Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English) is a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more people, and a literary and theatrical form that depicts such an exchange. As a philosophical or didactic device, it is chiefly associated in the West with the Socratic dialogue as developed by Plato, but antecedents are also found in other traditions including Indian literature.
The term dialogue stems from the Greek διάλογος (dialogos, conversation); its roots are διά (dia: through) and λόγος (logos: speech, reason). The first extant author who uses the term is Plato, in whose works it is closely associated with the art of dialectic.Latin took over the word as dialogus.
Dialogue as a genre in the Middle East and Asia dates back to ancient works, such as Sumerian disputations preserved in copies from the late third millennium BC,Rigvedic dialogue hymns and the Mahabharata .
In the East, In 13th century Japan, dialogue was used in important philosophical works. In the 1200s, Nichiren Daishonin wrote some of his important writings in dialogue form, describing a meeting between two characters in order to present his argument and theory, such as in "Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man" (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin 1: pp.99-140, dated around 1256), and "On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land" (Ibid., pp.6-30; dated 1260), while in other writings he used a question and answer format, without the narrative scenario, such as in "Questions and Answers about Embracing the Lotus Sutra" (Ibid., pp.55-67, possibly from 1263). The sage or person answering the questions was understood as the author.
In the West, Plato (c. 437 BC – c. 347 BC) has commonly been credited with the systematic use of dialogue as an independent literary form.Ancient sources indicate, however, that the Platonic dialogue had its foundations in the mime, which the Sicilian poets Sophron and Epicharmus had cultivated half a century earlier. These works, admired and imitated by Plato, have not survived and we have only the vaguest idea of how they may have been performed. The Mimes of Herodas, which were found in a papyrus in 1891, give some idea of their character.
Plato further simplified the form and reduced it to pure argumentative conversation, while leaving intact the amusing element of character-drawing.By about 400 BC he had perfected the Socratic dialogue. All his extant writings, except the Apology and Epistles, use this form.
Following Plato, the dialogue became a major literary genre in antiquity, and several important works both in Latin and in Greek were written. Soon after Plato, Xenophon wrote his own Symposium ; also, Aristotle is said to have written several philosophical dialogues in Plato's style (of which only fragments survive).
Two French writers of eminence borrowed the title of Lucian's most famous collection; both Fontenelle (1683) and Fénelon (1712) prepared Dialogues des morts ("Dialogues of the Dead").Contemporaneously, in 1688, the French philosopher Nicolas Malebranche published his Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion, thus contributing to the genre's revival in philosophic circles. In English non-dramatic literature the dialogue did not see extensive use until Berkeley employed it, in 1713, for his treatise, Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous . His contemporary, the Scottish philosopher David Hume wrote Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. A prominent 19th-century example of literary dialogue was Landor's Imaginary Conversations (1821–1828).
In Germany, Wieland adopted this form for several important satirical works published between 1780 and 1799. In Spanish literature, the Dialogues of Valdés (1528) and those on Painting (1633) by Vincenzo Carducci are celebrated. Italian writers of collections of dialogues, following Plato's model, include Torquato Tasso (1586), Galileo (1632), Galiani (1770), Leopardi (1825), and a host of others.
In the 19th century, the French returned to the original application of dialogue. The inventions of "Gyp", of Henri Lavedan, and of others, which tell a mundane anecdote wittily and maliciously in conversation, would probably present a close analogy to the lost mimes of the early Sicilian poets. English writers including Anstey Guthrie also adopted the form, but these dialogues seem to have found less of a popular following among the English than their counterparts written by French authors.
The Platonic dialogue, as a distinct genre which features Socrates as a speaker and one or more interlocutors discussing some philosophical question, experienced something of a rebirth in the 20th century. Authors who have recently employed it include George Santayana, in his eminent Dialogues in Limbo (1926, 2nd ed. 1948; this work also includes such historical figures as Alcibiades, Aristippus, Avicenna, Democritus, and Dionysius the Younger as speakers). Also Edith Stein and Iris Murdoch used the dialogue form. Stein imagined a dialogue between Edmund Husserl (phenomenologist) and Thomas Aquinas (metaphysical realist). Murdoch included not only Socrates and Alcibiades as interlocutors in her work Acastos: Two Platonic Dialogues (1986), but featured a young Plato himself as well.More recently Timothy Williamson wrote Tetralogue, a philosophical exchange on a train between four people with radically different epistemological views.
