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Questionign - Socratic Questioning - Notes

Questionign - Socratic Questioning - Notes


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Published by Alan Forster
Teaching and Learning Resources
Teaching and Learning Resources

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Published by: Alan Forster on Aug 10, 2008
Copyright:Public Domain


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Socratic Questioning

Socratic Method
The question and answer method of philosophizing (dialectic) used by Socrates in Plato’s early dialogues (e.g., Euthyphro), often in conjunction with pretended ignorance (Socratic irony), whereby a self-professed expert’s overconfident claim to knowledge is subverted. More generally, Socratic method is any philosophical or pedagogical method that disinterestedly

Brilliant Questions !? Me ? !
• Don’t worry !!
– Socrates (like magicians) had methods all of us can use … he just never wrote anything down …

• Good reasoning   good
– Good reasoning has common elements, – Good questions seek revelation of those elements.

Elements of Reasoning
• All reasoning has… a purpose, • Is an attempt to figure something
out, settle some question, solve some problem.

Elements of Reasoning
• All reasoning is based on

assumptions, data, information, and evidence, and is done from some point of view.

Elements of Reasoning
• All reasoning is expressed through,

and shaped by, concepts and ideas.

Elements of Reasoning
• All reasoning contains inferences by

which we draw conclusions and give meaning to data, leads somewhere, has implications and consequences.

Classic Socratic Methods
• Law school dialectics.
– Calling on students to help present material. • Demands preparation, forethought, reasoning on the

• Medical diagnostics.
– Where does it hurt? • Correct diagnosis demands empathy (point of view),
precise data, critical assumptions to be made and checked; etc!

spot; etc!

• Criminal investigation.

– Working backward & forward along logic chains. • Finding and integrating evidence, questioning each

Classic Socratic Methods
• Scientific inquiry.
– Explicitly calls for differentiating and pursuing specific elements of reasoning. – Hypotheses are special (testable) questions, and should be encouraged often. – Don’t stop at “I don’t know” – ask your students how to reach for the knowledge with science!

Some Practical Rules
A Socratic questioner should:
a) keep the discussion focused b) keep the discussion intellectually responsible to the elements of reasoning c) stimulate the discussion with questions d) periodically summarize what has and what has not been dealt with and/or resolved e) draw as many students as possible into the discussion.

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