Expresses his contempt for the ordinary school rhetorician, the hair-splitting dialecticians and their "sense of inability to speak, since they dare not even pronounce their own name for fear of expressing themselves ambiguously."
Richard of St Victor, prior of the monastery from 1162 to 1173, is still more absorbed in mysticism, and his successor Walter loses his temper altogether in abuse of the dialecticians and the Summists alike.
The Summists have as much to say against the existence of God as for it, and the dialecticians, having gone to school to the pagans, have forgotten over Aristotle the way of salvation.
But now the greater boldness of the dialecticians awakened a spirit of general distrust in the exercise of reason on sacred subjects, and we find even a Realist like Gilbert de la Porree arraigned by Bernard and his friends before a general council on a charge of heresy (at Rheims, 1148).
The strength of these men lay in destructive criticism rather than in construction: as dialecticians they were successful, but they contributed little to ethical speculation.
The Socratics) dialectic; (3) that the differences between the different groups of sophists were not inconsiderable, and that in particular the teaching of the rhetoricians was distinct in origin, and, in so far as its aim was success in a special walk of life, distinct in character, from the more general teaching of the sophists of culture, the eristics, and the dialecticians, while the teaching of the dialecticians was discriminated from that of the rest, in so far as the aim of the dialecticians was truth, or at least the bettering of opinion; and, consequently, (4) that, in awarding praise and blame to sophistry and its representatives, the distinctive characteristics of the groups above enumerated must be studiously kept in view.
Among the dialecticians, Socrates had used inductive arguments to obtain definitions as data of deductive arguments against his opponents, and Plato had insisted on the processes of ascending to and descending from an unconditional principle by the power of giving and receiving argument.
To his personal characteristics can be traced the hair-splitting and formal pedantry which ever afterwards marked the activity of the school, the dry repellent technical procedure of the Dialecticians par excellence, as they were called.