In the 20th century, philosophical treatments of dialogue emerged from thinkers including Mikhail Bakhtin, Paulo Freire, Martin Buber, and David Bohm. Although diverging in many details, these thinkers have proposed a holistic concept of dialogue.Educators such as Freire and Ramón Flecha have also developed a body of theory and techniques for using egalitarian dialogue as a pedagogical tool.
Martin Buber assigns dialogue a pivotal position in his theology. His most influential work is titled I and Thou .Buber cherishes and promotes dialogue not as some purposive attempt to reach conclusions or express mere points of view, but as the very prerequisite of authentic relationship between man and man, and between man and God. Buber's thought centers on "true dialogue", which is characterized by openness, honesty, and mutual commitment.
The Second Vatican Council placed a major emphasis on dialogue with the World. Most of the Council's documents involve some kind of dialogue : dialogue with other religions ( Nostra aetate ), dialogue with other Christians (Unitatis Redintegratio), dialogue with modern society ( Gaudium et spes ) and dialogue with political authorities (Dignitatis Humanae). However, in the English translations of these texts, "dialogue" was used to translate two Latin words with distinct meanings, colloquium ("discussion") and dialogus ("dialogue"). The choice of terminology appears to have been strongly influenced by Buber's thought.
The physicist David Bohm originated a related form of dialogue where a group of people talk together in order to explore their assumptions of thinking, meaning, communication, and social effects. This group consists of ten to thirty people who meet for a few hours regularly or a few continuous days. In a Bohm dialogue, dialoguers agree to leave behind debate tactics that attempt to convince and, instead, talk from their own experience on subjects that are improvised on the spot.
In his influential works, Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin provided an extralinguistic methodology for analysing the nature and meaning of dialogue:
Dialogic relations have a specific nature: they can be reduced neither to the purely logical (even if dialectical) nor to the purely linguistic (compositional-syntactic) They are possible only between complete utterances of various speaking subjects... Where there is no word and no language, there can be no dialogic relations; they cannot exist among objects or logical quantities (concepts, judgments, and so forth). Dialogic relations presuppose a language, but they do not reside within the system of language. They are impossible among elements of a language.
The Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire, known for developing popular education, advanced dialogue as a type of pedagogy. Freire held that dialogued communication allowed students and teachers to learn from one another in an environment characterized by respect and equality. A great advocate for oppressed peoples, Freire was concerned with praxis—action that is informed and linked to people's values. Dialogued pedagogy was not only about deepening understanding; it was also about making positive changes in the world: to make it better.
Dialogue is used as a practice in a variety of settings, from education to business. Influential theorists of dialogal education include Paulo Freire and Ramon Flecha.
In the United States, an early form of dialogic learning emerged in the Great Books movement of the early to mid-20th century, which emphasized egalitarian dialogues in small classes as a way of understanding the foundational texts of the Western canon.Institutions that continue to follow a version of this model include the Great Books Foundation, Shimer College in Chicago, and St. John's College in Annapolis and Santa Fe.
Egalitarian dialogue is a concept in dialogic learning. It may be defined as a dialogue in which contributions are considered according to the validity of their reasoning, instead of according to the status or position of power of those who make them.
Structured dialogue represents a class of dialogue practices developed as a means of orienting the dialogic discourse toward problem understanding and consensual action. Whereas most traditional dialogue practices are unstructured or semi-structured, such conversational modes have been observed as insufficient for the coordination of multiple perspectives in a problem area. A disciplined form of dialogue, where participants agree to follow a dialogue framework or a facilitator, enables groups to address complex shared problems.
Aleco Christakis (who created structured dialogue design) and John N. Warfield (who created science of generic design) were two of the leading developers of this school of dialogue.The rationale for engaging structured dialogue follows the observation that a rigorous bottom-up democratic form of dialogue must be structured to ensure that a sufficient variety of stakeholders represents the problem system of concern, and that their voices and contributions are equally balanced in the dialogic process.
Structured dialogue is employed for complex problems including peacemaking (e.g., Civil Society Dialogue project in Cyprus) and indigenous community development.,as well as government and social policy formulation.
In one deployment, structured dialogue is (according to a European Union definition) "a means of mutual communication between governments and administrations including EU institutions and young people. The aim is to get young people's contribution towards the formulation of policies relevant to young peoples lives."The application of structured dialogue requires one to differentiate the meanings of discussion and deliberation.
Groups such as Worldwide Marriage Encounter and Retrouvaille use dialogue as a communication tool for married couples. Both groups teach a dialogue method that helps couples learn more about each other in non-threatening postures, which helps to foster growth in the married relationship.
