In this video my guest, Max Maxwell, explains Socratic Dialog and demonstrates how to engage in Socratic conversations with an open mind as we discuss justice and the purpose of government.
The Socratic Method is especially important today since political discussions are often so polarized, and people tend to act in a less than charitable way when discussing issues that they disagree on.
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Here of some additional guidelines for Socratic Dialog that we can derive from Plato's Gorgias:
1. Both participants must desire to understand what the argument is about; in this way they advance the argument.
2. Both parties in the dialogue must understand that the one who asks the questions is speaking on behalf of the audience, many of whom are too shy to speak. The questioner is interested not only for his own sake but also for that of people in general.
3. Both speakers must have good will and must be consistent or the conversation must be ended.
4. If the answerer gets caught in a contradiction he must not become angry. Now we know that what what we thought was in error and are is less ignorant. Socrates says that no person wants to be in error.
5. When agreement is achieved, we have friendship. Truth has the power to unite human beings in friendship, but error and falsehooods do not.
6. Contradiction guarantees what is said is not true; if there is a choice between what is contradictory and what is not contradictory, what is not contradictory, however absurd, must be true.
7. Engaging in dialog is the highest good - to engage in dialog is to do philosophy.
8. A certain type of character or temperament is necessary for engaging in dialogue (1) knowledge: we must recognize when words square with reality; (2) good will: that is, each participant must have the other's welfare at heart. We must be arguing for truth, not victory; (3) we must speak freely and say what is on our mind and not hold back.
For even more information, see this excellent video series on what Socratic Dialog is not.