SOCRATIC METHOD

SOCRATIC METHOD

Socratic method. A technique of philosophical discussion ¡ª and of law-school instruction ¡ª by which the questioner (a law professor) questions one or more followers (the law students), building on each answer with another question, esp. an analogy incorporating the answer. ? This method takes its name from the Greek philosopher Socrates, who lived in Athens about 469¨C399 B.C.His method is a traditional one in law schools, primarily because it forces law students to think through issues rationally and deductively ¡ª a skill required in the practice of law. Most law professors who employ this method call on students randomly, an approach designed to teach students to think quickly, without stage fright. Cf. CASEBOOK METHOD; HORNBOOK METHOD.

¡°[Socrates] himself did not profess to be capable of teaching anything, except consciousness of ignorance …. He called his method of discussion (the Socratic method) obstetrics… because it was an art of inducing his interlocutors to develop their own ideas under a catechetical system.¡± 5 The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia 5746 (rev. ed. 1914).


TermBase Contributor
Carl, Chinese legal translator, specializes in translating legal documents pertaining to complex business disputes.