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Introduction to the Socratic Method and its Effect on Critical Thinking

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Introduction to the Socratic Method and its Effect on Critical Thinking

Post by actinglikeabanker on Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:42 am

Introduction to the Socratic Method and its Effect on Critical Thinking

Max Maxwell wrote:The Socratic method is one of the most famous, least used, and least understood teaching and conversation practices. The Socratic method of questioning is named after the Greek philosopher Socrates (469 BC–399 BC), who lived in Athens Greece. His father was Sophroniscus, a stone cutter, and his mother was Phaenarete, a midwife. His mother’s profession of midwife is how Socrates would later characterize his own profession. Socrates believed that the highest benefit of his art was to help people do their own thinking in a way that lead to the birth of their own new ideas. In Socratic dialogues, the primary focus is on the original thinking of the respondent as they try to answer Socrates' questions. A new idea, once it was delivered through Socrates philosophical midwife practice of limiting himself to asking questions, was then examined to determine if the idea is a "false phantom or an instinct with life and truth" (Theaetetus). This examination involved Socrates asking more questions, which help the respondents think critically about their previous answers.

The subjects of Socrates' conversations often revolved around defining ideas such as, justice, virtue, beauty, courage, temperance, and friendship. The search for a definition focused on the true nature of the subject under question and not just on how the word is used correctly in a sentence. Socrates style of conversation involved his own denial of knowledge (Socratic irony). In these conversations, Socrates became the student and made those he questioned the teacher. Socrates rejected any attempts to pass off another person's ideas or the beliefs of the majority as truth. Socrates was not interested in the talk of others. He only wanted to focus on the respondents own thinking. Through the respondent's process of answering Socrates' questions, they experienced their own original thinking in the context of examining their own ideas and themselves. The brilliance of the Socratic method is in the character developing power it has through the exercise of a person's love of asking and answering questions in the pursuit of knowledge.

The Socratic method, with its focus on a person's original and critical thinking in the context of life's important questions, is foundational to human moral development. Vlastos and Graham offer an important insight into the value of the Socratic method:.....
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