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Different forms of dialectical thinking

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Information about Different forms of dialectical thinking
Education

Published on November 8, 2007

Author: bcluitel

Source: authorstream.com

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Different forms of dialectical thinking :  Different forms of dialectical thinking Bal Chandra Luitel Presented at the fortnightly meeting of SMEC-Culture Studies of Science and Mathematics Education, Oct 5, 2007 …. Etymology:  …. Etymology The present day English word dialectic is derived from a Greek word, dialektik, meaning art (tekhne) of debate. (Dictionary.com) There are many Sanskrit terms (sthapita, dvanda, tarka, bibada, yoga and…), which represent evolving nature of dialectics in different historical-political context of Vedic ideas, giving rise to different meanings, such as to debate, to put together, to amalgamate, to establish, to reason out, to negate, to prove, to unite… (Sanskrit Dictionary For Spoken Sanskrit, Sanskrit Tamil and Pahlavi Dictionaries) Hegelian Dialectic :  Hegelian Dialectic Hegel used the term ‘sublation’ (Aufhebung) so as to depict the process of assimilating a smaller entity into the bigger one so as to represent the process by which to generate a synthesis. Aufhebung appears to be a process of reconciliation of contradictions inherent in thesis and antithesis so as to come up with the entity which inherits lesser contradictions than the previous two entities. (Flew, 1979) Some caveats!:  Some caveats! Hegelian dialectic has traces of logocentric Platonist tradition (Marxist critique)…so has an interest in promoting idealism. Nevertheless, Hegel starts using rationalism and moves beyond rational-analytical binary logics by proposing the concept of monism, which maintains that there is one and only one thinking substance. There are other forms of dialectical thinking arising from different cultures and ideologies. Hegel’s is just one of them. (Flew, 1979; Wong, 2006) Other forms of dialectical thinking :  Other forms of dialectical thinking Dialectics in Vedic traditions Nagarjuna’s dialectic: The dialectic of middle way (Buddhism) Adorno’s dialectic Chinese dialectic Dialectics in Vedic traditions :  Dialectics in Vedic traditions Natural (Positive/Integral/Synthetic) dialectics (amalgamation, synthesis, creation of third category…) Negative dialectics (not this…not that, not here …. not there, not I … not you) (Raju, 1954; Gier, 1983; Raju, 2001) Natural dialectic:  Natural dialectic Generally it can be represented by the metaphor of dialectic as amalgamation of opposite attributes/categories or entities so as to produce/generate a third (and holistic) attribute/category. Natural dialectic: Examples :  Natural dialectic: Examples left/right => middle, centre, Shiva-Shakti within/without => sheath (kosa) good/evil => maya, worldly reality rest/motion => Shiva’s Cosmic Dance Purusha/Prakriti => desire, creation attachment/detachment => Jivanmukta (enlightened, while having a physical body) lingam/yoni => Cosmic Creation I/thou => Brahman/Atman (Powell, 1996) Triads (in dialectical relationship) :  Triads (in dialectical relationship) Brahma/Shiva => Vishnu Sattva/Tama => Raja Deva/Rakshyasha => Manava Heaven/Hell => Earth (Samsara) … (Powell, 1996) Integral dialectics :  Integral dialectics Sri Aurobindo and Ken Wilber use the following dialectics as a basis for developing Integralism envelopment/ development mind/body spirit/matter self/other Concept of holarchy (Wilber, 2000; Aurobindo, 1998) Dialectics in images :  Dialectics in images Shiva, Ardhanariswor (half-male and female), Shakti Lakshmi (wealth/material fulfilment), Saraswati (learning and arts/cultural fulfilment), Parvati (love/spiritual fulfilment) Nrishimha (half-man and half-lion) Ganesha (elephant head and human body) Colours of images (Dark, fair and white) Language of hope :  Language of hope Asato mā sadgamaya: Lead me from the unreal to the real. Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya: Lead me from darkness to light. Mrityor mā Amritamgamaya : Lead me from death to immortality. Abirāvirma edhi : O self illuminating Brahman, be Thou revealed to me. Negation in Vedic (cf. Jaina) traditions :  Negation in Vedic (cf. Jaina) traditions Sanjaya who lived during 6 century BC promoted four-fold negation, which is known as chatuskoti It can be depicted as: Syadasti (relatively it is). Syannasti (relatively it is not). Syadasti nasti (relatively it is and is not). Syadavaktavya (relatively it is inexpressible). Greek philosopher Pyrrho visited India in 4th century BC and developed a similar logic of negation: I am not only certain of the knowledge of any object, but also not certain that I am not certain of such knowledge. (Are there any traces of negative dialectics in the Greek intellectual tradition?) Negative dialectics :  Negative dialectics Advaita Vedanta: Not this, not this…neither nor… (negating worldly realities in order to arrive a non-contradictory conclusion about Brahman) The idea of N: A mode of logic that dispels the worldly realities in order to arrive a conclusion that Brahman is formless (Nirakara) spotless (Niranjana), without any qualities (Nirguna) greeting without ego (Namaste:) Upanishads: Neither you are this nor you are that …you are not here, you are not