I am a big follower of Socratic method. Are you asking yourself…what was that again?
Well, here we go.
Wiki describes it as-
Socratic method: It is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions. 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. This process is highly disciplined and requires that both the parties show restrain and do not indulge in emotional debate; the reason and logic must prevail and tantamount to an intelligent exercise.
It is a dialectical method, often involving a discussion in which the defense of one point of view is questioned; one participant may lead another to contradict themselves in some way, thus weakening the defender’s point. In this method the main focus is on giving the questions a more sharpening cut, much like what the jeweler does with the diamond, such that questions shines forth with brilliance and answer is a natural outcome of this exercise. This model requires a person to be of an inquiring mind, which continually probes into the subject at hand with ever refined questions.
This method was introduced by the Greek philosopher Socrates (469 BC–399 BC), a controversial resident of the the city of Athens, in his well known disciple Plato’s work entitled ‘Theaetetus‘ as a process akin to midwifery because it is employed to bring out definitions implicit in the interlocutors’ beliefs, or to help them further their understanding. The Socratic method searches for general, commonly held truths or facts that shape beliefs, and scrutinizes them to determine their consistency with other beliefs. Aristotle, another Greek philosopher and tutor of Alexander the Greek, attributed to Socrates the discovery of the method of definition and induction, which he regarded as the essence of the scientific method and all intellectual investigation.
Paul, R. and Elder, L. in their work ‘Foundation For Critical Thinking‘ state the following list where each element of reasoning represents a dimension into which one can delve while questioning or mooting a point. In the modern version of the method, we can
– question goals and purposes.
– probe into the nature of the question, problem, or issue.
– inquire into whether or not we have relevant data and information.
– consider alternative interpretations of the data and information.
– analyze key concepts and ideas and the assumptions being made.
– ask the opponent to trace out the implications and consequences of what they are saying.
– consider alternative points of view.
Thus, this dialectical method which works as a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject, but wishing to establish the truth through arguments based on sound reasoning is the best method of arriving at a solution and well suited to a civilized world. What do you think?
In some blog, we shall explore the world of Indian philosophers of antiquity who were called the dārśanika (दार्शनिक) which literally translates as the seer or the witness and philosophy was known as dārśan shastra (दर्शन शास्त्र). Their work is sometimes distinct from the work of Sages or the rishis (ऋषि) who were the knower and living embodiment of the unitary underlying order called rta (ऋतं) in the all inclusive universe. The concept of natural law or dharma (धर्म) was the basis for understanding how life on earth should be lived in harmony with the rest of the existence.