The Socratic Method is named after the classical Greek philosopher and teacher Socrates (ca. 470-399 B. C.), is based on the practice of disciplined, rigorously thoughtful dialogue. Socrates engaged his students with continual question after question in an unending search for truth and answers. He sought to get to the individual’s views by asking several questions until a contradiction was exposed, thus providing the fallacy of the initial assumption.
The Socratic Method is a tool used to engage individuals or groups in a discussion, using probing questions to get to the heart of a subject matter, stimulate critical thinking, and create new ideas by engaging in analytical discussion. It helps discover beliefs about some topic, explore a definition, seek general characteristics shared by various particular instances, or to help further their understanding. Is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas.
The Socratic Method uses Socratic questioning, a systematic process of questions to examine and explore ideas or beliefs. Plato a student of Socrates described “Socratic questioning” as one individual feigns ignorance about a given subject to allow the other person’s to achieve fullest knowledge of the topic. Socrates used to assume that the ideas were incomplete during the process of questioning, and therefore will lead to greater truth and accuracy
Socratic questioning can be used to probe assumptions, rationale, reasons, to question viewpoints and evidence, implications and consequences. Examples of Socratic questioning that would get the individual to think more about what exactly he is asking or thinking about, prove the concepts behind the argument, or just basic ‘tell me more’ questions that get him/her to go deeper would be questions such as: Why are you saying that? What exactly does this mean? How does this relate to what we have been talking about? What is the nature of ? What do we already know about this? Can you give me an example? Why is that happening? How do you know this? Show me ? What do you think causes ? What is the nature of this? Are these reasons good enough? How can I be sure of what you are saying? What evidence is there to support what you are saying? How do you know this?
Most arguments are given from a particular position: What alternative ways of looking at this are there? Who benefits from this? What is the difference between and ? Why is it better than ? What are the strengths and weaknesses of ? How are and similar? How could you look at this another way?
Socrates valued the knowledge and understanding already present within people and thought that using this knowledge could be beneficial in understanding one’s own nature, abilities and limitations and gain a greater insight into oneself, including one's beliefs, desires, and sensations. By being able to understand oneself, it would enable individuals to have an understanding of others as a result.
We pursue self-knowledge by looking within and asking probing questions of ourselves to gain a better understanding of our own beliefs, wishes and wants. We ask questions such as Who am I? What is my Purpose in life? We arrive at answers that become self-awareness and a representation of ourselves.
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