The Formal Models for the Socratic Method

  • Nico Huse
  • Nguyen-Thinh Le
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 453)


In this paper, we present three formal models of three phases of the Socratic Method that is suggested by Nelson to be employed in teaching. The three phases are searching for examples, searching for attributes and generalizing the attributes. These formal models are intended to serve in a computerized learning environment where users can train with a chatbot to stimulate their critical thinking. This paper demonstrates the applicability and the usefulness of the formal models of the Socratic Method by showing an application that has been developed for group discussion where the chatbot acts as a discussion leader who applies the Socratic Method. The contribution of this paper is twofold. First, in the dialogue models, we integrated critical questions using the question taxonomy of Paul and Elder in the three phases of the Socratic Method. Second, the formalization of the three phases of the Socratic Method using state diagrams is a new innovation.


Socratic questioning Socratic discussion Critical thinking 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of InformaticsHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

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