thinking ON IMPORTANT MATTERS with Thesis, Antithesis and looking for the Synthesis is important.


    1. You need to take several courses in Philosophy and a Graduate degree ….yhen think about this Hegalian Method. REALLY. DRR


    2. Alright then……most people would say that the Hegelian Dialectic Method of reasoning is NONSENSE because most people have never even heard of it. Indeed if you have not completed a Graduate level degree (MA MS Ph.d…..MD) you never had to deal with THESIS….ANTHETHESIS….SYNTHESIS. Now REGARDLESS of your level of education it should be obvious to you that the continium we live in SPACE-TIME ofconsists of PAIRS OF OPPOSITES. We have the fundamental GOOD/EVIL….physical reality UP/DOWN….NORTH/SOUTH…..POSITIVE/NEGATIVE and so on. Now one thing that is not obvious to the GREATEST MASS ofthe people is that IDEAS also by nessecity consist of PAIRS OF OPPOSITES. At least that is the way it is here on earth in the Space-Time continium. For any IDEA (Thesis) a logical (Antithesis) is IMMEDIATELY SUGGESTED. At least for those who do not think the Hegalian Dialectic is NONSENSE. Most people upon hearing ANYTHING will decide that what they have heard is TRUE or FALSE and dismiss any further investigation. How egotisical and stupid can we be!!!!!???? THEY HAVE NOT HEARD THE OTHER SIDE AT ALL!!! This may be difficult for you to realize>>>>>but if there is a HEAVEN or a Zero Point Energy Conciousness field then THERE IN THAT so called ETERNAL CONTINIUIM there are NO PAIRS OF OPPOSITES. IN the ZPECF everything is UNITED and ONE. THE TRUTH that binds the antithesis and thesis OR TWO WARRING PARTIES IS THERE in HEAVEN. When we look at the THESIS……..ANTITHESIS….SYNTHESIS TRIANGLILARCONSTRUCT is it notlogical that here in Space-Time (because of the nature of this PLACE ) we always have DIPOLES. In the ZPECF we always have UNITY and THE SYNTHESIS THAT STOPS THE WAR BETWEEN any thesis and antithesis constructed here on earth??? One does not obtain TRUTH by simply THROWING out the THESIS or the ANTITHESIS. What is so darn hard to understand about THIS???? David R.


      1. You do not have to have a degree in philosophy or any form of recommendation form some unit of education/indoctrination to have a large degree of understanding in various topics/ideas encountered within such thinking. (I learnt “basically” what the Hegelian dialectic was by reading a short, but brilliantly written book from a local library). (Why someone philosophizes is normally due to reasons within their upbringing/conditioning. That is why many people, often viewed as social outcasts by the elite and the majority(fools?), are actually in better social and philosophical positions due to forms of illness–producing pros and cons–and a more objective standpoint because of the lack/little indoctrination from instruments of power such as “education” and lack of peer pressure).
        Some of the best minds in history/philosophy disowned “education” and the academic teaching of philosophy and had normally discriminated against connotations (illness and different views of norms. “Eccentricities”).
        People from Wittgenstein, Schopenhauer, Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Nietzsche, Newton, Freud, Russell and many more, were detractors of the complete specialization and institutionalism of philosophy. As it does a lot more to suppress its effects than any form of political terror or religious dogma.
        Wittgenstein, one of the most prominent philosophers of the 20th century, came to regard the academic teaching of philosophy as “completely useless”.
        Philosophy moved more out of the public domain in the early-mid 20th century. It has become stupidly specialized within sectors of education and as a result the general public have very ignorant interpretations of what “philosophy” is.
        And by the way, Hegel’s influence upon much of later philosophical thought is rather unwarranted. It is rather annoying that he is still held in such high esteem, while one of his many detractors and a contemporary of his (Arthur Schopenhauer) had a much better outlook/view of the world. And his misanthropic atheistic view of existence, driven by blind will (self-preservation) makes a lot of sense. (although you may not “want” to think so).
        His ideas have been “polished”, refined and expanded upon and have had a lot of influence upon the better people in philosophy including Nietzsche, Freud, Wittgenstein, Einstein, many in psychology and psycoanalysis and many others of high esteem.
        If “I” was “you”, I would detract from holding Hegel and his dialectic in high esteem, pick up a Bertrand Russell book (along with many, many other books) and revise your thinking of educational systems.
        “Always entertain your opinions with a measure of doubt. Question yourself beliefs/thinking everyday”.

