My session today on dialectical dialogue Recent blog posts

My session today on dialectical dialogue

My session today on dialectical dialogue

Side Event

An experiment in dialectical interaction of dialoguing, questioning,
enquiring and co-enquiring: How To qualitatively Transform Social and Human interactions and reflective ideas


The 1st of December Date: Monday 1 December

Time: 14h30 - 16h30

Venue: Building 35, South Campus, Lectural Hall G04




The aim of this session is to learn and enquire into how to dialogue in a constructive and transformative manner that can push things forward, find constructive solutions, enrich existing knowledge and people’s insights, and that can really empower people, complement and enrich their individuality, agency and critical reflections or dialogue with oneself.


The aim is to work out together how to dialogue and dialectically dialogue and what this means in practice.  And to see if we can attain this theorised and desired ideal, and how and why this is important.




1. To look at and formulate the meanings and implications of a transformative dialogue and dialectical engagement among individuals of different expertise and backgrounds.

2. To distinguish between dialogue and other forms of social interaction and conversations


3. to provide and enrich the skills of critical reflection and dialogical and dialectical interaction among different participants who come from different backgrounds and disciplines and embody different expertise and knowledge base. 


4. To work out the meanings of reflection and distinguish between reflection and thinking


5. To do this in practice and praxis of action and theory where theory and practice/action are interrelated, governed by each other and complement and lead each other so that the practice/action is structured by theory and the theory avoids being abstracted rhetoric and is governed by action, acting and practicing it.


6. To do it in action-reflection, and critically co-reflecting and dialoguing on what is being and was done and achieved, how to improve what is being done and fulfil the intention of constructing a greater transformative dialogue and critical reflection









Tomorrow I am discussing  the dialectical approach I am putting together for Earth Stewardship science and Africa Earth Observatory Network – Earth Stewardship Science Research Institute


The approach is a transdisciplinary dialectical approach to doing earth stewardship science where the different sciences, humanities, engineering, educational, epistemological and ontological approaches, technologies, the arts and clinical professions collaborate and dialogue on improving the understanding of and qualitatively transforming the planet, improving its prosperity and the quality of life and living of its inhabitants and reversing the damage done to the planet by humankind and the threat to its sustainability.


co-constructing and providing practical and analytical explanations (explicative accounts,  or theories) as for how to do so.



An enriching, productive and transforming dialogue that avoids debate, dismissal, and invalidation and power relationship of domination is crucial for the approach and for any transdisiplinary engagement


I shall be explaining why the dialectical logic and methodological and epistemological approach and grounding is superior to the traditional propositional logic for our transdisciplinary work on improving the prosperity of the planet and reversing the damage made to the planet and its ecology by human kind.


I describe the dialectical logic as working on the qualitative transformation of an argument, phenomenon and practice in the search of truth through heuristic enquiry that intended to solve a problem. 


It consists of dialogue, including dialogue with oneself or reflection, continuous enquiring and co-enquiring into how to solve the problem in hand and improve the solution. 


It is the logic of qualitative transformation and enrichment of the existing, pushing it forward.


It includes, uses and fuses contradictions (or the anti-thesis of the examined, theorised and intended phenomenon, or the not P of the P) in order to transform the thesis, or P, the intended and examined and theorized phenomenon.


It is based on creating something new and improved from the existing, thereby pushing it forward, enriching and qualitatively transforming it.



The propositional logic is the logic of elimination:


Either   Or


If Then


It is made of constructing the most valid linguistic assertion, or proposition, for the explanation of the tested phenomenon and the problem that is being and sought to be solved.


It is validated by demonstrating how the alternative linguistic assertions that could potentially solve the tested phenomenon are either false or not as true and suitable as the tested linguistic proposition.


If the alternative propositions cannot be invalidated then the tested proposition is invalid.


So it is the practice of eliminating the alternatives to validate yourself

I give an example that shows that theorizing who Alon is cannot contain the two alternative, or contradictory, propositions - that Alon is stupid and Alon is smart. 


One has to be eliminated in order to be able to explain who is Alon. 


Alon cannot be both stupid and smart.  I can only be either stupid or smart. 


