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Dialectical Method

The prominence of the dialectical method of discussion in the field of Philosophy owes much of its credit to Socrates and Plato. This method is discussed in this article in detail.

Various forms of Dialects

Classical philosophy

Dialectic in Classical philosophy is denoted as a form of discussion that takes place between two entities; it is the logical reasoning and a form of a method through which the introduction of proposition and counter proposition is practised while the main aim of the debate remains the same, that is reaching an objective truth through this course. Much of the prestige and role is deserved by the classical philosophers Socrates and Plato in the evolution of the Dialectic method. 

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Socrates Dialectic method

Through the Socratic dialectic method, we know that his form of dialogue is a bit different from normal discussions. His method is also known as a method of elenchus, which means that during the discussion, there is no counter-argument for the opposite view instead just a series of questions, and answering these questions can sometimes help us reflect regarding the false belief and arguments that the group or the individual is proposing if they deviate as well as start contradicting themselves.

While the constructive part of this method is that if the discussion is on the right track, it helps in searching for the truth and the correct answers more deeply. It is important to remember that contradiction to one’s point does not bring us to the truth or the correct answer that we are finding.

For example, if people are discussing the subject of happiness, the entity Y carries forward the discussion and puts forward his point if you start questioning him simply and, in his answers, back to you if the Entity Y contradicts himself, we know that the point is wrong and at the same time this wrong point by no means will serve us with the right definition. 

Thus, Socrates’ Dialectic method is about searching the truth and reaching the true knowledge with a series of discussions and questions being asked on that discussion, which aids in clarifying the definition and discussion. Thus, it is about reaching truth with short, direct answers to questions.  

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There is another such approach towards Dialectic, one which is observed in ‘the republic’. Through this method, an argumentative, as well as questioning, becomes the series but other than this, it works on the formula of an idea giving birth to another idea or for that matter, there is a base of discussion or topic which is already there and through discussions and further counter questioning other blocks and ideas are added to the foundation.

The truth or the real definition is searched for. From the first laid principle, the inquiry builds many other aspects, which later showcase the multitudes of ideas incorporated together, depicting the unity in a multitude manner. 


Mediaeval philosophy

In mediaeval philosophy, it is noted that the dialect takes a degree of steps to form one; some of these steps are: 

  • The question that is to be determined 
  • A satisfactory foundational answer to the question
  • Arguments in favour of the answer 
  • The authority usually decides arguments against the answer that is provided. 
  • Determining the question after all the possible arguments 
  • Evidence and answers are to be given to all the arguments against the answer. 

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Modern Philosophy

The evolution and use of dialects in modern philosophy was started in the 19th century by George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. He made dialect a fundamental structure and component of reality. 

Modern philosophy gives birth to the Hegelian dialectical method:

Hegelian Dialect

This dialect was presented by Heinrich Moritz Chalybaus and was presented in a three-fold manner and had three main bases to the argument. The three dialectical stages were the foundation of the presentation, one being Thesis, the second being the counterpoints or arguments to this Thesis which caused friction and difference, and the third being synthesis which resulted in resolving the tension between the Thesis and its counterpoints, i.e., first and second stage of dialect. Although this model is named after Hegel, it was never used. 


The dialectical method is the method of discussion that refers to coming up with answers through the medium of the logical and reasonable discourse of arguments, keeping in mind that no disrespectful arguments are made; it is a discussion between different entities about their point of view. These dialects have had a prominent position in philosophy because of the knowledge and meaning that deciphers out of these discussions. It has found its prominence in classical philosophy, and since then, it has evolved till modern times and had a great influence in the era of modern philosophy.

Socrates and Plato first introduced the method of dialect. In his dialectic method, also known as elenchus, Socrates used a series of questions to reach a particular truth and decipher the meaning of any discussion and reasoning. At the same time, Plato used a method in which one foundational idea gave rise to other such ideas, which in turn would be united as a part of one subject only.


Frequently asked questions

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What Is the meaning of a Dialect in philosophy?

Ans. Dialect is a discussion between two parties or individual entities who have a different point of view. ...Read full

What is Socrates' dialectical method?

Ans. Socrates’ dialectical method, also known as elenchus, is about a series of questions that are to ...Read full

What steps determine a dialect?

Ans. Steps that determine a dialect are:  ...Read full

What is the Hegelian Dialect?

Ans. This was presented by Heinrich Moritz Chalybaus, who presented the dialect in a three-fold manner: the ...Read full