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The Socratic method (also known as method of Elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate) is a form of cooperative
argumentative In the American legal system, argumentative is an evidentiary objection raised in response to a question which prompts a witness In law, a witness is someone who has knowledge about a matter, whether they have sensed it or are testifying on an ...
dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. ...
between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate
critical thinking Critical thinking is the analysis of facts to form a judgment. The subject is complex; several different Critical thinking#Definitions, definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skepticism, skeptical, and unbiased analysis or eval ...
and to draw out ideas and underlying
presupposition In the branch of linguistics known as pragmatics In linguistics and related fields, pragmatics is the study of how context (language use), context contributes to meaning. The field of study evaluates how human language is utilized in social int ...
s. It is named after the
Classical Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of languages, nati ...
philosopher
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
and is introduced by him in
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thoug ...

Plato
's Theaetetus as midwifery ( maieutics) because it is employed to bring out definitions implicit in the interlocutors' beliefs, or to help them further their understanding. The Socratic method is a method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. The Socratic method searches for general commonly held truths that shape beliefs and scrutinizes them to determine their consistency with other
beliefs A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes about the world which can be either tru ...
. The basic form is a series of questions formulated as tests of
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

logic
and fact intended to help a person or group discover their beliefs about some topic, explore definitions, and characterize general characteristics shared by various particular instances.


Development

In the second half of the 5th century BC,
sophists A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher in ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9 ...
were teachers who specialized in using the tools of
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
and
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and ...
to entertain, impress, or persuade an audience to accept the speaker's point of view. Socrates promoted an alternative method of teaching, which came to be called the Socratic method. Socrates began to engage in such discussions with his fellow
Athenians , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 485 ...

Athenians
after his friend from youth,
Chaerephon Chaerephon (; grc-gre, Χαιρεφῶν, ''Chairephōn''; c. 470/460 – 403/399 BCE), of the Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture ...

Chaerephon
, visited the
Oracle of Delphi Pythia (; grc, Πυθία ) was the name of the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo (Delphi), Temple of Apollo at Delphi. She specifically served as its oracle and was known as the Oracle of Delphi. Her title was also historically glossed in ...

Oracle of Delphi
, which asserted that no man in
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

Greece
was wiser than Socrates. Socrates saw this as a
paradox A paradox is a logically self-contradictory statement or a statement that runs contrary to one's expectation. It is a statement that, despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to a seemingly self-contradictory or a logically un ...

paradox
, and began using the Socratic method to answer his conundrum.
Diogenes Laërtius Diogenes Laërtius ( ; grc-gre, Διογένης Λαέρτιος, Dīogénēs Lāértios; ) was a biographer of the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the ...
, however, wrote that
Protagoras Protagoras (; el, Πρωταγόρας; )Guthrie, p. 262–263. was a pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece wer ...
invented the "Socratic" method.
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thoug ...

Plato
famously formalized the Socratic elenctic style in prose—presenting Socrates as the curious questioner of some prominent Athenian interlocutor—in some of his early dialogues, such as ''
Euthyphro ''Euthyphro'' (; grc, Εὐθύφρων, translit=Euthyphrōn; c. 399–395 BC), by Plato, is a Socratic dialogue whose events occur in the weeks before the trial of Socrates (399 BC), between Socrates and Euthyphro (prophet), Euthyphro. The di ...
'' and ''
Ion An ion () is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ...
'', and the method is most commonly found within the so-called "
Socratic dialogue Socratic dialogue ( grc, Σωκρατικὸς λόγος) is a genre of literary prose developed in Greece at the turn of the fourth century BC. The earliest ones are preserved in the works of Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, ...
s", which generally portray Socrates engaging in the method and questioning his fellow citizens about moral and
epistemological Epistemology (; ) is the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a statement of fact ...

epistemological
issues. But in his later dialogues, such as Theaetetus or
Sophist A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher in ancient Greece in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Sophists specialized in one or more subject areas, such as philosophy, rhetoric, music, athletics, and mathematics. They taught ...
, Plato had a different method to philosophical discussions, namely
dialectic Dialectic or dialectics ( grc-gre, διαλεκτική, ''dialektikḗ''; related to dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States Engli ...
.


