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While our present use of the terms Socratic or Dialectic Method is based on a dialogue between two or more people who may hold differing views, but wish to pursue the truth by seeking agreement with one another, Socrates used it quite differently in that he believed that knowledge was inborn and could be brought out by means of skillful questioning.

Thus Socrates guided the instruction by using leading questions. He basically browbeated the learners through the use of clever questioning. For example, in Plato's Meno, Socrates, at random, selected a young boy off the street and by the use of clever questioning, led him to demonstrate a geometrical theorem despite the fact that the boy had no previous mathematical training.