It is the logic of Either Or

Either A is valid or B is valid

 If A is valid then B is invalid 

If B is valid then A is invalid


Whereas the propositional logic is the logic of selecting proposition for the explanation of a phenomenon and solving a problem over and instead of the other possible ones which are discarded,

 dialectics is the logic of fusing, using contradictions as well, and doing anything and everything for a qualitative transformation of something into something better.


Read slide 12


Dialectics is the logic of AND and a synthesis –

          Creating something new and improved from and through fusing different things, that could be contradictory, and from doing the enquiry and research themselves

          It is the logic of “And” creation of and transformation of the existing into an improved new thing          A + B = C


I give the example of how the propositions Alon is stupid and Alon is smart are used and fused together to create the process of Alon working at getting smarter and is providing an explanation, or a theory, of how he does this and what it means and why it is important and a significant contribution to knowledge and a field of research enquiry.           



In slide 9

I explain how the propositional logic is the logic of debating and out-weighting alternative ideas that do not follow one’s own ideas, views and theories

Debate – “strife…beat down, bring down, lower,. reduce, lessen, diminish…take away”


Slide 12


During dialectical thinking,  there is an enquiry and dialogue during which

one propositional idea, assertion and response pushes forward and transforms the one preceding in the search for truth and a solution to a presented          problem and enquiry


Different relevant propositional enquiries and responses transform each other.


They are not eliminated, or turned against each other, debated and out-weighted.


But, rather,


Are attended to, enquired into, used, sought to be understood and analysed concretely and profoundly, fused and included in the analysis and accumulated knowledge and understanding and the construction and validation of the dialectical theory.



Slide 13



Slide 13 and 14


At  the Africa Earth Observatory Network - Earth Stewardship Science Research Institute (AEON-ESSRI)

                   we are

working at improving the prosperity of the planet and quality of life of its inhabitants


Doing it dialectically means that


within the dialectical logic and epistemological grounding all the disciplines, positions, arguments and theories available work and co-enquire together - in dialogue and co-creation of something new and improved –

into how to improve and qualitatively transform the prosperity and sustainability of the planet and the wellbeing and quality of life of humanity and human beings


We test our co-constructed ideas and implement them in practice


We push forward, complement, add to and qualitatively transform each other and each other’s ideas positions, arguments and thinking.

                             Rather than

Debate or/and work at discarding each other’s ideas, thinking, arguments and positions to validate and show off our own ideas and ourselves



Dialectically means that

we are building up a poiesis of creating something that was not there before but is created by our dialogue, co-enquiring, collaborations and working together, and the dialogue’s transformation of our reflection in isolation and individualistic being in the world as unique individuals

We move from a collection of ‘I’s to the ‘we’ who co-enquire together whilst maintaining their/our uniqueness, agency, critical judgement and not becoming a crowed of followers or one collective agency.


We reflect and analytically and critically enquire on our own and then bring the reflection to dialogue and dialogical co-enquiring


Let me bring you now 8 slides – slides 16 to 23 -of what dialogue means in the literature theoretically


   To analyse and discuss as possible stimuli


Let us go through these meanings and implications of dialogue

Dialogue must be very focused on aims, an objective, intention and what it wants to achieve. 


The participants must have a shared understanding and view of what they want to do and achieve.  Without this it will fall apart




I put a focus


One focus is on dialogue


The other one is my understanding of the main goal of the conference and the Earth Stewardship Science institute, how to transform the world


As I said dialectics uses series of questions and answers to open up heuristic enquiries to solve problems, dialogue, including dialogue with oneself, reflection, critical reflection and dialogue

To help us construct our own theories of dialogue

Let us use the epistemological exercise of formulating and posing questions  


Questions and questioning, formulating questions and enquiries and posing challenging questions that open up discussion, reflection, critical and analytical thinking, dialogue and enquiries and co-enquiries and the creation, testing and communication of ideas, positions and explanations


This is as opposed to asserting and proposing that impose themselves and shut up people, creativity and the development and transformation of ideas and innovation.



I have questions that I formulated and put on the slides



Let us look at them.



Posted by Alon Serper on 01 December 2014 11:50:52

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