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The art of thought-provoking inquiries: exploring Socratic questioning


The Socratic method of questioning is a way of engaging in dialogue and critical thinking by asking questions to challenge and clarify ideas. This method was named after the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, who was known for his use of questioning to help his students think critically and arrive at their own conclusions."Socratic questioning encourages learners to analyze their own assumptions, consider multiple perspectives, and arrive at logical conclusions, which are crucial elements for the development of critical thinking skills"remarks Gaurav Mandal. He devised a mnemonic to learn diffrent steps of Socratic thinking -CAPHEC

Here are some examples of Socratic questioning:

  • Clarification: What do you mean by that? Can you give me an example? What is the main point you are trying to make? These questions help to clarify the meaning of the statement or idea being discussed.

  • Assumptions: What assumptions are you making? Are these assumptions valid? These questions help to identify and challenge any underlying assumptions that might be influencing the statement or idea being discussed.

  • Perspective: How would someone else view this situation? What is another way of looking at it? These questions help to explore different perspectives and challenge any biases or assumptions that might be influencing the statement or idea being discussed.

  • Hypotheticals: What if the situation were different? How would your argument change? These questions help to consider hypothetical scenarios and explore how they might impact the statement or idea being discussed.

  • Evidence: What evidence do you have to support that claim? Can you give me some examples or data? These questions help to determine the evidence or reasoning behind the statement or idea being discussed.

  • Consequences: What are the potential consequences of that idea? What might happen if we follow that line of thinking? These questions help to consider the potential outcomes or implications of the statement or idea being discussed.

By asking these types of questions, the Socratic method helps individuals to think critically and engage in meaningful dialogue that can lead to a deeper understanding of complex ideas and concepts.

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