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I have to write a paper using the Socratic method on same sex marriage. Please, help me.

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stargsd5 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 24, 2012 at 8:20 PM via web

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I have to write a paper using the Socratic method on same sex marriage. Please, help me.

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 24, 2012 at 9:22 PM (Answer #1)

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If you are using the Socratic method, you might want to start by defining what the method is. It is a debate or dialogue between two or more individuals in which opposing viewpoints on a certain issue are argued. Socrates would often play the curious devil's advocate. In other words, he would argue the opposing viewpoint just for the sake of argument. The idea is that, through a serious of critical questions, the side of the issue that elicited the most contradictions would emerge as the failed argument. If, during the course of a debate on same sex marriage, more contradictions arose about these marriages being "bad for society," then that argument fails. In which case, it is more logical and/or ethical to claim that same sex marriage is not bad for society and in another argument, may be deemed good. 

One strategy that is characteristic of the Socratic method is that Socrates would ask his opponent questions which would lead to that opponent contradicting his own arguments. The Socratic dialogue is often called "negative" for the reason that it relies on contradiction to eliminate the flawed argument. This was not done to trick his opponent, but in a very generous way, to allow that opponent to come to the truth him/herself. 

Once you have defined the method, ask your professor if you can then write your own dialogue. This might be more fun than writing a traditional academic paper. Have an introduction, what the Socratic method is, then the dialogue. And if the dialogue is sufficient, you may only need a brief conclusion. 

An example of how to begin the dialogue: 

  • Adelphos: Well, I'm on my way to vote to make same sex marriage illegal. 
  • Socrates: I did not know it was legal. 
  • Adelphos: Legal only in certain places. 
  • Socrates: Why is that?
  • Adelphos: Because there is a disagreement about the ethical and social implications. 
  • Socrates: Why do you think it should be illegal?

Adelphos might then him some examples and Socrates then asks questions which arouse contradictions in Adelphos' argument. Note how curious and seemingly naive Socrates sounds. This was a frequent tactic he used for two reasons: 1) to get his opponent to reveal his opinions, assumptions and subconscious biases and 2) because Socrates never assumed he was correct. He is often famously quoted as saying "I know one thing, that I know nothing." So, he went about life with genuine curiosity; no prejudices.

And, use any names you want. I chose these for the simplicity of the example. And, this dialogue is set up to conclude that same sex marriages should be legal. So, if your argument is different, just change up the dialogue. In any case, write it however you want, just as long as it follows the Socratic method. 

Sources:

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stargsd5 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 25, 2012 at 1:06 PM (Answer #2)

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thank you :)

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