Sunday, July 3, 2011

Socratic Method - Law School Learning

It's again first semester of a new school year, 2011-2012. My second year at the University of the East Law School, but still taking up more first year subjects because I am just taking several units per semester. 


Working and at the same time studying is a great deal and to add up the complexities of life responsibilities and pressures. But these things indeed make my journey to life worthwhile.


Lastly, I am sharing below the excerpts of my online research on Socratic Method by the Greek philosopher Socrates. This method of learning is widely used in most if not all Law schools.


Socratic method

Perhaps his most important contribution to Western thought is his dialectic method of inquiry, known as the Socratic method or method of "elenchus", which he largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts such as the Good and Justice. It was first described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. To solve a problem, it would be broken down into a series of questions, the answers to which gradually distill the answer a person would seek. The influence of this approach is most strongly felt today in the use of the scientific method, in which hypothesis is the first stage. The development and practice of this method is one of Socrates' most enduring contributions, and is a key factor in earning his mantle as the father of political philosophy, ethics or moral philosophy, and as a figurehead of all the central themes in Western philosophy.

To illustrate the use of the Socratic method; a series of questions are posed to help a person or group to determine their underlying beliefs and the extent of their knowledge. The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. It was designed to force one to examine one's own beliefs and the validity of such beliefs. In fact, Socrates once said, "I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others."[17]

An alternative interpretation of the dialectic is that is a method for direct perception of the Form of the Good. Philosopher Karl Popper describes the dialectic as "the art of intellectual intuition, of visualising the divine originals, the Forms or Ideas, of unveiling the Great Mystery behind the common man's everyday world of appearances."[18] In a similar vein French philosopher Pierre Hadot suggests that the dialogues are a type of spiritual exercise. "Furthermore," writes Hadot, "in Plato's view, every dialectical exercise, precisely because it is an exercise of pure thought, subject to the demands of the Logos, turns the soul away from the sensible world, and allows it to convert itself towards the Good."[19]
Bust of Socrates at the Vatican Museum

~Article source:

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