Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 5, No. 4 (2008)

Between Dialectic, Eristic and Deconstruction: Of Socratic Methods and Higher Education in the 21st Century

Raymond Aaron Younis, CQU


Plato linked the Socratic Method to dialectic – in contrast to “eristic” which characterised the discourses of the “sophoi” – as a way of attaining knowledge and understanding in the epistemological as well as ethical domains. It will be argued here the Socratic Method, with some modifications, remains a functional and significant method in education, in spite of a number of critiques from some advocates of deconstruction and in spite of some recent emphases on “aporia” and the problematic nature of the Socratic “elenchos”. It will also be argued that the “Socratic Method” far from being a tired or exhausted paradigm, can, with some modifications, allow for a significant degree of “play”, just as it can provide, in the age of informatics, an important catalyst by which the creativity of learners in distant or regional areas can be stimulated as well as realised.

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