A dialectic essay is a rare type of the academic assignment – students of many disciplines can hope to go through their entire stay at a college without having to write a single one of them. However, this doesn’t mean that you are completely safe – and if you are given a task to write a dialectical essay, you should be ready to deal with it.
It is especially true because the relative rareness of these assignments makes it extremely hard to find useful information about the tips on how to handle the writing process – you cannot hope to find a book titled something like “Dialectics for Dummies” to help you get through. As for writing services, you also cannot just visit the first one you stumble upon and say, “Write my dialectic essay” – many agencies don’t write essays of this type.
Find a Dialectic Essay Sample to Understand What Is Expected of You
A dialectic essay is quite different from everything else you’ve probably written so far. It is somewhat similar to an argumentative essay – you are supposed to choose an issue on which people’s opinions are strongly mixed (for example, abortion rights) and provide an argument in favor of a certain point of view. However, there is one important difference. In an argumentative essay, you stop with providing only an argument.
In a dialectic paper, you should give a counter-argument as well, an antithesis of the thesis you’ve been trying to prove and provide sound argumentation in its favor. After that, you should get back to supporting your cause and write a response to this counter-argument, proving that your point of view is right after all. It may be difficult to get this right the first time around, so a sound course of action would be to find an example of a well-written essay in this format and follow its structure as you work.
6 Dialectic Essay Topics to Get You Started
Many students find it difficult to choose essay topics for their dialectic writing, either out of perfectionism or simply not believing in their ability to select a truly interesting topic. In fact, you shouldn’t spend too much time thinking before deciding what topic to cover in your dialectic essay – the ability to write about anything is one of the requirements that dialectic essay writing is supposed to meet. Here are some examples of what you can write about:
- Free Education: Useful Investment or an Unreasonable Strain on Taxpayers?
- Enlightenment: Positive and Negative Influences on the Development of Human Society;
- Can a Printed Book and Newspaper Be Ever Completely Replaced by Its Digital Alternative?
- Are Materialism and Its Cosmological Model Enough to Explain All Aspects of Our Reality?
- Can English Be Used as a Universal Lingua Franca?
- Can Reading a Report or Researching a Case Study Compare to the First-Hand Experience?
As you can see, ideas from wildly different areas of human knowledge can serve as viable topics for high-quality, literary dialectic essays. You needn’t worry about your topic not being good enough – if there is more than one strongly expressed opinion on it, you can safely use it.
What Dialectics Does
The main purpose of dialectics is an attempt to resolve a paradox. Here is where you should learn the difference between a paradox and a contradiction. Contradiction consists of two statements that cannot coexist, no matter how much time you spend trying to prove otherwise. For example, a wall cannot be black and white at the same time. A paradox, however, consists of two statements that seem to contradict each other but may be proved to have some middle ground.
Schrodinger’s cat, for example, which can be both alive and dead at the same time thanks to the uncertainty principle. In short, this is the job of dialectics – to take seemingly opposing points of view and try to find a compromise between them. This result is not always achieved, but this is certainly where you should start and what you should consider being your goal.
The Purpose of a Dialectic Essay
By definition, the dialogic nature of a dialectic essay serves to teach you how to view the subject matter from multiple points of view, not just your own. This skill can be quite useful in life, in general, and in specific fields, such as Philosophy and Politics. The ability to predict the reasoning of your opponents can have an outstanding effect on how well you manage to refute their argumentation. In other words, dialectic writing, both formal and informal, is an exemplification of rhetoric, and if you study something related to it, you should learn how to write them.
The Structure of a Dialectic Essay
Structurally, a dialectic essay is more or less similar to any other research paper you’ve written in the past.
It has to start with an introduction where you clarify the topic, try to attract and hold the reader’s attention and introduce your thesis statement – a short rendition (usually no more than one sentence long) of your point of view – and take on the topic.
However, after that, it is followed not by pieces of evidence supporting a single viewpoint, but by a single section containing the entirety of your argument. Here you refer to the literature you’ve been using to gather information and other types of evidence, articles, websites, videos, and so on. In a sense, this section is a synthesis of all the facts, statistics, and narrative testimonials in support of your viewpoint.
