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Encyclopedia > Dialectical monism

Dialectical monism is an ontological position which holds that reality is ultimately a unified whole, distinguishing itself from plain monism by asserting that this whole necessarily expresses itself in dualistic terms. For the dialectical monist, the essential unity is that of complementary polarities which, while opposed in the realm of experience and perception, are co-substantial in a transcendent sense. In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek ον = being and λόγος = word/speech) is the most fundamental branch of metaphysics. ... Monism is the metaphysical position that all is of one essential essence, substance or energy. ... The term dualism is the state of being dual, or having a twofold division. ...

Contents

Principles

To establish its premises, dialectical monism posits a Universal Dialectic, which is seen as the fundamental principle of existence. The concept is similar to that of the Taiji or 'Supreme Ultimate' in Taoism. Accordingly, advocates assert that Taoism as well as some forms of Buddhism (most notably Zen or Chan) are based on an approach consistent with (or identical to) dialectical monism. The idea of a universal dialectic is related to the Taoist concept of taiji or supreme ultimate. European dialecticians (Hegel especially) explored themes that some see as remarkably similar. ... The Taiji diagram or Taijitu , 太極圖 of Zhou Dun-yi. ... Taoism or the School of Tao refers to a set of philosophical teachings and religious practices that are rooted in a specific and metaphysical understanding of the Chinese character Tao, here encompassing the whole processes of the Universe, considered as to be constantly changing and steming from the diversification of... Statues of Buddha such as this, the Tian Tan Buddha statue in Hong Kong, remind followers to practice right living. ... Bodhidharma, woodblock print by Yoshitoshi, 1887. ... Chán is a major school of Chinese Mahāyāna Buddhism. ...


Ideas relating to progress or "teleological evolution" are important concepts in dialectical monism. It is important to note, however, that this teleological element is significantly different from that found in other views, owing to the fact that it is a naturalistic progression rather than a result of design or consciousness. Adherents maintain that the nature of dialectical synthesis dictates that the flow of change will tend toward a 'spiral-shaped progression' rather than a perpetual non-progressive (repetitive) circling of history. For dialectical monists, this explains the fact of self-organization in Nature, as well as the observed tendency for human societies to achieve progress over time. Progress can refer to: The idea of a process in which societies or individuals become better or more modern (technologically and/or socially). ... Teleology is the position that there is design, purpose, directive principle, or finality in the works and processes of nature, and the philosophical study of that purpose. ... Naturalism is any of several philosophical stances, typically those descended from materialism and pragmatism, that reject the validity of explanations or theories making use of entities inaccessible to natural science. ... Synthesis (from the Greek words syn = plus and thesis = position) is commonly understood to be an integration of two or more pre-existing elements which results in a new creation. ... Self-organization refers to a process in which the internal organization of a system, normally an open system, increases automatically without being guided or managed by an outside source. ... Progress can refer to: The idea of a process in which societies or individuals become better or more modern (technologically and/or socially). ...


History

Dialectical monism has been mentioned in Western literature, although infrequently. Sartre used the term on at least one occasion (in an essay relating to Marxism), although it is not clear that his interpretation was identical to that now advocated by modern adherents. For the most part, previous references to dialectical monism in Western traditions are considered to have limited significance. Jean Paul Sartre Jean-Paul Sartre (June 21, 1905–April 15, 1980) was a French existentialist philosopher, dramatist, novelist and critic. ... Marxism is the political practice and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century German philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. ...


Although the specific term has never been used outside the West, advocates maintain that dialectical monism has a much greater presence in Eastern traditions. A wide number of Taoist sources are cited, especially those which relate to the Taiji or yin-yang concepts. In addition, several Buddhist works are seen as containing strong elements of dialectical monism, the Heart Sutra being a notable example. Taoists Taijitu The concept of Yin Yang originates in ancient Chinese philosophy, most likely from the observations of day turning into night and night into day. ... The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra or Heart Sutra (Sanskrit: Prajñā Pāramitā Hridaya Sūtra) is a well known Mahāyāna Buddhist scripture. ...


Modern interpretation

As it is promoted today (chiefly on the Internet), dialectical monism refers to a worldview or ontology based in a framework of neutral monism, which attempts to synthesize Eastern mysticism with Western dialectics. In layman's terms, the basic idea is to outline a point of view which recognizes that all is one, but this oneness can only be experienced in terms of duality and creative opposition. Adherents maintain that by understanding this viewpoint and its implications, one learns that "ultimate reality" and "everyday reality" are one and the same, and that existence itself is not only a pragmatic experience, but a deeply spiritual one as well. In this sense, its aim is similar to that of Zen. Neutral monism is the philosophical view that mental events and physical events are both to be reduced to aspects of some neutral stuff, which stuff considered by itself is neither physical nor mental. ... Synthesis (from the Greek words syn = plus and thesis = position) is commonly understood to be an integration of two or more pre-existing elements which results in a new creation. ... Mysticism (ancient Greek mysticon = secret) is meditation, prayer, or theology focused on the direct experience of union with divinity, God, or Ultimate Reality; or the belief that such experience is a genuine and important source of knowledge. ... Broadly speaking, a dialectic (Greek: διαλεκτική) is an exchange of propositions (theses) and counter-propositions (antitheses) resulting in a disagreement. ... The term dualism is the state of being dual, or having a twofold division. ... In philosophy, Ultimate Reality is the absolute nature of all things. ... Bodhidharma, woodblock print by Yoshitoshi, 1887. ...


Related articles

Dialectical materialism is the philosophical basis of Marxism as defined by later Communists and their Parties (sometimes called orthodox Marxism). ... Heraclitus of Ephesus (Greek Herakleitos) (about 535 - 475 BC), known as The Obscure, was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. ... For other uses of the words tao and dao, see Dao (disambiguation). ...

External links

  • Overview of Dialectical Monism (http://naturyl.humanists.net/diamon.html)
  • Yin-Yang Dialectical Monism (http://www.thomehfang.com/suncrates/7Dow.html)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Dialectical monism (539 words)
Dialectical monism is an ontological position which holds that reality is ultimately a unified whole, distinguishing itself from plain monism by asserting that this whole necessarily expresses itself in dualistic terms.
For the dialectical monist, the essential unity is that of complementary polarities which, while opposed in the realm of experience and perception, are co-substantial in a transcendent sense.
To establish its premises, dialectical monism posits a Universal Dialectic, which is seen as the fundamental principle of existence.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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