Socratic dialogue



Write a 2-3 page, single-spaced Socratic dialogue focusing on ONE important question. (You may skip lines between each speaker’s statements.)



(1)  Choose a topic to write about which has real value or importance to you. Think about what the essence of that topic or question is. What is most important about that topic? Formulate a related “what is” question to write about in your dialogue. For example: “What is pleasure?” “What is efficiency?” “What is…?” The goal of the dialogue should be to inquire into this question through a question-answer, dialogue format.


(2)  One character should be a “questioner,” like Socrates “imaginary friend” in the Greater Hippias. The other could be a naïve inquirer, a friendly person, a mean-spirited person, a Sophist, a Presocratic, or a family member, etc.

(3)  Incorporate at least one “Socratic Refutation” into the discussion. This is a refutation of a character’s beliefs/definitions which occurs because the character him- or herself AGREES TO and BELIEVES IN THE TRUTH OF a set of INCONSISTENT (i.e. contradictory) statements. (NOTE:  I highly recommend that you MARK the place in your dialogue where you implement a Socratic refutation so that you do not forget to employ it.)

(4) Incorporate at least 1 additional element of a Socratic dialogue, e.g.:

– themes pertaining to the difference between “what X is” and “what X appears to be”

– themes pertaining to the difference between “examples” and “forms”

– one vs. many problems

– arrogant sophist vs. character willing to learn

– appetites/pleasures vs. reason

– the principle of non-contradiction

– use of mathematics, etc.

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