The German philosopher and classicist Karl-Martin Dietz emphasizes the original meaning of dialogue (from Greek dia-logos, i.e. 'two words'), which goes back to Heraclitus: "The logos [...] answers to the question of the world as a whole and how everything in it is connected. Logos is the one principle at work, that gives order to the manifold in the world."For Dietz, dialogue means "a kind of thinking, acting and speaking, which the logos "passes through"" Therefore, talking to each other is merely one part of "dialogue". Acting dialogically means directing someone's attention to another one and to reality at the same time.
Against this background and together with Thomas Kracht, Karl-Martin Dietz developed what he termed "dialogical leadership" as a form of organizational management.In several German enterprises and organisations it replaced the traditional human resource management, e.g. in the German drugstore chain dm-drogerie markt.
Separately, and earlier to Thomas Kracht and Karl-Martin Dietz, Rens van Loon published multiple works on the concept of dialogical leadership, starting with a chapter in the 2003 book The Organization as Story.
Moral dialogues are social processes which allow societies or communities to form new shared moral understandings. Moral dialogues have the capacity to modify the moral positions of a sufficient number of people to generate widespread approval for actions and policies that previously had little support or were considered morally inappropriate by many. Communitarian philosopher Amitai Etzioni has developed an analytical framework which—modeling historical examples—outlines the reoccurring components of moral dialogues. Elements of moral dialogues include: establishing a moral baseline; sociological dialogue starters which initiate the process of developing new shared moral understandings; the linking of multiple groups' discussions in the form of “megalogues”; distinguishing the distinct attributes of the moral dialogue (apart from rational deliberations or culture wars); dramatization to call widespread attention to the issue at hand; and, closure through the establishment of a new shared moral understanding.Moral dialogues allow people of a given community to determine what is morally acceptable to a majority of people within the community.
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Hans-Georg Gadamer was a German philosopher of the continental tradition, best known for his 1960 magnum opus, Truth and Method, on hermeneutics.
Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.
Genre is any form or type of communication in any mode with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a category of literature, music, or other forms of art or entertainment, whether written or spoken, audio or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria, yet genres can be aesthetic, rhetorical, communicative, or functional. Genres form by conventions that change over time as cultures invent new genres and discontinue the use of old ones. Often, works fit into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions. Stand-alone texts, works, or pieces of communication may have individual styles, but genres are amalgams of these texts based on agreed-upon or socially inferred conventions. Some genres may have rigid, strictly adhered-to guidelines, while others may show great flexibility.
The Socratic method is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions. It is named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates and is introduced by him in Plato's Theaetetus as midwifery (maieutics) because it is employed to bring out definitions implicit in the interlocutors' beliefs, or to help them further their understanding.
Martin Buber was an Austrian Jewish and Israeli philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of existentialism centered on the distinction between the I–Thou relationship and the I–It relationship. Born in Vienna, Buber came from a family of observant Jews, but broke with Jewish custom to pursue secular studies in philosophy. In 1902, he became the editor of the weekly Die Welt, the central organ of the Zionist movement, although he later withdrew from organizational work in Zionism. In 1923, Buber wrote his famous essay on existence, Ich und Du, and in 1925, he began translating the Hebrew Bible into the German language.
Pedagogy, most commonly understood as the approach to teaching, is the theory and practice of learning, and how this process influences, and is influenced by, the social, political and psychological development of learners. Pedagogy, taken as an academic discipline, is the study of how knowledge and skills are imparted in an educational context, and it considers the interactions that take place during learning. Both the theory and practice of pedagogy vary greatly, as they reflect different social, political, and cultural contexts.
Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin was a Russian philosopher, literary critic and scholar who worked on literary theory, ethics, and the philosophy of language. His writings, on a variety of subjects, inspired scholars working in a number of different traditions and in disciplines as diverse as literary criticism, history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology and psychology. Although Bakhtin was active in the debates on aesthetics and literature that took place in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, his distinctive position did not become well known until he was rediscovered by Russian scholars in the 1960s.
Dialogic refers to the use of conversation or shared dialogue to explore the meaning of something. The word dialogic relates to or is characterized by dialogue and its use. A dialogic is communication presented in the form of dialogue. Dialogic processes refer to implied meaning in words uttered by a speaker and interpreted by a listener. Dialogic works carry on a continual dialogue that includes interaction with previous information presented. The term is used to describe concepts in literary theory and analysis as well as in philosophy.
