Are We Slaves to Socrates?

Are some of the newest innovations in teaching new, or is there some precedent in classical literature? Here is an interesting look at the teaching done in Plato’s dialogue, Meno. However, was this the standard sort of education done in antiquity? From what I understand, no. Should we do something like this today? I think so. the real.


In the previous three posts I looked at a perceived over-obsession with ‘understanding,’ ‘thinking’ and questioning in modern education; not that any of these three things were not desirable, but that their obsessive and blinkered pursuit was perhaps not yielding the gains we would expect.

In this final post in the series, I would like to speculate as to from where this obsession might originate, by looking at Socrates’ thoughts on education, as outlined by Plato.

Let’s start by looking at an excellent example of ‘the Socratic method’ as given by Plato in The Meno:

Socrates asks that Meno bring a slave to them.  His being a slave is important, since being born and raised in Meno’s household, Meno can attest that the slave was never taught any geometry, though the slave does understand what a square is, and can count and multiply.  The following is paraphrased, since the…

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