Method

ElenchusElenchus may refer to: * ''Elenchus'' (brachiopod) Gray, 1843, a genus of brachiopods that is a synonym of ''Weiningia'' * Elenchus (insect), ''Elenchus'' (insect) Curtis, 1831, a parasitic insect genus in the family Elenchidae * Refutation ...
( grc, ἔλεγχος, elenkhos, argument of disproof or refutation; cross-examining, testing, scrutiny esp. for purposes of refutation) is the central technique of the Socratic method. The Latin form (plural ) is used in English as the technical philosophical term. The most common adjectival form in English is ; and are also current. In Plato's early dialogues, the elenchus is the technique Socrates uses to investigate, for example, the nature or definition of ethical concepts such as justice or virtue. According to Vlastos, it has the following steps: # Socrates' interlocutor asserts a thesis, for example "Courage is endurance of the soul". # Socrates decides whether the thesis is false and targets for refutation. # Socrates secures his interlocutor's agreement to further premises, for example "Courage is a fine thing" and "Ignorant endurance is not a fine thing". # Socrates then argues, and the interlocutor agrees, these further premises imply the contrary of the original thesis; in this case, it leads to: "courage is not endurance of the soul". # Socrates then claims he has shown his interlocutor's thesis is false and its negation is true. One elenctic examination can lead to a new, more refined, examination of the concept being considered, in this case it invites an examination of the claim: "Courage is endurance of the soul". Most Socratic inquiries consist of a series of elenchi and typically end in puzzlement known as . Frede points out Vlastos' conclusion in step #5 above makes nonsense of the aporetic nature of the early dialogues. Having shown a proposed thesis is false is insufficient to conclude some other competing thesis must be true. Rather, the interlocutors have reached
aporia In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that ...
, an improved state of still not knowing what to say about the subject under discussion. The exact nature of the elenchus is subject to a great deal of debate, in particular concerning whether it is a positive method, leading to knowledge, or a negative method used solely to refute false claims to knowledge. W. K. C. Guthrie in ''The Greek Philosophers'' sees it as an error to regard the Socratic method as a means by which one seeks the answer to a problem, or knowledge. Guthrie claims that the Socratic method actually aims to demonstrate one's ignorance. Socrates, unlike the
Sophists A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher in ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9 ...
, did believe that knowledge was possible, but believed that the first step to knowledge was recognition of one's ignorance. Guthrie writes, " ocrateswas accustomed to say that he did not himself know anything, and that the only way in which he was wiser than other men was that he was conscious of his own ignorance, while they were not. The essence of the Socratic method is to convince the interlocutor that whereas he thought he knew something, in fact he does not."


Application

Socrates generally applied his method of examination to concepts that seem to lack any concrete definition; e.g., the key moral concepts at the time, the
virtue Virtue ( la, virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man"). It was thus a fr ...

virtue
s of
piety Piety is a virtue Virtue ( la, virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man" ...
,
wisdom Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to contemplate and act using knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a stateme ...

wisdom
, temperance,
courage Courage (also called bravery or valour) is the choice and willingness Volition or will is the cognitive process Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and ...

courage
, and
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...

justice
. Such an examination challenged the implicit moral beliefs of the interlocutors, bringing out inadequacies and inconsistencies in their beliefs, and usually resulting in
aporia In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that ...
. In view of such inadequacies, Socrates himself professed his ignorance, but others still claimed to have knowledge. Socrates believed that his awareness of his ignorance made him wiser than those who, though ignorant, still claimed knowledge. While this belief seems paradoxical at first glance, it in fact allowed Socrates to discover his own errors where others might assume they were correct. This claim was based on a reported Delphic oracular pronouncement that no man was wiser than Socrates. Socrates used this claim of wisdom as the basis of his moral exhortation. Accordingly, he claimed that the chief goodness consists in the caring of the soul concerned with moral truth and moral understanding, that "wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness brings wealth and every other blessing, both to the individual and to the state", and that "life without examination ialogueis not worth living". It is with this in mind that the Socratic method is employed. The motive for the modern usage of this method and Socrates' use are not necessarily equivalent. Socrates rarely used the method to actually develop consistent theories, instead using
myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...

myth
to explain them. The Parmenides dialogue shows
Parmenides Parmenides of Elea (; grc-gre, Παρμενίδης ὁ Ἐλεάτης; ) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit ...

