FAQ:  What do you mean by dialectic, materialism, and dialectical materialism?

The following derives from the Encyclopedia Britannica Online, to which you all have access, and the Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Dialectic:  No simple meaning can be given since it has adopted many meanings over the years. To early Greeks, dialectic refereed to methods of refutation of arguments, or the method used to seek the truth by reasoning.   Kant used it as a method to expose the illusion of judgements which pass beyond human experience, although the illusion can never be disproved entirely.   In a more recent meaning, espoused by Hegel, dialectic is the logical development of thought or reality through thesis and antithesis to a synthesis of these opposites.  He believed everything was in the process of change and nothing was permanent.  Things contain the seeds for their own demise, which will ultimately transform or destroy them.   Concepts or thoughts evolve by passing over into their opposites (or negation)   followed by their unification in a synthesis.  A higher truth is reached as a result of conflict between a concept's or idea's contradictory aspects.   Hegel gave dialectics a scientific aspect in that it was "the scientific application of the regularity found in the nature of thought".  Passing over into its opposite was a natural consequence of the limited or finite nature of concepts or thoughts.    These changes occurred in the world spirit or ideal, which manifested itself in nature and human society.  Dialectical thinking is thinking which attempts to grasp things in their interrelationships and in the totality to which they belong, in the process of changes, of being born and of dying, in their conflicts and contradictions.   Marx and Engels took Hegel's ideas and applied them to the social and economic world.  

Materialism:  To Marx and Engels, the material world of our perceptions is real, and not a construct of each individual mind.  They didn't discount the existence of mental and spiritual processes, but mind and spirit could not exist without matter.  Materialism was then the antithesis of idealism, which support that view of the independence of matter and mind/spirit (as espoused by Hegel).   . 

Dialectical Materialism: To Marx and Engels, change was inherent in the nature of the material world, not the spiritual world.  Human knowledge developed through a dialectical process involving practical interactions with things and social processes providing the test.  The Communist view of human society is called historical materialism (Engel) while dialectical materialism refers to the view of the world as a whole.   Dialectical Materialism is the basis of Communist ideology.  Some of the fundamental concepts are listed below: