Sat, Mar 20

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A Socratic Method: How to Do Philosophy

What is the Socratic Method? How did the Stoics and other classical philosophers think and discuss?

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A Socratic Method: How to Do Philosophy

Time & Location

Mar 20, 2021, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM GMT+1

meet.jit.si/BerlinStoicsSocraticMethod

About the Event

Greetings fellow Stoics!

This week we will be discussing the Socratic Method. Now, Socrates wasn't a Stoic – perhaps in some ways he was, but the Stoic school had not begun until Zeno's legendary encounter with one of Socrates' works and his tutelage under the Cynics thereafter. But the Socratic Method has had a profound impact on philosophers and especially the ways in which philosophers think, the way they reflect, and the way in which they discuss and argue problems. This is was especially the case for even the Stoics who still relied on Socrates' dialogic method to build the foundations of their system and solve the many problems which it implied. Even more so, the Socratic Method or elenchus is not so much a way to gain knowledge, but a way to critically examine your own underlying beliefs (in the Stoics' case their passions) until you uncover their falseness and your ignorance that you may in fact know less than you thought you did. So to understand how the Stoics really thought better, we will in the first hour of our discussion introduce and encounter examples of the Socratic Method, and during the second hour we will explore how the Stoics made use of this method and how Stoicism can grow from it – to wit, how can we as Stoics use the Socratic Method to think and act more wisely, temperately, courageously, and justly?

Below I link some resources to help you understand Socrates, his famous method or elenchus, and the connection with Stoicism. First, three general resources to introduce you to the Socratic Method, and then the fourth source link to Plato's works – I recommend the Apology and The Republic as these are his most famous works and he uses Socrates as an interlocuter applying his method:

  • http://www.ditext.com/robinson/dia2.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socratic_method
  • http://www.socraticmethod.net
  • http://classics.mit.edu/Browse/browse-Plato.html

This second set of sources is specifically about the connections between Stoicism and Socrates:

  • https://donaldrobertson.name/2018/04/18/three-ideas-the-stoics-learned-from-socrates/
  • https://thewisemind.net/stoicism-in-the-eyes-of-socrates/
  • https://medium.com/stoicism-philosophy-as-a-way-of-life/marcus-aurelius-in-therapy-441cb64a045b

You can also post further recommended reading on the topic or related topics in our discussion forum here: https://www.berlinstoics.com/forum/recommendations/socratic-method.

Please submit Leitfragen/prompts you would like discussed either here in our forum https://www.berlinstoics.com/forum/weekly-leitfragen-prompts/march-20-2021-socratic-method-leitfragen or in our Telegram group chat (more on this below). You can submit yours right up until the start of the meetup and Steve will select a few to cover.

Before concluding, we have a tentative lineup for the next month of Berlin Stoics meetups:

  1. March 20: A Socratic Method: How to Do Philosophy
  2. March 27: Women in Stoicism / Stoic Women, in honor of International Women's Day (March 8) – organized and facilitated by Eva
  3. April 3: Service in Stoicism, in honor of April, the Stoic Month of Service
  4. April 24: Marcus Aurelius and the Meditations, in honor of his birthday

There are some gaps to fill and after the meetup on the Socratic Method the lineup may change a little, so beware this is only what we know now.

A couple of words: (1) If you haven't already, you can join our Telegram discussion group and our announcements channel by contacting us with your cell number and we'll add you. (2) The link to this event will be posted between 20 and 10 minutes ahead of the start time, and we use https://meet.jit.si/ for our video conferencing. (3) Lastly, we have recently been streaming our events live on youtube and saving them on file, especially for those who cannot make particular events; at the start of each event, Steve will of course ask if everyone is okay or anyone has a problem with this.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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