Parmenides
using the Socratic method to point out the flaws in the Platonic
theory of forms#REDIRECT Theory of forms {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{Redirect from other capitalisation {{Redirect unprintworthy ...
, as presented by Socrates; it is not the only dialogue in which theories normally expounded by Plato/Socrates are broken down through dialectic. Instead of arriving at answers, the method was used to break down the theories we hold, to go "beyond" the axioms and postulates we take for granted. Therefore, myth and the Socratic method are not meant by Plato to be incompatible; they have different purposes, and are often described as the "left hand" and "right hand" paths to good and wisdom.


Socratic seminar

A Socratic seminar (also known as a Socratic circle) is a pedagogical approach based on the Socratic method and uses a
dialogic Dialogic refers to the use of conversation or shared dialogue to explore the meaning of something. (This is as opposed to monologic which refers to one entity with all the information simply giving it to others without exploration and clarification ...
approach to understand information in a text. Its systematic procedure is used to examine a text through questions and answers founded on the beliefs that all new knowledge is connected to prior knowledge, that all thinking comes from asking questions, and that asking one question should lead to asking further questions. A Socratic seminar is not a debate. The goal of this activity is to have participants work together to construct meaning and arrive at an answer, not for one student or one group to "win the argument". This approach is based on the belief that participants seek and gain deeper understanding of concepts in the text through thoughtful dialogue rather than memorizing information that has been provided for them. While Socratic seminars can differ in structure, and even in name, they typically involve a passage of text that students must read beforehand and facilitate dialogue. Sometimes, a facilitator will structure two concentric circles of students: an outer circle and an inner circle. The inner circle focuses on exploring and analysing the text through the act of questioning and answering. During this phase, the outer circle remains silent. Students in the outer circle are much like scientific observers watching and listening to the conversation of the inner circle. When the text has been fully discussed and the inner circle is finished talking, the outer circle provides feedback on the dialogue that took place. This process alternates with the inner circle students going to the outer circle for the next meeting and vice versa. The length of this process varies depending on the text used for the discussion. The teacher may decide to alternate groups within one meeting, or they may alternate at each separate meeting. The most significant difference between this activity and most typical classroom activities involves the role of the teacher. In Socratic seminar, the students lead the discussion and questioning. The teacher's role is to ensure the discussion advances regardless of the particular direction the discussion takes.


Various approaches to Socratic seminar

Teachers use Socratic seminar in different ways. The structure it takes may look different in each classroom. While this is not an exhaustive list, teachers may use one of the following structures to administer Socratic seminar: # ''Inner/outer circle or fishbowl'': Students need to be arranged in inner and outer circles. The inner circle engages in discussion about the text. The outer circle observes the inner circle, while taking notes. The outer circle shares their
observations Observation is the active acquisition of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteristics. Th ...
and questions the inner circle with guidance from the teacher/facilitator. Students use constructive
criticism Critique is a wikt:method, method of disciplined, systematic study of a written or oral discourse. Although critique is commonly understood as fault finding and negative judgment,Rodolphe Gasché (2007''The honor of thinking: critique, theory, p ...
as opposed to making judgements. The students on the outside keep track of topics they would like to discuss as part of the debrief. Participants in the outer circle can use an observation checklist or notes form to monitor the participants in the inner circle. These tools will provide structure for listening and give the outside members specific details to discuss later in the seminar. The teacher may also sit in the circle but at the same height as the students. # ''Triad'': Students are arranged so that each participant (called a "pilot") in the inner circle has two "co-pilots" sitting behind them on either side. Pilots are the speakers because they are in the inner circle; co-pilots are in the outer circle and only speak during consultation. The seminar proceeds as any other seminar. At a point in the seminar, the
facilitator A facilitator is a person who helps a Social group, group of people to work together better, understand their common objectives, and plan how to achieve these objectives, during meetings or discussions. In doing so, the facilitator remains "neutr ...

