What is Socratic Method, Maiotic Inquiry (Meiotic)?

What is Socratic Method, Maiotic Inquiry (Meiotic)?

June 28, 2021 Off By Felso

The Socratic Method is the method Socrates uses in his philosophical inquiries. This method of Socrates is also called the method of giving birth because his mother is a midwife. The method is referred to as meiotic or meiotic.

Socrates does not claim to teach anyone anything, and he also argues that no one can teach anyone anything. According to him, every person already has everything he knows from birth.

What can be done is to reveal the information in one’s self or with a good teacher. This is done in a certain way and is also referred to as the ‘Socratic Method’.

What is currently known on the subject?
Information on the subject is concretized under certain definitions and it is checked whether the definitions are valid for each situation. To show, if any, the internal contradictions of the definitions and the shortcomings of the definitions in relation to what is happening.
As a result of the critical evaluations, when all kinds of false assumptions that may prevent new learning are cleared, that is, when the person learns that he does not know anything about the subject under discussion, he is ready for new learning. In this respect, the first thing to do is to first become conscious of ignorance.
After all this, within the framework of the dialogue, with the right questions, what is in the person is revealed, and finally, these revealed ones are re-evaluated and the conversation is ended.
The purpose of the Socratic method is to reveal the information in one’s self or in the company of a good teacher.

The ‘Socratic Method’, which we tried to briefly summarize above, has negative elements.

This negativity also manifests itself in his attempt to refute the prophecy of the oracle of Delphi, on whose behalf he and a relative went, that the wisest person was Socrates.

Socrates is shown to be more virtuous than people who know a lot, showing that he is knowledgeable enough to realize his ignorance.


There are three basic elements of the Socratic method, which is based on conversation or dialectic, which is based on the individual’s remembering the truths hidden in his mind.

The first element is debugging by conversation, which forms the basis of dialectics.

The second is reaching and giving birth to the truth believed to exist in the nature of the individual through questioning.

Third, the questioning process is under the control of divine grace (God’s goodness and wisdom in worldly affairs) or Diamonion.

1. Weeding out false claims

The first element is asking questions and getting answers. In the question-answer process, firstly, presenting a collection of examples about the questioned subject and refuting the arguments made in the collection of individual examples (elenchos) are performed. Then comes the rational discussion.

The first element of the Socratic method, which has a dialectical nature, aims to show that the propositions or definitions put forward are not true, that is, to refute it.

The first element is making a general argument; It proceeds by trying to weaken and disprove the argument through logical and linguistic analyzes, and then to put forward a new argument that does not contain the errors and shortcomings of the previous argument and try to refute it.

It can be summarized as the thesis-antithesis-synthesis process. The synthesis reached in the process is also considered as the thesis of the new process and the refutation (antithesis) process is applied.

This element is also called irony. Irony is when a person says something that is not serious seriously or expresses a serious issue as a joke or joke.

Irony sometimes has the privilege of not being directly understood. But Socrates’ irony is somewhat different. Socrates aimed to correct the wrongs of the people before him and then to show the truth.

In order to achieve this, he chose the way of conversation, that is, dialogue. During the conversation, he would say to the other person that he “doesn’t know anything” and allow him to express his ideas. He later revealed the errors of these thoughts.

He was explaining the mistakes of the other person one by one, almost making fun of him. For this reason, his famous sarcasm is accepted as the negative, destructive side of the Socratic method.

The Socratic Method basically consists of three stages.

For example; Socrates starts the discussion by saying “I don’t know anything” and ensures the self-confidence of the other. Later, during the discussion, he displays the impression that he is not ignorant at all with a sarcastic attitude about the subject under discussion and causes the self-confidence to be completely destroyed.

Socrates was very influential in irony and earned the title of unprecedented ironist. Therefore, irony has a very important place in the Socratic method. In the Socratic method, irony acquires a special dialectical form and becomes a way of communicating with people.

It is also important to mention Socratic elenchos (refutation) in the Socratic method.