      2. Sir: If you do not realize the CONTINIUM in which you are trapped and have to deal with you will never be able to THINK at ALL. I mention the actuality of being intiated into the knowelege of this CONTINIUM by completing a degree above the basic college degree because very few other avenues will give you this REALIZATION.   You and I and everyone here in Space-Time is TRAPPED in a CONTINIUM that conststs of PAIRS OF OPPOSITTES. The ultimate such pair from a ethical/moral and every other consideration is (GOOD/EVIL). There are of course others (Male/female, Yin/Yang, Positive/negative………on ansd on. This situation LIMITS YOUR FREE THOUGHT.   The Continium in which you live , draw breath and think and feel CONSISTS OF PAIRS OF OPPOSITTES. When you are required to produce a THESIS for a Graduate Degree you are required to DEAL WITH THE NATURE OF THE CONTINIUM in which you live and THINK BEYOND IT. You must submit a THESIS and then formulate the LOGICAL ANTITHESIS to your THESIS. From that point on INCUBATION is required in your mind for you to FIND the SYNTHESIS that brings the PAIRS OF OPPOSITTES (your THESIS and the ANTITHESIS) into a RELATIONSHIP where the n ature of our continium is SUPERCEDED and something TOTALLY NEW enters it from the ETERNAL CONTINBIUM .   In asense you MAKE PEACE between the Thesis/Antithesis pair HERE IN SPACE-TIME and by so doing bring something TOTALLY NEW and DEVINE into our Continium   If you cannot see the LMITATION that beining in a Continium that consists of PAIRS OF OPPOSITTES p;roduces on your ablikty to THINK then you will never think.   David

      3. And your “fundamentals”, subjective by the way. Just as most ethics is and most peoples opinions on all-sorts from facts to overly metaphysical nonsense.
        Desire is what causes people to believe anything. So as Hegel’s dialectic sounds rather positive and interesting, you will wish to believe it on that basis and reject anything that seems negative (to you) or goes against your views, which you have due to your, most likely, almost uncontrollable conditioning from parents, peers and your beloved education (which gave you your supposed degrees and qualifications). Or so I think. (Subjective remember).

      4. I do not want to be incredibly critical (by reading your other comments I can infer that you are a lot older than myself and therefore, probably have more experience. But I am a rather cynical, iconoclastic misanthropist).
        But completing a degree above basic college level is by no means the only way of being “initiated” into “this continium”.
        As I stated, some of the best men in history never completed anything of the sort, that you desire for people, to have “knowledge” on this and other topics.

        I am in no position to say which one of us is in “the delusion”. (How are you suppose to know whether you are indoctrinated or not) But you would be also “trapped” if your “education” shaped the majority of your thought.

        And also, many people across the world would not realise the “continium” as you say, but they still “think”. Just in a more mundane way and about more mundane matters.
        I think it is rather obvious that we are in different “schools of philosophical thought”,and so I may think of much of Hegel as rather nonsensical and you may not. (But does it really matter, especially if the world is “meaningless or “absurd” and human existence is finite)
        Many avenues will give you the “realization” you so seek. You just need to find them. You could gain a huge understanding of philosophy and other topics by reading many, many books and in discourse with others (+self-contemplation). It may be more “boring” in your view but what I am basically getting at, is that although you may need education from institutions, because it is required by them and other institutions of power etc…But you can still gain sufficient education outside of such institutions that you think are required for such “realizations”. But, of course, those institutions may not recognise such knowledge, as it is not the knowledge they require of you, so they may try and judge, and then try and place you where they, and others, would wish.

      5. Get rid of your EGO and maybe you WILL SEE. I did not say that a advanced degree was THE ONLY WAY. Get rid of your ego trappings and maybe we can have a discussion.

        Good Bye and Good luck, i AM NOT HERE TO ARGUE.

