Dialectic Schemes in Thesaurus Creation

Article excerpt


Dialectics is a form of reasoning and argument that aims to resolve and synthesize opposing views or ideas. Contemporary dialectic thought in the West is associated with Hegel, the German philosopher whose dialectical scheme described the progress of history and ideas from thesis to antithesis and then to synthesis. Hegel's work followed on that of Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and others ("Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich"). Hegel's dialectics (the resolution of opposites) include triads that represent thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. In Hegel's view, we do not create dialectic categories. The categories already have a logical relationship that we must discover. The process of deduction shows the existence of an objective world which is separate from our minds. Our task is not to invent a method for deducing categories but to distinguish the categories that are deduced from each other (Stace 1955). That process includes This article looks at the logical relationships between the categories that have led to the development of the thesaurus, including the historical origins of thesaurus construction. The research uses the dialectical, logical relationships of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Each step in the dialectic of thesaurus creation includes subjective and objective thought as part of the thesis and antithesis, resolved by the more absolute thinking of the synthesis. Table 1 summarizes the research results, which are explained in greater detail after the table.


The first level of the figure has three steps, which are

1. Alphabetical mechanism vocabulary (AMV) as the thesis

2. Semantic mechanism vocabulary (SMV) as the antithesis

3. Thesaurus creation as the synthesis

The second level of the figure has three steps, which are

1. Pluralism as the thesis

2. Unity of science as the antithesis

3. Micro, Macro, and Metathesaurus as the synthesis.

The synthesis in the first level is the thesis in the second level.

Definition of Terms

Tradition: Tradition is contrasted with innovation. Tradition is a mixture of believes and opinions, which are in a historical process and are accepted in their own societies at the same time.

Modern thought: Modernism or modern thought uses reason to understand and navigate the world.

Modern tradition: This is a set of beliefs and attitudes associated with modern thought, the rational approach of the post-medieval world.

Unity of science: This concept states that all the sciences together are a unified whole. The unity of science thesis is associated with Paul Oppenheim and Hilary Putnam. Jerry Fodor presented the best-known counter-argument (20)

Philosophy of mind: Putnam's contribution to the philosophy of mind argue for functionalism, the idea that the mind is like a computer, although he later recanted this view ("Philosophy of Mind")

Functionalism: Functionalism accounts for mental states by focusing on manifestations such as beliefs, desires, and emotions, looking at consciousness as the interaction of functional processes, rather than seeking explanation by referring to physical media such as neurons ("Functionalism [Philosophy of Mind]"))

Thesaurus: Terms or vocabulary arranged to show their semantic relationships.

Microthesaurus: The convergence of several specialized thesauri (Yancey and Carson 2004)

Macrothesaurus: The convergence of several microthesauri. The interrelationship of microthesauri is created by broad classification codes, while the relationship between microthesaurus with macrothesaurus is created with bridge words. (Foskett 1980, p. 458-459)

Metathesaurus: A "thesaurus of thesauri," which serves as a way to harmonize different controlled vocabularies to achieve cross-file searching (Subcommittee on Metadata and Subject Analysis, 1999)

Level 1

Thesis: Alphabetical Mechanism Vocabulary (AMV)

Dictionaries are alphabetically organized. …