Socratic method

Socrates is considered to date as one of the most relevant philosophers that have existed throughout history, he was a moral philosopher, founder of Western philosophy. His contribution to the field of philosophy has been mainly in the ethical field and his teachings included the concepts of justice , virtue , love and knowledge . One of his contributions was made through the Socratic method , a means by which new ideas were sought, raising the human capacity to mature.

What is the Socratic method?

The Socratic method is a type of methodology by means of which it seeks to raise the idea that human beings have the ability to mature , to reflect and to be able to use all the resources they have to be able to solve the problems that arise.

  • Definition
  • Characteristics of the Socratic method
  • Target
  • Steps of the Socratic method
  • Importance
  • Examples of the Socratic method


In itself, the Socratic method is a means by which one may develop the thought of such critical . It is also known as Socratic debate and its name comes from Socrates , an ancient Greek philosopher. It is a way of being able to establish the dialectic and the logical demonstration in order to find and investigate new ideas. It is a type of methodology in which the idea and the affirmation that man has the ability to grow and mature and then use all the resources available to him to think critically about his problems and find solutions is raised .

It can be said that it is basically a type of dialogue between two or more people, in which one of them will be the one that guides the other through the elaboration of a series of questions for which it will use various resources with the aim of being able resolve any doubts and conflicts that exist.

Characteristics of the Socratic method

Perhaps one of the main characteristics of the Socratic method is the search to eliminate all kinds of pretense of certainty in order to establish an understanding that has greater depth on a specific topic. It is a method that questions absolutely everything so that no detail is left without being investigated.

It is based mainly on the belief related to doubts , because for the method, questions can produce great uncertainty, so it tries to eliminate all the barriers that exist that may prevent reaching a higher level of understanding .

The Socratic method is characterized by having the ability to create and bring about new ideas and points of view by the people who participate and at the same time, by the creation of different types of contradictions and hypotheses . Conversations tend to have a more intellectual tone and debates are characterized by being stimulated by questions that manage to establish new thoughts.

Another characteristic is the use of dialogues or conversations as a type of work, characterized by being able to listen to the counterpart but at the same time contradicting what he is mentioning. All participants will have the opportunity to contribute their beliefs or ideas to achieve this way to reach the truth . This is why it is considered a completely constructive technique .

It also has doubt , which is necessary to start the process. It has conceptualization because it also seeks to find and establish new concepts through the discovery of definitions and it is an inductive method because it seeks to create doubt in the original scoop through questioning. Finally, it is characterized by having deduction and produces a positive mental exercise for the person who practices it.


The main objective of the Socratic method is to increase the understanding that one has on a certain topic through the use of the words of a human being to be able to convince him that he actually has less knowledge than he thought, making This way the person has to open his mind and study new possibilities that he probably had not considered before.

Also seek to answer a series of questions to have more possibilities of thought which in the end, manage to give the individual a more rewarding feeling, helping him to improve and increase confidence . Trying to make the person find the answers to a certain problem by himself is another of his objectives, as is promoting autonomous thinking to encourage the growth of moral maturity and intellect .

Steps of the Socratic method

The steps that must be followed in order to apply the Socratic method are the following:

  • Firstly, a question is established or raised, which can be expressed using some questions, such as, what is science? What is love? What is respect?
  • Before proceeding to challenge the person’s mind and point of view, it is important to ask what evidence you have to defend the issue.
  • Later, the interlocutor will have to think and give an answer which will be immediately debated or discussed by the teacher. This phase of the process is known as irony .
  • If the person accepts that there are some exceptions to what they believe, then they should be asked to restate their argument .
  • Then, a discussion will be created related to the topic that has been raised previously and seeks to create confusion and discomfort , aspects that according to Socrates are necessary to achieve learning. It is important to remember that the method does not seek to prove that a person thinks in the wrong way, so aggressive or very uncomfortable questions should be avoided.
  • The discussion ends at the moment in which the person, through the help of his teacher, can reach a better and more precise knowledge regarding the subject under investigation, although it is very common for the subject to remain unfinished.


The Socratic method is of utmost importance because it has the ability to induce the individual to find his own way. It is vital in the educational field because it is the ideal way to awaken in the student the constant desire to know and learn new things, making the student become an active protagonist of their educational training , turning the teacher into a mentor , who is He will be in charge of accompanying him and guiding him to create a more comprehensive training, a better moral and ethical development in the field of education.

It is also a method widely used in some fields of medicine such as clinical psychology , health and psychotherapy as it is considered one of the most effective methods to take advantage of the resources that a certain patient has to improve their condition.

Examples of the Socratic method

Some examples of the Socratic method are mentioned below:

  • When a child performs an improper action, his parents will begin to dialogue with him to question him, with the main objective of being able to discover the truth of the matter and why it happened.
  • In a classroom, the teacher starts a discussion with his students to investigate a certain topic. This discussion will end when everyone has reached a conclusion that is satisfactory to all participants.
  • It is used in the field of education within the classroom when a teacher makes students learn jointly and constructively.

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