      6. Also……if you do not understand what I AM WRITING …….why do you not ask for CLARIFICATION????   I will tell you why: YOUR PONDEROUS EGO will not allow you too… Ha Ha.  I am very willing to explain anything i WRITE OR SAY.  You are not .

  15. Define “nonsense” and apply your definition to what you are talking about. Then explain why.
    David R

  16. Hegel is not hard to understand. An example of what can happen if one does not THINK and use the Hegelian dialectic is the INVENTION OF THE DEVIL by Zoroaster in Persia around 2000 BC.

    This world, Universe, Space-Time continuum consists of PAIR OF OPPOSITES. You will never find a magnetic MONOPOLE here because everything consists in pairs (Yin/Yang Positive/Negative……Male /Female….on and on ) here. In Heaven there are no pairs of opposites, there everything is ONE.

    Zoroaster decided since everything on earth has an opposite that God also has an opposite. THIS IS FLAWED logic . God is NOT IN THE UNIVERSE (earth). The UNIVERSE is a SUBSET of God., God made the UNIVERSE. Therefore God does not have an opposite, since God is not a subset of the UNIVERSE .Therefore the idea of the Devil as God’s opposite cannot be true.

    This INVENTION of the Devil by Zoroaster was taken back to Israel when the Jew’s were released from the Babalonian captivity. And later the Devil became part of Christianianty which was an offshoot of Judism

    There LOGICALLY is no reason for a Devil to exist since God is not constrained like everything and everyone else on earth as one of a pair of opposites. That said there is still a possibility of a Devil. As C.Jung said there are no devils except in the hearts of men.

    Any thought you may have has a COMPLEMENTARY opposite an ANTIthought. You can always construct the Antithesis from the Thesis. It is not always necessary to go into EVERY thought you have this way. But, on important matters a LOOK at the antithesis is a good practice.

    Once you know both the Thesis and the Antithesis then by a process called incubation (best done by SLEEPING ON IT) the Synthesis may become known to you.

    The Hegelian Dialectic reasoning method can be visualized as a triangle with the Thesis and Antithesis at opposite points on the bottom, and the Synethesis at the top apex of the triangle.

    Interestingly enough this visualization is an analog to the differences between here (earth, the UNIVERSE) and there (HEAVEN.) Here we have pairs of opposites (Thesis and Antithesiis) There everything is ONE/UNITED (the Synethesis) .

    Another interesting thing is that you might say that the Synethesis brings PEACE between the warring Thesis and Antithesis . Sounds like HEAVEN and EARTH again does it not?


  17. So, as Laozi had said thousands of years before Hegel: opposites mutually arise? It really seems like that’s all he’s saying. Opposing notions (i.e. abstract extremes or opposing sides in a concrete situation, e.g. the political left and right) exist and are defined relative to each other, so they depend upon each other for definition.

    The “synthesis” seems to be analogous to taking, say, a 2D spatial system and tacking on a 3rd dimension such that the previous two can be seen to overlap or occupy the same space. Previously, while limited to a 2D system, they would’ve seemed to diverge or occupy separate spaces. This is somewhat reminiscent of “Flatland.”

    They don’t seem like new ideas, but it’s interesting the way that Hegel put them together. That said, his writing leaves much to be desired, even taking the time period into account.

    1. Is that all he’s saying!? I don’t have a formal education in philosophy but I felt like this was nigh-impossible to understand as there are words used in ways I’ve not encountered before.

      Laozi’s writing was considerably more concise!

  18. So, as Laozi had said thousands of years before Hegel: opposites mutually arise? It really seems like that’s all he’s saying. Opposing notions (i.e. abstract extremes or opposing sides in a concrete situation, e.g. the political left and right) exist and are defined relative to each other, so they depend upon each other for definition.

    The “synthesis” seems to be analogous to taking, say, a 2D spatial system and tacking on a 3rd dimension such that the previous two can be seen to overlap or occupy the same space. Previously, while limited to a 2D system, they would’ve seemed to diverge or occupy separate spaces. This is somewhat reminiscent of “Flatland.”

    They don’t seem like new ideas, but it’s interesting the way that Hegel put them together. That said, his writing leaves much to be desired, even taking the time period into account.

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