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synthesis

[sin-thuh-sis] /ˈsɪn θə sɪs/
noun, plural syntheses
[sin-thuh-seez] /ˈsɪn θəˌsiz/ (Show IPA)
1.
the combining of the constituent elements of separate material or abstract entities into a single or unified entity (opposed to analysis, ) the separating of any material or abstract entity into its constituent elements.
2.
a complex whole formed by combining.
3.
Chemistry. the forming or building of a more complex substance or compound from elements or simpler compounds.
4.
Philosophy. the third stage of argument in Hegelian dialectic, which reconciles the mutually contradictory first two propositions, thesis and antithesis.
5.
Biology, modern synthesis, a consolidation of the results of various lines of investigation from the 1920s through the 1950s that supported and reconciled the Darwinian theory of evolution and the Mendelian laws of inheritance in terms of natural selection acting on genetic variation.
6.
Psychology, Psychiatry. the integration of traits, attitudes, and impulses to create a total personality.
Origin
1580-1590
1580-90; < Latin < Greek sýnthesis, equivalent to syn- syn- + the- (stem of tithénai to put, place) + -sis -sis
Related forms
synthesist, noun
nonsynthesis, noun, plural nonsyntheses.
resynthesis, noun, plural resyntheses.
Can be confused
antithesis, synthesis, thesis.

Hegelian dialectic

noun
1.
an interpretive method, originally used to relate specific entities or events to the absolute idea, in which some assertible proposition (thesis) is necessarily opposed by an equally assertible and apparently contradictory proposition (antithesis) the mutual contradiction being reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (synthesis)
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for syntheses

Hegelian dialectic

/hɪˈɡeɪlɪan, heɪˈɡiː-/
noun
1.
(philosophy) an interpretive method in which the contradiction between a proposition (thesis) and its antithesis is resolved at a higher level of truth (synthesis)

synthesis

/ˈsɪnθɪsɪs/
noun (pl) -ses (-ˌsiːz)
1.
the process of combining objects or ideas into a complex whole Compare analysis
2.
the combination or whole produced by such a process
3.
the process of producing a compound by a chemical reaction or series of reactions, usually from simpler or commonly available starting materials
4.
(linguistics) the use of inflections rather than word order and function words to express the syntactic relations in a language Compare analysis (sense 5)
5.
(philosophy, archaic) synthetic reasoning
6.
(philosophy)
  1. (in the writings of Kant) the unification of one concept with another not contained in it Compare analysis (sense 7)
  2. the final stage in the Hegelian dialectic, that resolves the contradiction between thesis and antithesis
Derived Forms
synthesist, noun
Word Origin
C17: via Latin from Greek sunthesis, from suntithenai to put together, from syn- + tithenai to place
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for syntheses
synthesis
1610s, from L. synthesis "collection, set, composition (of a medication)," from Gk. synthesis "composition," from syntithenai "put together, combine," from syn- "together" + tithenai "put, place," from PIE base *dhe- "to put, to do" (see factitious). Synthesizer "electronic musical instrument" is attested from 1909.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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syntheses in Medicine

synthesis syn·the·sis (sĭn'thĭ-sĭs)
n. pl. syn·the·ses (-sēz')

  1. The combining of separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole.

  2. Formation of a chemical compound from simpler compounds or elements.

  3. A period in the cell cycle.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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syntheses in Science
synthesis
  (sĭn'thĭ-sĭs)   
Plural syntheses (sĭn'thĭ-sēz')
The formation of a chemical compound through the combination of simpler compounds or elements.

synthesize verb
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for syntheses

synthesis

in philosophy, the combination of parts, or elements, in order to form a more complete view or system. The coherent whole that results is considered to show the truth more completely than would a mere collection of parts. The term synthesis also refers, in the dialectical philosophy of the 19th-century German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, to the higher stage of truth that combines the truth of a thesis and an antithesis. Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophy underscores an existential type of synthesis. In Being and Nothingness, consciousness (pour-soi) is always trying to become being (en-soi), to achieve a synthesis, as it were, between no-thing and some-thing.

Learn more about synthesis with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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