The next section is a counter-argument or objection. Here, you introduce additional evidence that refutes your initial argument. Respond to some weak points in the initial argument. Give a reason and a proof why the argument in the first section cannot be accepted as the only viable opinion, demonstrate that there are conflicting views on the subject matter. However, you should make sure you understand the meaning of the method – you shouldn’t disprove the thesis itself. Rather, you should disprove the evidence presented in the first section, or at least show why it is dubious at the very best. In the second section, your essay turns into a kind of argument between two people supporting different points of view. There may be more than one objection – if there are more than two conflicting viewpoints, you may introduce all of them. Again, you may want to study a sample or two before you try to repeat the same at school.
The third section is your response. In that way, it is a reflection of the second section – you take the refutation of your theory and address all points presented there one by one. The important thing here is not to repeat the same arguments you made the first time around. Instead, you should introduce new evidence that specifically deals with every objection presented in the second section. In a sense, this section proves that your initial point of view is sound and supportable, that it can hold its own even under the barrage of criticism.
All this is followed by a conclusion where you either repeat your original thesis (this time, with extra certainty because you’ve managed to protect it from objections) or present a new thesis, a kind of amalgamation of both points of view you presented throughout your essay. You shouldn’t change your point of view completely, especially to the opposite one. Rather, you should keep your initial thesis but support it with more ideas, view it from more viewpoints, introduce new factors into play.
What to Do if You Want to Create a Real Masterpiece
Remember Your Audience
Depending on the issue you discuss in your paper, your audience is likely to hold stronger or weaker opinions on it. Some issues are traditionally prone to causing violent disagreement; others lead to discussions that are more academic in nature. Whatever the case is, resist the temptation to introduce emotional arguments (or even emotionally colored words and expressions) into your text, because they can set a part of your audience against you too much for you to be able to sway their opinions. Maintain the balance: be persuasive but objective, firm in your beliefs yet ready to accept that somebody else may be holding a different point of view.
Even if you strongly disagree with an opposing point of view, be honest with yourself and give it a fair hearing. Introduce all the viable counter-arguments to your thesis and don’t omit those you cannot refute persuasively. Anybody reading your essay will see through this trick, and it won’t do your grades any good. The more sound arguments of the opposing side you manage to deal with successfully, the higher the value of your own thesis and your essay in general is, so be as fair to both sides as possible. Objectivity isn’t optional here – you shouldn’t give your opponents an opportunity to accuse you of being overly protective of your thesis.
Give Clear and Persuasive Reasons
When you compare two points of view, it is not enough to be honest and represent both of them equally. You should also give a definite and clear explanation of why you decide to stick to your thesis or modify it in any way. You cannot just say, “It is what I have been always thinking, and I am not going to change my opinion no matter what”. You should give a clear reason why you aren’t persuaded by the argumentation of your opposition, or why you accept some of their arguments but cannot agree with the others, or why you believe that the two points of view aren’t all that different in the first place, and all the argument is based on a few inconsequential points. Explain, clarify, make it all obvious to the reader, don’t force him/her to track your thinking patterns.
Don’t Forget to Proofread
Writing dialectic essays is a difficult job where each sentence should be fine-tuned to support the larger whole. If you move away from your argument at one point, you risk turning your entire text into a mismatched, poorly-organized mess. That is why when proofreading your paper, you should not limit yourself to checking grammar, spelling, and syntax. Check if all the parts of your essay are logically connected and complete. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I addressed all the counter-arguments presented in the objection section?
- Does all my evidence come from trustworthy sources?
- Do all my points have sound evidence to back them up?
- Have I been honest when presenting the opposing opinion?
- What have I missed? Can anything be added to any section of the essay?
If possible, find somebody else to read your paper – somebody who reads it for the first time will be more likely to find inconsistencies and mistakes.
Writing dialectic essays may be difficult, but it is certainly a rewarding task – and we hope that this guide will make dealing with them easier in the future!