Word of the Day : December 7, 2017

maieutic

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adjective may-YOO-tik

Definition

: relating to or resembling the Socratic method of eliciting new ideas from another

Did You Know?

Maieutic comes from maieutikos, the Greek word for "of midwifery." In one of Plato's Dialogues, Socrates applies maieutikos to his method of bringing forth new ideas by reasoning and dialogue; he thought the technique analogous to those a midwife uses in delivering a baby (Socrates' mother was a midwife). A teacher who uses maieutic methods can be thought of as an intellectual midwife who assists students in bringing forth ideas and conceptions previously latent in their minds.



Examples

"The maieutic art of Socrates consists, essentially, of asking questions designed to destroy prejudices; false beliefs which are often traditional or fashionable beliefs; false answers, given in the spirit of ignorant cocksureness." — Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, 1962

"Montaigne wrote as a kind of maieutic exercise, a way of drawing his thoughts into the light of day, of discovering what he wanted to say as he said it." — James Somers, The Atlantic, 21 Dec. 2010



Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete an adjective that means "of, relating to, or associated with childbirth": _ _ s _ et _ ic.

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