1540s, refutacion, "act of disproving; overthrowing of an argument" (by countervailing argument or proof), from French réfutation (16c.) and directly from Latin refutationem (nominative refutatio) "disproof of a claim or argument," noun of action from past-participle stem of refutare ""drive back; rebut, disprove" (see refute).
c. 1600, Latin, literally "to a man," from ad "to" (see ad-) + hominem, accusative of homo "man" (see homunculus). Hence, "to the interests and passions of the person." Originally an argument or appeal to the known preferences or principles of the person addressed, rather than to abstract truth or logic.
Aristotle (Topics, viii 11) remarks that it is sometimes necessary to refute the disputant rather than his position, and some medieval logicians taught that refutation was of two kinds, solutio recta and solutio ad hominem, the latter being imperfect or fallacious refutation. [Century Dictionary]
mid-15c., "the proving or finding of guilt of an offense charged," from Late Latin convictionem (nominative convictio) "proof, refutation," noun of action from past-participle stem of convincere "to overcome decisively," from com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + vincere "to conquer" (from nasalized form of PIE root *weik- (3) "to fight, conquer").
Meaning "mental state of being convinced or fully persuaded" is from 1690s; that of "firm belief, a belief held as proven" is from 1841. In a religious sense, "state of being convinced one has acted in opposition to conscience, admonition of the conscience," from 1670s.
1580s, earlier dialatik (late 14c.), "critical examination of the truth of an opinion, formal reason and logic applied to rhetoric and refutation," from Old French dialectique (12c.) and directly from Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektike (techne) "(art of) philosophical discussion or discourse," fem. of dialektikos "of conversation, discourse," from dialektos "discourse, conversation" (see dialect).
Originally synonymous with logic; in modern philosophy refined by Kant ("the theory of false argumentation leading to contradictions and fallacies), then by Hegel, who made it mean "process of resolving or merging contradictions in character to attain higher truths." Used generally in 20c. Marxism for "evolution by means of contradictions." Related: Dialectics.