Socrates was a great philosopher in the classical period of the Greek history, a period popularly known as the Socratic period, running from the year 469-399 B.C. Socrates is recognised as one of the enigmatic figures and founders of western philosophy. Unlike predecessors who were actively concerned about the philosophy of the world and how it worked, Socrates philosophy was more about human relationship and behaviours. He is perhaps the first philosopher to introduce and address ethics in philosophy. However, most of what is known about him is mainly through his protege and most influential student, Plato, who carried on what his master taught presenting it through dialogues. Socrates made invaluable contribution not only in the field of ethics but also epistemology, logic and the methodology of philosophy (Stumpf, 08). This paper examines one of his greatest ideas popularly known Socrates methods.
According to (Meckstroth, 51), the Socrates Method is way of finding the truth by ones own means through asking a series of logical questions that eliminate and narrows the possible answers to the most logical one. It the method of seeking to find truth by ones light without accepting what has been fundamentally accepted as true. It is a philosophical and intellectual inquiry technique. Further (Woods, 67) notes that the technique allows one to interrogate using some vintage points. It makes inquiry open to everyone so much that one does not need to subscribe to any philosophical idea or viewpoint, instead through deliberate questioning, people can achieve common speech that makes common sense (Woods, 68). Socratic Method questioned fundamentalism and conventions calling on people to evaluate what this rules and regulation meant. It asked the very pertinent question on whether these conventions offers real solutions and direction to peoples everyday issues or whether they can help in peoples self-awareness and understanding of human excellence and virtue.
Although Socrates never quite spelled out the method as a theory, the Socratic Method was derived and named after him following his system and philosophical life. Socrates approached issues of contention by asking a series of question to his audiences and helps them make sense and form opinion and conclusions.
Socrates method is not a simple questioning process, it is an art that requires not just a brilliant or alert mental state, which most people can achieve, but also requires that one possess a character of virtue and excellent qualities (Stumpf, 11). One has to exemplify virtues in sincerity, honesty, courage and humility. This virtue comes in handy and helps the individuals engaging in the method for truth finding, to protect themselves from the possibility of attack and criticism or open violence (Meckstroth, 55). The questioning process elicits different reaction from the respondent who may be not too willing to engage in a meaningful debate.
The methods exposes peoples different opinion on issues and concepts they engage with on a daily basis (Meckstroth, 59). It shows the tenability or otherwise about peoples philosophies. Socrates method also reveals that even the universally recognised and accepted ideologies when evaluated and scrutinised can reveal that they are not all agreeable from one person to the next (Woods, 73). It is clear that and that everyone holds an almost different opinion on different concept.
According to (Woods, 74), unlike other systematic questioning process, the Socrates method attempts to explore the consequences various views and opinion them determines the most suitable and compelling alternatives and or objections. While scientific methods of inquiry investigate something up to the point where it is measurable, Socrates Method of inquiry addresses fundamental and basic human concern that cannot be captured or measured by scientific means such as sorrow and suffering or love. Socrates was more concerned with human beings and what lied within each person (Woods, 76). His method achieved this end as it exposed the realms of self-knowledge at the same time criticising dogmatisms and fundamental faiths and superstitions that made no sense (Woods, 79). Socrates understood that beyond the mask of wealth and power, human beings are moral and practical and he sought to find the inbuilt character and excellence that is and should be in every man.
This method of cross examination helped people not to just question others but also understand themselves better (Friedlander, 40). People could see what their views and take about certain opinions and concepts really were the first step towards enlighten and honesty. Regular cross examination and evaluation of ones opinions and views made people more open minded, more interactive and happier (Friedlander, 43). The method does not just enable people to define virtue and criticise the vices but also it is some kind of a moral reformatory tool. It compelled people to address individual dogmatism thus becoming free (Woods, 80). Moreover, it forces people to become more honest and sincere in addressing issues so that they do not criticise or question only that which interest them but be mindful and exhaustive in dealing with issues.
Finally, the Socrates methodology of philosophy is one of the most appreciated philosophical ideas even in the 21st century (Meckstroth, 57). Most fields of education, not just philosophy, but law and even science have employed the Socrates method (Meckstroth 58). The method has enable people narrow their solution to the finite form by eliminating solutions that are not logical or relevant thus avoiding wasting time and resources chasing ghost. Socrates as a philosopher and his work will stay with us.
Meckstroth, Christopher. "Socratic method and political science." American Political Science
Review 106.03 (2012): 644-660.
Stumpf, Samuel Enoch, and James Fieser. Philosophy: History and Readings. McGraw-Hill,
Woods, Cathal, Ryan Pack, and Andrew Bailey. "The Defense of Socrates and Related
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