facilitator
pauses the discussion and instructs the triad to talk to each other. Conversation will be about topics that need more in-depth discussion or a question posed by the leader. Sometimes triads will be asked by the facilitator to come up with a new question. Any time during a triad conversation, group members can switch seats and one of the co-pilots can sit in the pilot's seat. Only during that time is the switching of seats allowed. This structure allows for students to speak, who may not yet have the confidence to speak in the large group. This type of seminar involves all students instead of just the students in the inner and outer circles. # ''Simultaneous seminars'': Students are arranged in multiple small groups and placed as far as possible from each other. Following the guidelines of the Socratic seminar, students engage in small group discussions. Simultaneous seminars are typically done with experienced students who need little guidance and can engage in a discussion without assistance from a teacher/facilitator. According to the literature, this type of seminar is beneficial for teachers who want students to explore a variety of texts around a main issue or topic. Each small group may have a different text to read/view and discuss. A larger Socratic seminar can then occur as a discussion about how each text corresponds with one another. Simultaneous Seminars can also be used for a particularly difficult text. Students can work through different issues and key passages from the text. No matter what structure the teacher employs, the basic premise of the seminar/circles is to turn partial control and direction of the classroom over to the students. The seminars encourage students to work together, creating meaning from the text and to stay away from trying to find a correct interpretation. The emphasis is on critical and creative thinking.


Text selection


=Socratic seminar texts

= A Socratic seminar text is a tangible document that creates a thought-provoking discussion. The text ought to be appropriate for the participants' current level of intellectual and social development. It provides the anchor for dialogue whereby the
facilitator A facilitator is a person who helps a Social group, group of people to work together better, understand their common objectives, and plan how to achieve these objectives, during meetings or discussions. In doing so, the facilitator remains "neutr ...

facilitator
can bring the participants back to the text if they begin to digress. Furthermore, the seminar text enables the participants to create a level playing field – ensuring that the dialogical tone within the classroom remains consistent and pure to the subject or topic at hand. Some practitioners argue that "texts" do not have to be confined to printed texts, but can include artifacts such as objects, physical spaces, and the like.


=Pertinent elements of an effective Socratic text

= Socratic seminar texts are able to challenge participants' thinking skills by having these characteristics: #''Ideas and values'': The text must introduce ideas and values that are complex and difficult to summarize. Powerful discussions arise from personal connections to abstract ideas and from implications to personal values. #''Complexity and challenge'': The text must be rich in ideas and complexity and open to interpretation. Ideally it should require multiple readings, but should be neither far above the participants' intellectual level nor very long. #''Relevance to participants' curriculum'': An effective text has identifiable themes that are recognizable and pertinent to the lives of the participants. Themes in the text should relate to the curriculum. #''
Ambiguity Ambiguity is a type of meaning Meaning most commonly refers to: * Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language * Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discussed in philosophy * ...
'': The text must be approachable from a variety of different perspectives, including perspectives that seem mutually exclusive, thus provoking critical thinking and raising important questions. The absence of right and wrong answers promotes a variety of discussion and encourages individual contributions.


=Two different ways to select a text

= Socratic texts can be divided into two main categories: # Print texts (e.g., short stories, poems, and essays) and non-print texts (e.g. photographs, sculptures, and maps); and # Subject area, which can draw from print or non-print artifacts. As examples, language arts can be approached through poems, history through written or oral historical speeches, science through policies on environmental issues, math through mathematical proofs, health through nutrition labels, and physical education through fitness guidelines.


