3 Jan 2015

Priest, (Intro) ‘Dialectic and Dialetheic’, Introduction, “Dialectics Requires Dialetheism”


by Corry Shores
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[The following is summary. All boldface, underlying and bracketed commentary are my own, unless otherwise indicated.]

Graham Priest

“Dialectic and Dialetheic”

Introduction: Dialectics Requires Dialetheism

Brief Summary:

Priest will argue that Hegel’s and Marx’s dialectics were based on dialetheia, that is, on true contradiction.


Priest will argue that there is an intimate link between dialectics and dialetheism. For dialectics, Priest will focus on Hegel’s and Marx’s uses of it. Dialetheism is the philosophical position that there are true contradictions. Dialetheic philosophy is especially interesting in logic, since it challenges the orthadoxy of classical logic, which for some reason, still seems to hold sway even today. [I personally believe this debate to be the most exciting and the most important controversies in philosophy today. It also has the potential, I think, to make logic interesting for a wider range of philosophers.]

A dialetheia is a true contradiction, where “contradiction” has its ordinary, logical, sense. Thus, a dialetheia is a true statement of the form A&~A. Dialetheism is, consequently, the view that there are true contradictions.

Priest will show that Marx’s and Hegel’s dialectics are based on dialetheism. Dialetheic logic is especially good for dealing with paradoxes of self-reference. And Hegel dealt with such philosophical matters of self-reference as thought thinking themselves and categories applying to themselves. Thus it should not be too much of a surprise that he is a dialetheist. (388)

Citations from:

Priest, Graham. ‘Dialectic and Dialetheiç’. Science & Society, 1989/1990, 53 (4) 388–415.



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