For my PhD, I've been reading a lot of books. Currently, I'm working through a selection of texts analyzing Kant, Hegel, and Bakhtin. One of the issues I need to tackle in an upcoming short paper is the idea of dialectic versus dialogical discourse. The way I've been seeing, based on Bakhtin's work, it is that the dialectic approach requires a set 'end' to be held for the discourse and the job of the author/teacher/thinker/etc is to guide you to that point through a discourse-based approach with more than one view being worked with. This is a great model and echoes Socratic method in a big way.
Having been introduced to the idea of dialogical discourse, I'm having some big questions come up. The dialogical approach is similar o the dialectic, but there isn't any sort of master narrative or structure that the points of view or ideas are dictated by. There can be a singular subject of the discourse, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum and other relational ideas come into play that will then shape the development of the central idea.
The dialectical approach seems to be the safer of the two, but not safer for the discourse. It's safer for the person controlling or guiding the discourse. They have their 'truth' that they are trying to convey to someone else through an act of revelation via discourse. If the other person strays from it, they can be accused of being wrong and then guided back onto the dialectic path. A dialogical approach requires that many ideas be entertained along with the central subject and to do so without a predestined end or 'truth' to be revealed along the way. Some truths may come to light, but they can change and reshape based on what other ideas are related to it at various points in the discourse. This makes the entire endeavour so much more complicated and precludes any sort of straightforward explanation of deep philosophical issues.
Man, I love that! Our world is a deeply complex place and our lives and psychology even more so. The dialogical approach, for me, highlights what I consider to be a view of personality that many disregard: dividualism. The idea that our personality is our own is a bit ridiculous to me. Everything from your genetics to your environment to your various interactions with others build up into what you call your personality. There's very little of it, if any, that you can lay claim to without anyone else having a part, positive or negative, in its development. Similar to Raymond Williams' view of culture as multi-faceted and dynamic in time, our personalities are partial reflections of everyone around us. A dialectical approach to discourse can allow one to ignore views counter to their own 'truth' as a means of preserving and protecting it. This is a great way to stifle the progress and evolution of ideas and personal psychology and feels reminiscent of the teacher who wouldn't bear to be corrected in class if a student knew more than he or she. This isn't a healthy way to promote deep thought, especially if you follow the thread of questioning our sense of individuality as valid. You have to admit that you aren't a fixed point in your own life and that you may not even be the most fitting reference point within it for certain types of examination. A sort of hybrid of individualism and collectivism seems to me to be the most fruitful approach, but we'll see where I'm at in a few months after reading some Bergson and Lacan, lol.