Dialectics and Hypothetical Questions

  • We have been discussing hypothetical questions in the PD10 thread, but I think this topic deserves a thread of its own in the end, for the additional reason that I think it is probably related to the term "dialectics." It seems to me that hypotheticals is what Socrates/Plato were dealing in extensively, and I see several sentences in Diogenes Laertius that are translated variously as "dialectics" or "logic" - Does anyone know which term is better and if so why they are interchanged? By no means are the two issues the same (Dialectics and Hypothetical Questions) but I suspect both involve very similar issues:

  • As I understand it (leaving out later meanings such as in Marxism), it meant using logical arguments to arrive at the truth. That doesn't mean all discussions are dialectical, and IMO the difference is that we would use evidence, including referring to feeling, in our discussion. We are not using flights of logic to get an answer but referring to our experiences and how we feel about things. Predicting how we might feel about possible future events (hypotheticals) is not the same as using logic, because we are drawing on our experience.

    I think Plato also used it in reference to discussion of ideals. Which we aren't doing.

  • Other translations, specifically Yonge and Thayer also use the word dialectic instead of logic. I would say that using the former is much more appropriate, as not only does it make more sense when we compare it to the sophists and Socrates/Plato, in that the Socratic Method is itself a form of dialectic. Not only that, but as often as we dismiss formal logic, using the word "Logic" itself is very challenging and difficult given how many definitions and interpretations of what it exactly means and is defined, something we know well from the PD 10 Discussion and the most recent podcast episode.

    “If the joys found in nature are crimes, then man’s pleasure and happiness is to be criminal.”