Questioning methods

Socratic seminars are based upon the interaction of peers. The focus is to explore multiple perspectives on a given issue or topic.
Socratic questioning Socratic questioning (or Socratic maieutics) was named after Socrates Socrates (; grc, Σωκράτης ''Sōkrátēs'' ; – 399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Classical Athens, Athens who is credited as one of the founders of ...
is used to help students apply the activity to their learning. The
pedagogy Pedagogy (), most commonly understood as the approach to teaching, is the theory and practice of learning Learning is the process of acquiring new , , s, s, , attitudes, and s. The ability to learn is possessed by s, s, and some ; there is ...
of Socratic questions is open-ended, focusing on broad, general ideas rather than specific, factual information. The questioning technique emphasizes a level of questioning and thinking where there is no single right answer. Socratic seminars generally start with an open-ended question proposed either by the leader or by another participant. There is no designated first speaker; as individuals participate in Socratic dialogue, they gain
experience Experience refers to conscious , an English Paracelsian physician Consciousness, at its simplest, is " sentience or awareness of internal and external existence". Despite millennia of analyses, definitions, explanations and debates by philosoph ...

experience
that enables them to be effective in this role of initial questioner. The leader keeps the topic focused by asking a variety of questions about the text itself, as well as questions to help clarify positions when arguments become confused. The leader also seeks to coax reluctant participants into the discussion, and to limit contributions from those who tend to dominate. She or he prompts participants to elaborate on their responses and to build on what others have said. The leader guides participants to deepen, clarify, and paraphrase, and to synthesize a variety of different views. The participants share the responsibility with the leader to maintain the quality of the Socratic circle. They listen actively in order to respond effectively to what others have contributed. This teaches the participants to think and speak persuasively using the discussion to support their position. Participants must demonstrate respect for different ideas, thoughts and values, and must not interrupt each other. Questions can be created individually or in small groups. All participants are given the opportunity to take part in the discussion. Socratic circles specify three types of questions to prepare: #Opening questions generate discussion at the beginning of the seminar in order to elicit dominant themes. #Guiding questions help deepen and elaborate the discussion, keeping contributions on topic and encouraging a positive atmosphere and consideration for others. #Closing questions lead participants to summarize their thoughts and learning and personalize what they've discussed.


Psychotherapy

The Socratic method, in the form of
Socratic questioning Socratic questioning (or Socratic maieutics) was named after Socrates Socrates (; grc, Σωκράτης ''Sōkrátēs'' ; – 399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Classical Athens, Athens who is credited as one of the founders of ...
, has been adapted for psychotherapy, most prominently in
classical Adlerian psychotherapy Individual psychology is the psychological method or science founded by the Austrian people, Viennese psychiatrist Alfred Adler. The English language, English edition of Adler's work on the subject (1925) is a collection of papers and lectures given ...
,
logotherapy Logotherapy was developed by neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl Viktor Emil Frankl (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997) was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivors, Holocaust survivor. ...
,
rational emotive behavior therapy Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), previously called rational therapy and rational emotive therapy, is an active-directive, philosophically and empirical Empirical evidence is the information received by means of the senses, particular ...
,
cognitive therapy Cognitive therapy (CT) is a type of psychotherapy developed by American psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck. CT is one therapeutic approach within the larger group of cognitive behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) and was first expounded ...
and
reality therapy Reality therapy (RT) is an approach to psychotherapy Psychotherapy (also psychological therapy or talking therapy) is the use of psychological methods, particularly when based on regular personal interaction with adults, to help a person cha ...
. It can be used to clarify meaning, feeling, and consequences, as well as to gradually unfold insight, or explore alternative actions. The Socratic method has also recently inspired a new form of applied philosophy:
Socratic dialogue Socratic dialogue ( grc, Σωκρατικὸς λόγος) is a genre of literary prose developed in Greece at the turn of the fourth century BC. The earliest ones are preserved in the works of Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, ...
, also called
philosophical counselingPhilosophical consultancy, also sometimes called philosophical practice or philosophical counseling or clinical philosophy, is a contemporary movement in practical philosophy. Developing since the 1980s as a profession but since the 1950s as a prac ...
. In Europe Gerd B. Achenbach is probably the best known practitioner, and
Michel Weber Michel Weber (born 1963) is a Belgian philosopher. He is best known as an interpreter and advocate of the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, and has come to prominence as the architect and organizer of an overlapping array of international sch ...
has also proposed another variant of the practice.


