[TED-ed] 能夠增進批判性思考能力的工具_This tool will help improve your critical thinking — Erick Wilberding

Explore the technique known as the Socratic Method, which uses questions to examine a person’s values, principles, and beliefs. 探索蘇格拉底反詰法,此辯證法利用問題來檢視一個人的價值觀、原則和信仰。

Socrates, one of the founding fathers of Western philosophical thought, was on trial. Many Athenians believed he was a dangerous enemy of the state, accusing the philosopher of corrupting the youth and refusing to recognize their gods. However, Socrates wasn’t feared for claiming to have all the answers, but rather, for asking too many questions.

身為西方哲學思想的奠基人之一的蘇格拉底正在接受審判。許多雅典人認為他是國家的危險敵人,指責這位哲學家使青年腐敗,和拒絕承認他們的神祇。但是,蘇格拉底並不擔心聲稱擁有所有的答案,反而擔心問了太多問題。

While he loathed formal lectures, the philosopher frequently engaged friends and strangers in lengthy conversations about morality and society. These discussions weren’t debates, nor would Socrates offer explicit advice. In fact, the philosopher often claimed to know nothing at all, responding to his partner’s answers only with further questions. But through this process, Socrates probed their logic, revealing its flaws and helping both parties reach a more robust understanding. These insightful questions made Socrates beloved by his followers.

雖然這位哲學家討厭正式演講,但他經常與朋友和陌生人進行關於道德和社會的漫長對話。這些討論既不是辯論,蘇格拉底也不會提供明確的建議。實際上,這位哲學家常常聲稱自己一無所知,並且只用進一步的問題回應對方的答案。但是,通過此過程,蘇格拉底探究了他們的邏輯,揭示了其缺陷,並幫助雙方達成了更加穩固的理解。這些有洞察力的問題使蘇格拉底深受追隨者的喜愛。

Two of his students, Plato and Xenophon, were so inspired that they replicated their mentor’s process in fictional dialogues. These invented exchanges provide perfect examples of what would come to be known as the Socratic Method. In one of these fabricated dialogues, Socrates is conversing with a young man named Euthydemus, who is confident that he understands the nature of justice and injustice.

他的兩個學生柏拉圖(Plato)和色諾芬(Xenophon)受到了極大的啟發,以至於他們在虛構的對話中複製了他們導師的方法。這些虛擬的對話交流提供了所謂的蘇格拉底反詰法的完美範例。在其中一則虛擬對話中,蘇格拉底正在與一位名叫Euthydemus的年輕人交談,他有信心自己了解正義和不公正的本質。

Socrates probes the student’s values by asking him to label actions such as lying and theft as just or unjust. Euthydemus confidently categorizes them as injustices, but this only prompts another question: is it just for a general to deceive or pillage a hostile army? Euthydemus revises his assertion. He claims that these actions are just when done to enemies, and unjust when done to friends. But Socrates isn’t finished. He asks the young man to consider a commander lying to his troops to boost their morale. Before long, Euthydemus is despondent. It seems that every answer leads to further problems, and perhaps he’s not quite sure what constitutes justice after all.

蘇格拉底透過要求學生將諸如撒謊和盜竊之類的行為標記為公正或不公正來探究學生的價值觀。 Euthydemus自信地將它們歸類為不公正行為,但這也就引出了另一個問題:一位將軍欺騙或掠奪敵對部隊是公正的行為嗎? Euthydemus修改了他的主張。他聲稱這些行為是公正的如果是針對敵人而採取的,如果是對朋友採取的則是不公正的。但是蘇格拉底繼續問,他要求年輕人思考一個指揮官向他的軍隊撒謊,以鼓舞士氣的情境。不久,Euthydemus感到沮喪。似乎每個答案都會帶來進一步的問題,而他也許終究不太確定到底什麼構成了正義。

In employing this question-oriented approach, Socrates described himself as a midwife, whose inquiries assist others in giving birth to their ideas. His method of questioning draws out an individual’s unexamined assumptions, and then challenges those biases. It doesn’t always provide definitive answers, but the method helps clarify the questions and eliminate contradictory or circular logic. And by following a line of inquiry where it logically leads, both the question asker and answerer can end up in unexpected places.

在採用這種問題導向的方法時,蘇格拉底將自己描述為助產士,他的疑問幫助他人生產出自己的想法。他的提問方法提出了個人未經審查的假設,然後挑戰了這些偏見。它並不總是提供確定的答案,但是該方法有助於闡明問題並消除矛盾或循環論證。透過遵循邏輯性的一連串疑問,提問者和回答者都可以論證出意想不到的結果。

This technique isn’t limited by the conversation’s content, making it incredibly useful in numerous fields. During the Renaissance, the method was used to teach clinical medicine. Students proposed their rationale for different diagnoses, while a doctor questioned their assumptions and moderated discussion. In this model, the method could even produce conclusive results. This same approach was later used in other sciences, such as astronomy, botany, and mathematics.

這項方法不受對話內容的限制,因此在許多領域都非常有用。在文藝復興時期,該方法被用於教授臨床醫學。學生提出他們針對不同診斷的理論依據,而醫生則質疑他們的假設並主持討論。在此模式下,該方法甚至可以得出結論性的結果。後來,在其他科學中,例如天文學、植物學和數學,也使用了相同的方法。

Following the Protestant Reformation, it was adapted to tackle abstract questions of faith. In the 19th century, the method became an essential part of American legal education. Professors explored students’ understanding of judicial reasoning by challenging them with unforeseen hypothetical situations. This approach is still used today by the Supreme Court to imagine the unintended impacts of passing a law.

在新教改革之後,它被改編為解決信仰的抽象問題。在19世紀,這種方法成為美國法律教育重要的一部分。教授們透過用無法預料的假設情況挑戰學生,進而暸解學生對司法推理的理解。如今,美國最高法院仍然使用這種方法來想像通過一條法律的可能產生的意外影響。

The Socratic Method can be adapted to teach almost any topic that relies on critical reasoning, but its success depends on the teacher employing it. An effective Socratic educator must be well versed in their subject. Rather than bullying their students or showing off their superior intellect, they should be modest, genuinely curious, and affirming of every contribution. In this regard, Socrates himself may not have been the most subtle Socratic teacher.

蘇格拉底反詰法可以適用於教授幾乎所有依賴批判性推理的主題,但其成功取決於使用它的老師。一個有效的蘇格拉底式教育者必須精通他們的學科。他們應該謙虛,真正地好奇並肯定每一個貢獻,而不是欺負學生或炫耀他們的才智。在這方面,蘇格拉底本人可能不是最巧妙的蘇格拉底式老師。

Historians believe he was deeply critical of Athens’ particular brand of democracy, and known to pass those concerns onto his followers. These subversive beliefs were distorted in public forums and thought to have inspired two of his pupils to treasonous ends. It was likely for these ideas Socrates was brought to trial, and eventually, sentenced to death. But even on his deathbed, artists depict a serene philosopher — ever curious to explore the ultimate question.

歷史學家認為,他對雅典的特定民主標誌深有批評,並且眾所周知,他會將這些擔憂傳遞給他的追隨者們。這些顛覆性的信念在公共論壇上被扭曲,並被認為激發了他的兩個學生叛國的下場。這些想法很可能使蘇格拉底受到審判,並最終被判處死刑。但是,即使在臨終前,藝術家們仍然描繪出一個寧靜的哲學家-總是好奇地探索著終極問題。