Comment: Jan, Is the Socratic

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Jan, Is the Socratic


Is the Socratic interview method a good method? How is "exposing people to ridicule" a good approach? What benefits come about from this? I ask because I enjoy listening to your style, but I get frustrated and disappointed when people walk out of your interviews. I feel like the criticism was not beneficial to them. Perhaps the approach is wrong? Or perhaps you need to improve. I do see a certain potential if the approach can be mastered or perfected. You need to get into the minds of your interviewees without activating mental defense mechanisms. Perhaps come to the point quicker? If you are about to offend someone perhaps coming out with the cold hard truth, "I am conducting an interview with you today and I do not intend to offend you but my questions are designed to challenge your way of thinking." Perhaps a warning that this could get quite intense and if you want out of the interview tell me and I will delete the part or the whole interview that you do not want published. I want you to know that I respect your interview but I am working on an experimental interview technique, trying to find a way to dig deeper in order to expose not only your opinion but challenge the presuppositions and inner thinking behind your opinions. Perhaps expose contradictions in thinking.

Take for example, you believe I should ask you certain interview questions that you are comfortable answering. Why do you believe I should do this? See, I am more interested in why you believe I should ask you uncomfortable questions. Perhaps the uncomfortable questions are beneficial questions? Perhaps we can challenge ingrained assumptions that may or may not be true?

After all is not the purpose of this approach to arrive at truth? For example, Jan, let me ask you a line of questions. Do you believe redistribution of wealth is morally wrong? Why is this morally wrong? Why is forcing someone to pay taxes morally wrong? Why is doing something morally wrong, morally wrong? Why do we have this standard of morally wrong? Who created this standard? Does a majority agree that something is morally wrong and therefore it is morally wrong? Then why?! Is the person who created this standard a legitimate authority? Is the majority opinion a legitimate authority? Is myself a legitimate authority? How can you force me to agree forcing somebody is morally wrong? Do you have a pragmatic argument? Do you have a purely logical argument? If so, who says logic is authoritative? In order to have rules for logic do you not necessarily need to have a referee to decide what is logical? Is logic universal? Is logic the only thing that is universal? What is logic? Who created logic? How does logic have anything to do with what is morally wrong or right? Is there a moral wrong or right? What is morally right? Why is it morally right? Why do we associate a value with righteousness?

You can give reasons but isn't there always a why question behind it? I was walking the other night thinking about the possibility of parallel universes. Why not? Who is to determine that we have one universe? What is truth? Does truth even exist? How could truth exist infinitely? How could anything be infinite? What is infinite? Why do we even ask these questions? Why do we care? Why do we communicate with others? What is good? What is happiness? What is satisfaction? Why do we feel these things? Why do we want to feel these things? I could go on.

My point of all this is to ask the question, why do you do these interviews. Why why? What is the value? Why is it valuable? Do you do it for yourself or for others or for both? Why do you do anything "for" anybody? What is the value? Why is it valuable? Etc.

The more you can answer questions and understand the "why" behind the answers the better your questions and the more beneficial your interviews will be, in my opinion.

So, what is truth, Jan?