there Prayer: Neither I have appropriate Mantra nor have I practised appropriate Yantra (method)… Shankara’s Fifth-fold :  Shankara’s Fifth-fold The phenomenal world is Neither Being Nor Non-Being Nor (Being and Non-Being) Nor (neither Being nor Non-Being) The Brahman is not (neither Being nor Non-Being nor both nor neither). Ramana Maharshi puts this in a simple way: Everything comes and goes, the worldly adjectives/adverbs are not really qualified to identify you…Whatever you choose to represent from the phenomenal world does not represent your permanent Self. (Khandelwal, 1997 ) Negation in Buddhism…:  Negation in Buddhism… Gautama Buddha used a mild form of negative dialectic to critique prevailing malpractices within Hinduism. Two views germinated during Gautama’s time: Chittamatrin (worldcentric) and Prasangika (mindcentric). And, both of them used negative dialectic. Later, Nagarjuna used chatuskoti so as to disprove (deconstruct) the hitherto view of causation (the cause of the world is desire, Ishvara,…).He even came to the point that Buddha’s four noble truths could lead to a contradiction if applied chatuskoti on them. (Raju, 1952) ….Nagarjuna :  ….Nagarjuna He critiqued falsely perceived causal relationship between entities… (Co-arising, Co-existence, Co-meaning: such words are found in Nagarjuna’s writing) In Sanskrit 0 means Shunya and emptiness is Shunyata (0-ness). Thus emptiness can be a neutral and non-neutral position between negative and positive numbers. 0 is Non-neutral because it can be both negative and positive i.e. ±0 = 0; 0 is neutral because it is neither positive nor negative. Shunyata is neither Being nor Non-Being Nagarjuna employed the method four-fold negation to every aspects in his metaphysical quest for the Madhyamika (the middle way) concept of emptiness. (Shankara seems to have used a five-fold negation method giving rise to two-truth theory(?)) (Raju, 1954) Nagarjuna’s dialectic :  Nagarjuna’s dialectic Without relation to good there is no bad, in dependence on which we form the idea of good. Therefore good is unintelligible. There is no good unrelated to bad; yet we form our idea on bad in dependence on it. There is therefore no bad. (Cited in Loy, 1997)    This symbol was popular in India (Many Buddhist and Upanishad-era philosophers might have used this! ) and China so as to represent a dialectical movement by which to arrive a conclusion from disputes. (Wong, 2006) example:  example Everything is such not such both such and not such neither such nor not such. (Raju, 2001) Chinese dialectic:  Chinese dialectic The source of Chinese dialectic are mainly the Book of Changes, The Ten Wings and their consequent interpretations in different historical periods. Three qualities of I (=Yi) (meaning easy or to change): simple, changing and constant Contraries are called Two; spirit is called One and Three is the synthesis of the contraries. Later, Chinese dialectic appears to be influenced by Nagarjuna’s negative dialectic. Xiang-fan-xian-yin ~ opposition as the precondition for changes (Wong, 2006) Adorno’s negative dialectic :  Adorno’s negative dialectic Hegel’s major goal was identification (cf. non-Identification) through dialectic … (He believed to reject Buddhist and Vedantic notions of Non-Being) Adorno departed from the Hegelian dialectic of affirmation by using a negative dialectic called immanent critique. The metaphor of quicksilver can represent Adorno’s approach. (Wong, 2006) How am I using them?:  How am I using them? Conceptualising the nature of mathematics as an emerging tree of activity helps me to envision a socially just, inclusive, and equitable mathematics education (largely negative dialectic) Chap 2 How can my pedagogy of mathematics in Nepal be empowering for learners… Overcoming vertical and horizontal dualisms (mixed forms of dialectical thinking) Chap 3 The presence of dualisms is not a problem for mathematics/science education but the way in which to handle them. References :  References Raju, P.T., (1954), `The principle of four-cornered negation in Indian philosophy', Review of Metaphysics 7, 694-713. Dictionary.com. Available online at: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Dialectic. Flew, A. (1979). A dictionary of philosophy. New York: St. Martin's Press. Raju, C. K. (2001). Computers, Mathematics Education, and the Alternative Epistemology of the Calculus in the Yuktibhasa. Philosophy East and West, 51(3), 325-362. Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit. Available online at: http://spokensanskrit.de. Sanskrit Tamil and Pahlavi Dictionaries. Available online at: http://webapps.uni-koeln.de/tamil/. Wong, W.-c. (2006). Understanding dialectical thinking from a cultural-historical perspective. Philosophical Psychology, 19(2), 239-260. Powell, B. (1996). Windows into the infinite : a guide to the Hindu scriptures. Fremont, Calif.: Asian Humanities Press. Khandelwal, M. (1997). Ungendered atma, masculine virility and feminine compassion: Ambiguities in renunciant discourses on gender. Contributions to Indian Sociology, 31(1), 79-107. Wilber, K. (2000). Integral psychology : consciousness, spirit, psychology, therapy (1st pbk. ed.). Boston: Shambhala. Sri Aurobindo. (1998). Supramental manifestation and other writings (2nd ed.). Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press

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