Challenges and disadvantages

Scholars such as
Peter Boghossian Peter Gregory Boghossian () is an American philosopher and pedagogist. He is an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University Portland State University (PSU) is a Public university, public research university in Portland, Ore ...
suggest that although the method improves creative and critical thinking, there is a flip side to the method. He states that the teachers who use this method wait for the students to make mistakes, thus creating a kind of negative feelings in the class, exposing the student to possible ridicule and humiliation. Some have countered this thought by stating that the humiliation and ridicule is not caused by the method, rather it is due to the lack of knowledge of the student. Boghossian mentions that even though the questions may be perplexing, they are not originally meant for it, in fact such questions provoke the students and can be countered by employing counterexamples.


See also

*
Harkness table The Harkness table, Harkness method, or Harkness discussion is a teaching and learning method involving students seated in a large, oval configuration to discuss ideas in an encouraging, open-minded environment with only occasional or minimal teac ...
a teaching method based on the Socratic method * Marva Collins *
Pedagogy Pedagogy (), most commonly understood as the approach to teaching, is the theory and practice of learning Learning is the process of acquiring new , , s, s, , attitudes, and s. The ability to learn is possessed by s, s, and some ; there is ...
*''
The Paper ChasePaper Chase or Paperchase may refer to: * Paper Chase (game), a racing game * Paperchase, a UK premium stationery retailer operating internationally. * ''The Paper Chase'', a 1966 memoir by Hal Porter Fiction * The Paper Chase (novel), ''The Pape ...
''film based on a 1970
novel of the same name A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the for "new", "news", or "short story of something new", itself ...
, dramatizing the use of the Socratic method in law school classes * Socrates Cafe *
Socratic irony Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event in which what on the surface appears to be the case or to be expected differs radically from what is actually the case. Irony can be categorized into differe ...


References


Further reading

;Articles *Areeda, Philip E. (1996). "The Socratic Method". ''
Harvard Law Review The ''Harvard Law Review'' is a law review A law review (or law journal) is a scholarly journal or publication that focuses on a wide array of legal issues. A law review is a type of legal periodical. Typically, the law students initiate the p ...
'' 109(5), 911-922. *Darvhisi, Dariush (Winter 2012)
"Distinction between Dialectical methods of Socrates and Plato"
''Logical Study'' 2(4), pp. 49–76. * ;Books * Benson, Hugh (2000) ''Socratic Wisdom''. Oxford: Oxford University Press. * Bensen, Rebecca (2007) ''The Socratic Method'' in ''Continuum Studies in Ancient Philosophy''. Continuum International Publishing Group. * Frede, Michael (1992) 'Plato's Arguments and the Dialogue Form' in ''Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy'', Supplementary Volume, 201–19. * Jarratt, Susan C. (1991) ''Rereading the Sophists: Classical Rhetoric Refigured''. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press. * *


External links

* Robinson, Richard, ''Plato's Earlier Dialectic'', 2nd edition (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1953).
Ch. 2: Elenchus


– 'Tips on Starting your own Socrates Cafe', Christopher Phillips, Cecilia Phillips
Socraticmethod.net
Socratic Method Research Portal

– 'The Socratic Method' by Elizabeth Garrett (1998)

an example from Rick Garlikov
Project Gutenberg: Works by PlatoProject Gutenberg: Works by Xenophon
(includes some Socratic works)
Project Gutenberg: Works by Cicero
(includes some works in the "Socratic dialogue" format)
The Socratic Club
{{Authority control
Method Method ( grc, μέθοδος, methodos) literally means a pursuit of knowledge, investigation, mode of prosecuting such inquiry, or system. In recent centuries it more often means a prescribed process for completing a task. It may refer to: *Scien ...
Debate types Education in ancient Greece Educational psychology History of education Dialectic Inquiry Philosophical methodology Group problem solving methods