Brill’s New Pauly

Get access

(1,580 words)

[German version]

(ἡ διαλεκτική; hē dialektikḗ) is an elliptic expression for ἡ διαλεκτικὴ τέχνη (hē dialektikḕ téchnē), ‘the art of discourse’. In both versions, it is first found in Plato (Plt. 7,534e 3 or respectively Phdr. 276e5f.), where it is used to describe an ability which is characteristic of philosophers. This, then new, definition of dialectics was widely adopted, but also frequently modified even in antiquity.

For a better understanding, the descriptor ‘art’ (téchnē) is of importance. It clarifies from the very outset that dialectics comprise a practical …

Cite this page
Hülser, Karl-Heinz (Constance), “Dialectics”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 07 July 2022 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

▲   Back to top   ▲