Thursday, March 19, 2009

Moral choice and dialectic failure.

Myers, Robert J.. Society, Jul/Aug94, Vol. 31 Issue 5, p37-42, 6p; (AN 9407251855)

Myers calls dialectics a "logical term, used today for abstract disputation, devoid of any practical value". Plato contributes its invention to Zeno of Elea, intended to resolve dilemmas through a series of questions and answers. Myers cites its use within the Socratic Dialogue to identify shortcomings in conventional wisdom, and its later use by Hegel to show the reality of history as only that of ideas--"every idea, as it is affirmed by its truth, brings with it the idea that is its negation." Marx extended this concept into the debate of economic systems. The major historical uses of the dialectic incorporate three important components, which Myers calls the trinity of dialectics:
  1. Thesis
  2. Antithesis
  3. Synthesis
Myers published this paper in 1994, when the fall of the Soviet Union (and, to him, Communism in general) was still a new phenomenon. Thus, his main point of contention was the Hegelian dialectic versus Marxist dialectic. Myers is highly critical of the dialectic explanation of history and its use to forecast the future. Instead, he advocates for an empirical explanation. He flippantly closes the paper, suggesting that "it (dialectics) has come from nowhere and will return to nowhere, allowing the human mind and associated intelligence to continue the search for truth in the abstract and to sort out empirically the good from the bad, the better from the worse, and to construct an ethical scale, weighed with democratic values". It is his contention that the dialectic was "simply a mental construct" and it has reached the end of its importance in "democratic" thought.

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