- About the Author
“Socrates: If you’re persuaded by me and give little thought to Socrates and much more to the truth, you must agree with me if I seem to you to say what’s true; and if I don’t, you must strain against me with every argument you’ve got, taking care that I don’t, out of eagerness, go off, having deceived both myself and you, like a bee that left its stinger behind."
Examine the tradition of Socratic conversation to preserve its future!
Socratic Conversation reveals the natural connection between great philosophical dialogues and the art of philosophic conversation that is in pursuit of the truth. In distinct yet complementary ways, the three parts of the book build a bridge between the philosophical dialogues of Plato, and others, and the contemporary practice of Socratic conversation as a pedagogical method.
Part 1: To build this bridge, author Jeffrey Lehman examines some of Plato’s best-known and most-loved dialogues. Each chapter in part 1 focuses on those aspects of the dialogues that help one see the connection between the way Plato has crafted his philosophical dialogues and his hope that reading them will engender in his readers a desire to engage in philosophical conversation themselves.
Part 2: Join the author on a journey from Plato’s time to our own. Along the way, the author examines particularly striking examples of philosophical dialogue and shows how they continue the work Plato had started.
Part 3: The focus in the final section turns to Socratic conversation in our own time! Informed by the investigation of the examples of philosophical dialogues in the second section, the reader is in a better position to understand and appreciate the challenges and delights of Socratic conversation as a pedagogical method. Along the way, the author shows how remarkably fitting Socratic conversation is to classical education and considers some of the basic principles of effective Socratic conversation.
“We have needed this book for a long time! Jeffrey Lehman presents Socratic conversations going back to Plato himself as illustrative pedagogical dramas designed to delight, instruct, and inspire teachers, so that they may likewise engage in the Socratic method. Lehman helps draw us into the thing itself, inviting us to participate in Socratic conversation and philosophical inquiry as we read. The invitation is issued with grace, clarity, and a palpable intellectual passion. Educators who want Socratic pedagogy to be more than an ideal or a program—something more like a way of life—will want to read and know this book.”
—Phillip Cary, Professor of Philosophy and Scholar-in-Residence, Templeton Honors College at Eastern University
“In this short text, Dr. Lehman contributes both to our exploration of the Great Conversation and to our very practical conversations around the pedagogy of a classical school. In an age in which the art of true dialogue in the pursuit of truth can feel like a lost art indeed, Lehman helps to retrace the great models and encourages us to reestablish our own practices of this most human endeavor.”
—Jerilyn Olson, Vice President of Professional Development, Great Hearts Academies
“Finally, I understand the heart of Socratic teaching. Jeffrey Lehman thinks through the detail behind successes, failures, variations, and especially the ends and expectations of engaging in dialogic Socratic teaching. This book provides a practical path to how to lead discussions with the proper ends in mind—specifically, a host of human virtues that are honed in good Socratic discussions. Any and every teacher would benefit from reading and applying Lehman's wisdom in their classes, not to mention in general human interactions.”
—Michael Van Hecke, President, Institute for Catholic Liberal Education
“I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to read this marvelous new book from Jeffrey Lehman. In fact, it was so good that I read selections of it to students in my Advanced Socratic Pedagogy course in order to stimulate questions and discussions. I plan to make it a core reading for that course. I learned wonderful things on every page that will help my own teaching—even after nearly three decades of practice. Everyone who reads it will receive the same benefit. It is not to be missed by anyone involved in classical education.”
—Grant Horner, Professor of Renaissance and Reformation Studies, The Master's University
“In Socratic Conversation, Jeffrey Lehman, like Socrates himself, leads his readers’ souls toward a philosophic life. More than a ‘how to’ guide about the Socratic method, this book engages readers with the deepest human questions, providing sound guidance that is at once philosophical and practical. Lehman’s study guides and concrete pedagogical advice are immensely useful to all who desire the cultivation of genuine dialogue.”
—Paul Weinhold, Director of Continuing Education, Great Hearts Academies
“By encouraging teachers to habitually keep in mind the ends of teaching—forming intellectual virtues and fostering moral virtues that will prepare the young for a life ordered to happiness and leadership—this book will help teachers put themselves in a position to use conversation to draw the best out of their students.”
—Andrew Seeley, Tutor, Thomas Aquinas College as well as Co-founder and Director, Institute for Catholic Liberal Education
Jeffrey S. Lehman holds a BA in biblical literature and philosophy from Taylor University, an MA in philosophy of religion and ethics from Biola University, and an MA and PhD in philosophy from the University of Dallas. He is a full professor at the University of Dallas and has taught the liberal arts and the Great Books through Socratic conversation at such colleges and universities as the Torrey Honors Institute of Biola University, Thomas Aquinas College, and Hillsdale College. He has read, taught, and written on the dialogues of Plato and later philosophical dialogues in the Western tradition for over 25 years. Lehman is the Director of the Graduate Program in Classical Education at the University of Dallas, and also the founding director of the Arts of Liberty Project, which offers resources for teachers and students of the liberal arts and liberal education (artsofliberty.udallas.edu). Among his publications are the monograph Augustine: Rejoicing in the Truth (published by Classical Academic Press), an introductory text and reader in primary sources on the liberal art of logic, and various articles on Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Augustine, Boethius, and Thomas More.