Socratic of our beliefs. Socratic questioning is based

Socratic questioning is at the heart of critical
thinking. It allows to develop and evaluate one’s thinking. It encourages the
critical thinker to slow down their thinking and elaborate on it. It is an
opportunity to develop and test your ideas or the ideas of others. It is a way
to explore unconscious beliefs, unchecked assumptions and any kind of knowledge
that is presented to you. Socratic questioning helps the critical thinker to
synthetize their beliefs into a more coherent and better developed perspective.
It is one of the tools for facilitating knowledge integration and evaluation.

It consists in probing questions. By wondering aloud
by making the questions explicit. As we explained the subconscious is a store
house, it contains all the previously acquired knowledge of an individual. The
conscious mind directs and manages the subconscious through the use of
questions that help make available the relevant stored knowledge to the
conscious mind. By making the questioning open and explicit one is gaining
control on the integration process and on the evaluation of the knowledge.

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Socratic questioning is the method used by Socrates in
Athens to acquire knowledge by a consistent and persistent questioning of the
interlocutor when the latter claims to possess some knowledge. Through this
questioning one can unveil the assumptions that the interlocutor is using and also
bring the interlocutor into internal contradictions if they exist. Of course
this can also be applied to oneself in an internal dialogue in order to make
explicit and clear the basis and solidity of our beliefs.

Socratic questioning is based on the idea that all
thinking has a logic or structure, that any statement only partially reveals
the thinking underlying it, expressing no more than a tiny piece of the system
of interconnected beliefs of which it is a part. It is like revealing the
hiding part of the iceberg. Its purpose is to expose the logic of someone’s
thought. It links with the 8 elements of thoughts explained previously. Using
Socratic questions explores the following points: All thinking has assumptions;
makes claims; has implications or consequences; focuses on essentials and
throws the rest to the background; uses concepts and ideas; is defined by
purposes, issues or problems; uses facts, evidence and data. Critical thinking
is a thinking done with and effective self-monitoring awareness of these
points. The monitoring of these points is done through the use of Socratic

Socratic questioning will take one from the unreasoned
to the reasoned, from the unclear to the clear, from the implicit to the
explicit, from the unexamined to the examined, from the inconsistent to the
consistent, from the unarticulated to the articulated. To be a good questioner
one has to learn how to listen carefully, look for reasons and evidences,
recognize and reflect upon assumptions, discover implications and consequences,
seek examples, analogies and objections. In short it is to discover what it is
really known and distinguish it from what is merely believed.


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