Sophrosyne is an ancient Greek concept of an ideal of excellence of character and soundness of mind, which when combined in one well-balanced individual leads to other qualities, such as temperance, moderation, prudence, purity, decorum, and self-control. An adjectival form is "sophron."
In historical scholarship, the Socratic problem concerns attempts at reconstructing a historical and philosophical image of Socrates based on the variable, and sometimes contradictory, nature of the existing sources on his life. Scholars rely upon extant sources, such as those of contemporaries like Aristophanes or disciples of Socrates like Plato and Xenophon, for knowing anything about Socrates. However, these sources contain contradictory details of his life, words, and beliefs when taken together. This complicates the attempts at reconstructing the beliefs and philosophical views held by the historical Socrates. It is apparent to scholarship that this problem is now deemed a task seeming impossible to clarify and thus perhaps now classified as unsolvable.
Carnivalesque is a literary mode that subverts and liberates the assumptions of the dominant style or atmosphere through humor and chaos. It originated as "carnival" in Mikhail Bakhtin's Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics and was further developed in Rabelais and His World. For Bakhtin, "carnival" is deeply rooted in the human psyche on both the collective and individual level. Though historically complex and varied, it has over time worked out "an entire language of symbolic concretely sensuous forms" which express a unified "carnival sense of the world, permeating all its forms". This language, Bakhtin argues, cannot be adequately verbalized or translated into abstract concepts, but it is amenable to a transposition into an artistic language that resonates with its essential qualities: it can, in other words, be "transposed into the language of literature". Bakhtin calls this transposition the carnivalization of literature. Although he considers a number of literary forms and individual writers, it is Francois Rabelais, the French Renaissance author of Gargantua and Pantagruel, and the 19th century Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, that he considers the primary exemplars of carnivalization in literature.
Philosophical anthropology, sometimes called anthropological philosophy, is a discipline dealing with questions of metaphysics and phenomenology of the human person.
Dialogue is a conversational exchange.
In literature, polyphony is a feature of narrative, which includes a diversity of simultaneous points of view and voices. Caryl Emerson describes it as "a decentered authorial stance that grants validity to all voices." The concept was introduced by Mikhail Bakhtin, using a metaphor based on the musical term polyphony.
Egalitarian dialogue is a dialogue in which contributions are considered according to the validity of their reasoning, instead of according to the status or position of power of those who make them. Although previously used widely in the social sciences and in reference to the Bakhtinian philosophy of dialogue, it was first systematically applied to dialogical education by Ramón Flecha in his 2000 work Sharing Words. Theory and Practice of Dialogic Learning.
Dialogic learning is learning that takes place through dialogue. It is typically the result of egalitarian dialogue; in other words, the consequence of a dialogue in which different people provide arguments based on validity claims and not on power claims.
Socrates was a Greek philosopher from Athens who is credited as a founder of Western philosophy and the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, Socrates authored no texts and is known mainly through the posthumous accounts of classical writers, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. These accounts are written as dialogues, in which Socrates and his interlocutors examine a subject in the style of question and answer, usually with Socrates taking the lead, and gave rise to the Socratic dialogue literary genre. Contradictory accounts of Socrates make a reconstruction of the history of his life nearly impossible, a situation known as the Socratic problem. Socrates was a polarizing figure in Athenian society. In 399 BC, he was accused of corrupting the youth and failing to acknowledge the city's official gods. After a trial that lasted a day, he was sentenced to death. He spent his last day in prison, refusing to escape.
Dialogic education is an educational philosophy and pedagogical approach that draws on many authors and traditions. In effect, dialogic education takes place through dialogue by opening up dialogic spaces for the co-construction of new meaning to take place within a gap of differing perspectives. In a dialogic classroom, students are encouraged to build on their own and others’ ideas, resulting not only in education through dialogue but also education for dialogue.
Dialogic pedagogy is a theory and practice of teaching in which dialogue is central. Teachers and students are in an equitable relationship and listen to multiple points of view.
The twentieth century Russian philosopher and literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin wrote extensively on the concept of dialogue. Although Bakhtin's work took many different directions over the course of his life, dialogue always remained the "master key" to understanding his worldview. Bakhtin described the open-ended dialogue as "the single adequate form for verbally expressing authentic human life". In it "a person participates wholly and throughout his whole life: with his eyes, lips, hands, soul, spirit, with his whole body and deeds. He invests his entire self in discourse, and this discourse enters into the dialogic fabric of human life, into the world symposium."