An idea for a dialogue:

Although perhaps gimmicky-

“What ever happened to the dialectic?” :: “I don’t understand.” “The Dialectic. It was a style of debating people in conversation. Like a form of interrogation, but without a goal. Other than to think about ideas from a different angle.” :: “Angle? I think you mean perspective.” “Exactly. It has to be new. Interesting. Not too difficult for people. The conversation, I mean- within the dialectic.” :: “I still don’t understand you. I think you might have it backwards. You just said a dialectic was a way of debating people. That means trying to engage people, on their level. An internal monologue like this one could never hope to be that open to public taste. “This isn’t an internal monologue.” :: “What would you call talking to yourself on paper, then. Meditation? Navel-gazing?” “No. I’ve been trying to get to that. I’d call it a dialectic. A debate.” :: “A conversation.” “Precisely.” :: “With yourself.” “No.” :: “Who else are you going to talk to?” “You, idiot. Who else -could- I talk to?” :: “Ok, I’m honestly confused. Explain this to me. What are you even talking about.” “To engage in a conversation with someone, you seem to assume that it requires a second person, yes? :: “Sure, fine. Yes.” “I’m not disputing that. What I -am- going to tell you is that -you- are more than two persons, which makes it perfectly acceptable to maintain a conversation with yourself. You’ve already succeeded in proving my point. Here I am, debating myself, and though I am only myself, I have -you- here too. Which, as you’ve already pointed out, must be two persons.” :: “I don’t follow you.” If this isn’t a conversation we’re having, then please tell me what a conversation is, and then we’ll have ourselves a debate. However, if a debate -is- a conversation, then by the assumption you just mentioned, we must be two persons, or we couldn’t possibly be having a conversation in the first place.” :: “But that’s just a trick. We’re still one person.” “Let me ask you a revised question, then. If I’m engaging in a debate with myself, this must mean I’m crazy. Was that the prevailing assumption here?” :: “Obviously. If you’re talking to yourself, you must be crazy.” “Would you agree that it’s crazy to write to oneself?” :: “If I’m in the middle of doing it, of course not.” “To write oneself a letter?” :: “Okay, I think I see where you’re going with this, but there’s a difference. Letters and diaries are a way of writing to your future self, like keeping a photograph. It’s a memento, that’s all. Talking to yourself is different.” “Fine, but how is it different?” :: “It’s ... Writing to yourself in the future means there’s no reciprocation. There’s no expectation of reciprocation. It’s not talking at all. Talking is always in the present, and should have some give-and-take. Otherwise you’re just talking to yourself, and no one’s listening.” :: “..but we’re always listening to ourselves, at the very least. Still, I take your point. It’s a strange loop, to borrow from Hofstaeder, when you turn to self-reference for an explanation. This is why perhaps we out to step back a moment and consider a much broader question: What, exactly, are the goals of philosophical introspection or discussion?” “Hm. I’m currently of the opinion that our goal is to understand the world - what it is. The problem is that to demonstrate understanding or help others grasp a concept requires an explanation; however, if the explanation fails to accurately characterize the concept then we need to be able to assess whether the failure stems from the explanation’s representation of the concept, or whether the concept itself is flawed and not actually reflective of the way things truly are. Hence, from philosophy we gain methods of assessing explanations and refuting them on one basis or another, such as the scientific method-” :: “Which of course relies on realism in its understanding, and classifies explanations according to their accuracy with respect to predictions.” “Precisely. Because predictions and realism appear to be mutually reinforcing. A prediction can only be likely to occur if the underlying causes and nature of an external world is well-understood.” :: “That’s the idea, yes. It only begins to face issues if the underlying naïve concept of realism come under attack, but it’s hard to imagine how predictions could demonstrate how these assumptions miss the mark. What predictions can anyone make about subjective experience?” “As it turns out, there are other difficulties, namely with regards to Bell’s Theorem in Quantum Mechanics. Nonlocality and realism are exclusive concepts, which leads to a contradiction from the method.”