Oct 2, 2018
Socratic dialogue, that is, the art of seeking the truth through questions and discussion -- famously demonstrated by Socrates -- lies at the heart of the Online Great Books community. Yet what made Socrates' approach work was his knack for asking good, probing, thought-provoking questions. So what is a good question anyway?
Scott and fellow reader Jim Furr discuss their ideas on what makes a good question. They both agree that, foremost, a good question is open-ended. It does not presuppose an answer or lead the conversant toward a particular idea. Asking an honest question is more difficult than it sounds! A good interlocutor -- the moderator of the small groups at Online Great Books -- asks good, honest questions and holds his group to the same standard, without attempting to teach or profess. As Scott says, the interlocutor is merely the first among equals in the discussion group.
Scott and Jim offer some good questions to ask yourself when approaching a piece of literature:
These are just a few important questions to ponder whether you're picking up the Iliad for the first time, or you're several books deep in to the Great Books progression.