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Asked by Kana

Explain the meaning of thesis antithesis synthesis concept?

The thesis-antithesis-synthesis concept is a philosophical triad of thought whereby the reckoning of an idea progresses from an original proposition (thesis), to a second idea that critically challenges the first idea (antithesis) and sometimes negates it, to a resolution that combines the dichotomous ideas (synthesis) into a final idea born out of the conflict arising from the chasm of the thesis and antithesis. The concept originated with Johann Fichte's Foundations of the Science of Knowledge (1794) but he cannot be credited with its genesis. The concept of of the thesis/antithesis dyad was already a staple of late eighteenth century German philosophy, most notably in Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (1781). Fichte extended Kant's dyad with a triadic approach (the addition of synthesis) to explore the reconciliation of conflicting but similar ideas. Synthetic judgments are meant to resolve philosophical problems that would otherwise be deemed unresolvable by the thesis/antithesis dyad. Whether they accomplish that goal is a different philosophical debate... The concept has been contested since its inception, but more recently it's considered a tenet of persuasive expositional writing. Various permutations of the thesis-antithesis-synthesis concept are found in modern essay writing. Students are generally encouraged to write an argument with a convincing thesis, followed by arguments that critically challenge the research and perspectives of the thesis (antithesis). This is to ultimately arrive at a conclusion (synthesis) that deftly and convincingly solves the conflict between the thesis and antithesis by reconciling similarities, exploring common ground, and examining the ways in which the antithesis strengthens the original claims of the thesis, thus creating a new, synthesised proposition.

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Emily Whitmore
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