Dialectic is opposite to Metaphysic.

Also Logical positivism criticizes Metaphysic since in Logical positivism only statements verifiable either logically or empirically would be cognitively meaningful and such metaphysic concepts like a god, a soul etc. is called useless and senseless.

But I cannot find explanation of relationships between Dialectic and Logical positivism. Having common enemy they could to compliment each other but I've read somewhere that Logical positivism relegates Dialectic to part of Metaphysic.

So what is the relationship logical positivism and dialectic?

  • You are right in saying that "Logical positivism relegate Dialectic to part of Metaphysic"; for Logical positivism, Dialectic is non-sense. Sep 17, 2014 at 9:31
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA but Dialectic could be acceptable as evolution of the logic useful for a scientific investigation.
    – SerG
    Sep 17, 2014 at 9:38
  • Personally, I do not think so ... But the issue is, I think, what is the "position" of Logical positivism. Sep 17, 2014 at 9:42
  • You can see Robert S.Cohen, Dialectical Materialism and Carnap's Logical Empiricism Sep 17, 2014 at 10:13
  • What kind of relationship are you interested in? Historical? Or their views on some particular matter or other? Dialectic is a method; logical positivism was a movement. Oct 19, 2014 at 16:52

2 Answers 2


I would not say that the Dialectics and Logical positivism have the same enemy Metaphysics, because they do not use this term in the same meaning. The Marxists - I guess they are the most prominent proponents of the opposition Dialectics/Metaphysics - consider them as two methods or two ways to treat the movement, the change and the evolution in the Universe. The Dialectics can catch the change in the Nature and in the Society and correctly represent it, while the Metaphysics cannot.

The Positivism advances criteria that can help attain some solid knowledge and supposes that if Metaphysics cannot meet these criteria, it is useless "...its members styled themselves as conceptual revolutionaries who cleared the stables of academic philosophy by showing metaphysics not simply to be false, but to be cognitively empty and meaningless." (SEP)

I guess that those who advance the Dialectics consider the Logical positivism as a regress. Probably, for positivists all dialectical methods luck a rigor.

  • 2
    None of the prominent Logical Positivists (Schlick, Carnap, Neurath, Feigl, etc) considered Metaphysics another name for Philosophy. Philosophy for most of them was a matter of conceptual clarification. Meanwhile, some of them, like Carnap, understood some philosophical traditions — some neo-Kantian and neo-Hegelian German philosophy, mainly — as indulging in problematic metaphysics. Sep 18, 2014 at 15:55
  • @ChristopherE Thanks! I am too superficial. The answer is slightly rectified. Sep 18, 2014 at 19:21

As I see it, the relationship between Dialectic and Logical Positivism is one of complementarity.

Kuhn analyzes science into periods of normal science interrupted by revolutions. As I see it science never actually totally focusses on either puzzle-solving or the generation of new approaches, but cannot make progress without the two working together. The distinction between the two different periods seems to me to be more of a matter of degree than of kind.

Dialectic largely generates new ways of looking at things out of old ones. Logical Positivism allows primarily the kinds of resolution that are essential to normal science. Neither can really play the role of the other, as much as the advocates of each might imagine they have a complete solution. It seems to me that the only sustainable way forward is to slide back and forth between reliance on these two processes.

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