Essay on Hegel’s Dialectical Method

Therefore, his method may be described as dialectical idealism. It means that every idea (thesis) gives rise to a counter idea (antithesis) and the original idea and counter idea merge to give rise to a new idea (synthesis). This new idea, in due course, itself becomes a thesis and gives rise to its antithesis and the process goes on.

Hegel argued that through the use of his dialectical method he has discovered the greatest formula in the history of philosophy. He maintained that the march of reason in history was a complex dialectical process. It is a mechanism by which thought propels itself. Dialectical idealism was a logical apparatus for interpreting the history in its true perspective.

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Hegel argued that a phenomenon can be best understood according to the law of dialectics, i.e. when contrasted with its opposite. Pleasure is best understood in opposition to pain, heat in opposition to cold, goodness in opposition to badness, justice in opposition to injustice and so on. Hegel has given several instances of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. The following instances given by him are noteworthy and we should remember them.

i. Family is the thesis, civil society is its antithesis and state is the synthesis.

ii. Similarly, despotism is thesis, democracy is its antithesis and constitutional monarchy is the synthesis.

iii. Inorganic world is the thesis, organic world is its antithesis and human beings are the synthesis.

Hegel believed that the true nature of thing can be known only if its contradictions are also known. In this sense, his theory of dialects is rooted in contradiction or negation. He considered contradictions as the driving force of the whole process of evolution. This is the fundamental law of the cosmos as also of thought.

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