This book introduces the reader to dialectical reasoning. This is a kind of reasoning that is found in sources from different regions and different times, from ancient East Asia and Greece to modern Europe and the contemporary world.
The sources focused on in Dialectical Thinking are four: Zeno, Socrates, Kant, and Marx. There are also appendices on Karl Popper and the Frankfurt School.
This book is written in the belief that dialectical thought is understandable and relevant to many kinds of persons. One does need to have a degree in philosophy to be moved by the great dialecticians. One may even be a dialectician without academic training.
Dialectics have many different uses. This territory has not been exhausted by the great names. Despite this, dialectical reasoning is not something ambiguous or mystical. It does not simply keep changing its shape. Rather it has a formal core which is stable through the fluctuations of history. Two things typify dialecticians. First, they think in contradictions, exposing paradoxes and problems in places where their hearers are not accustomed to seeing these. Second, they are self-conscious in their operations, making of creative or critical thought not only a means to something external but also an end of it own.
In a nutshell, dialectics are always about the dynamics of the self. This is the central topic that draws together so many minds from different backgrounds.
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Tommi Juhani Hanhijärvi holds a PhD in Philosophy from Humboldt University in Berlin and has an M.A. in Philosophy and History. He previously published the book Socrates’ Criteria and has written on Plato as well. He is also a pseudonymous fiction author. Dr. Hanhijärvi teaches at Helsinki University.
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