Leiter doesn’t like the Socratic Method

December 15th, 2011

Of course, anyone who has read the dialogues would have guessed as much:  why, after all, do his interlocutors get so mad at Socrates that they are always threatening to smack him?  Did law professors really believe their students don’t sometimes feel the same way when subjected to Socratic confusing?

I hope my students don’t want to slap me (though I will not use Socratic).

Leiter also links to this article in Time about why asking questions might not be the best way to teach.

This computerized-Socratic method could be interesting:

Green has his own ideas about the future of the ancient philosopher’s practice. He is working on digitizing the Socratic method: creating a computer program that will pose a series of questions about a philosophical problem, adjusting subsequent queries to challenge the user and reveal the flaws in her reasoning. Green has begun the venture by programming answers to familiar philosophical chestnuts like the mind-body problem and the question of free will. Ultimately, however, he plans to allow users to contribute their own content to the program (vetted by philosophy professors and graduate students who will maintain the site): a kind of Wiki-Socrates. Green’s project, which he hopes to make available to the public this summer, may seem a long way from the dialogues of Socrates’ Athens — but it’s simply the latest exchange in a conversation lasting 2,000 years.