Dialectic. The meaning annexed to
this word has at different times waxed and waned in dignity and
comprehension. Taking its origin from dialogue, it meant at first
inquiry carried on between two people, then naturally the maieutic
method of Socrates, and finally with Plato all metaphysics, all
Under Aristotle the term contracted its
import, and denoted probable reasoning as distinguished from
demonstrative. "The dialectic syllogism is that from probable premisses."
(1) Subsequently dialectic was used for the whole of logic, and this
sense of the word kept its ground for ages. It has now, however, fallen
into desuetude, and the word when used, generally bears its Aristotelian
(1) Top. I. 1.