The Socratic elenchus and knowledge processes in the 21st century
Contemporary scholarship in various academic spheres has often perceived the epistemological domains within the Arts and Humanities as obsolete and irrelevant to the contemporary development paradigm. Instead, disciplines which promise immediate and practical results are preferred as significant and appropriate. Contrary to this popular perception, the present paper reflects on the relevance of the Socratic elenchus to the 21st century knowledge processes, especially in developing countries. The Socratic elenchus is regarded both as a philosophy and method. The contention is that the Socratic elenchus which epitomizes critical thinking, which is itself the core of the Arts and Humanities disciplines, is in fact more significant and relevant in today’s world affairs which are becoming more complex than ever before. Such relevance is not limited to the Arts and Humanities alone. Hence, to demonstrate this assertion, the paper reflects on the Socratic elenchus, which is not only a philosophically interesting method, but also relevant to a broad spectrum of knowledge processes in the contemporary developmental paradigm. The Socratic elenchus, named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and dialogue between individuals, based on question and answer technique to stimulate a critical stance that illuminates the oftentaken-for-granted ideas. The Socratic elenchus provides a model of critical thinking, which is itself a very indispensable cognitive skill of all times. The development of a more erudite, astute and alert mind is of critical importance. Such a mind is more prepared, and so in tune to understand and confront problems of the contemporary sophisticated universe which is characterized by large volumes of information.
Keywords: Socratic Elenchus, Humanities and Arts, Contemporary Development Paradigm, Knowledge Processes