Intermède : The Socratic method

Socratic method (also known as method of elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate), named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is adialectical method, often involving a discussion in which the defense of one point of view is questioned; one participant may lead another to contradict themself in some way, thus strengthening the inquirer’s own point.

Socrates generally applied his method of examination to concepts that seem to lack any concrete definition; e.g., the key moral concepts at the time, the virtues of piety, wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice. Such an examination challenged the implicit moral beliefs of the interlocutors, bringing out inadequacies and inconsistencies in their beliefs, and usually resulting in aporia.