Socratic reasoning or Socratic Questioning was the preferred method
of debate and discussion in Benjamin Franklin's Junto.
Named after the Greek philosopher Socrates, it is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals based upon asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. Questions are asked of assertions with the intent of identifying and testing the various parts of the assertion. Often the assertion is mutually redefined in the course of the Socratic questioning. It is not uncommon for all parties in the discussion to end up in a state of 'aporia', an impasse in establishing the theoretical truth of an assertion, created by the presence of evidence both for and against the assertion. Such an impasse is not a failure when it identifies the underlying issues and acquaints all parties with the various ideas and evidence in support of and contrary to the assertion.
Socratic questioning can seem plodding and aggravating. In today's world we are accustomed to very partisan and aggressive debate. Often such debate leads to anger and a conscious or subconscious effort by parties to talk over one another and 'win' the argument at any costs. Benjamin Franklin's Junto tried to discourage 'warmth' (in colonial
days this meant heated debate) and expressions of 'positiveness' (in colonial parlance this meant expressions that conveyed certainty in their assertion and often resulted in the parties being too ashamed of being wrong to back down from a part or all of their assertion).
Here is a Socratic Dialog as an example of the use of Socratic Questioning in examining the assertion that:
A minimum wage is needed to ensure that all workers earn enough money on which to live.