I would posit that describing modern debate as Socratic is an insult to the Socratic method.

From what I see right now, we want words to have clear-cut definitions, and I gotta admit, as someone who spent some time in the academia, words with definite, clear-cut definitions does help in defining terms. However, in Saussure’s linguistics, each word has a denotative and connotative meaning, in which the connotative meaning is the most changeable. We can talk about the prescriptive and descriptive linguistics, but this comment is not be the best venue for this.

Whenever we learn a language, we learn and use words. Whenever we use words, each word will undergo an infinitesimally small change of context, and meaning. As decades pass by, the word acquires a new connotation. As a century or two pass by, we still have the same word but with a different meaning.

Here’s something written by Daniel Bell. He made Professor Kong (Confucius) evaluate the Socratic method.


From what I see with the Socratic method, it requires a harsh scrutiny of a view. However, it’s adversarial by nature. If we lose the clear-cut definition and we resort to the connotative way words are used, I see your point.
This is the problem of defining something. Compound this with the Socratic debate requirement, which requires clear-cut definitions. It might look like it’s complicating something, maybe it is, but consider these before taking a side. Is there a way to resolve this while considering all sides?

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