Dialectical logic is the system of laws of thought, developed within
the Hegelian and Marxist traditions, which seeks to supplement or
replace the laws of formal logic. The precise nature of the relation
between dialectical and formal logic was hotly debated within the
Soviet Union and China.
Contrasting with the abstract formalism of traditional logic,
dialectical logic in the Marxist sense was developed as the logic of
motion and change and used to examine concrete forms. It is a
materialist approach to logic, drawing on the objective, material
Stalin argued in his
Marxism and Problems of Linguistics that there
was no class content to formal logic and that it was an acceptable
neutral science. This led to the insistence that there were not two
logics, but only formal logic. The analogy used was the relation of
elementary and higher mathematics.
Dialectical logic was hence
concerned with a different area of study from that of formal logic.
The main consensus among dialecticians is that dialectics do not
violate the law of contradiction of formal logic, although attempts
have been made to create a paraconsistent logic.
Some Soviet philosophers argued that the materialist dialectic could
be seen in the mathematical logic of Bertrand Russell; however, this
was criticized by
Deborin and the Deborinists as panlogicism.
Evald Ilyenkov held that logic was not a formal science but a
reflection of scientific praxis, and that the rules of logic are not
independent of the content. He followed Hegel in insisting that formal
logic had been sublated, arguing that logic needed to be a unity of
form and content and to state actual truths about the objective world.
Das Kapital to illustrate the constant flux of A and B
and the vanity of holding strictly to either A or -A, due to the
inherent logical contradiction of self-development.
During the Sino-Soviet split, dialectical logic was used in China as a
symbol of Marxism–
Leninism against the Soviet rehabilitation of
^ Introduction to Dialectical Logic.
^ Soviet Marxism: A Critical Analysis.
^ Dialectics: A Controversy-Oriented Approach to the Theory of
Marxism and Natural Science: 1917-1932.
^ Consciousness and Revolution in Soviet Philosophy: From the
^ Philosophy and Politics in China: The Controversy Over