from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or relating to the aspect of the Socratic method that induces a respondent to formulate latent concepts through a dialectic or logical sequence of questions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. maieutical

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Serving to assist childbirth.
  • adj. Aiding, or tending to, the definition and interpretation of thoughts or language.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Serving to assist or facilitate childbirth; hence, in the Socratic method (see II.) aiding in bringing forth, in a metaphorical sense; serving to educe or elicit.
  • n. The art of midwifery: applied by Socrates to the method he pursued in investigating and imparting truth; intellectual midwifery.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Greek maieutikos, from maieuesthai, to act as midwife, from maia, midwife, nurse; see mā-2 in Indo-European roots.



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  • "I didn't feel qualified, but I accepted and we began to work, proceeding by a Socratic, maieutic method – which is something I'm rather good at."

    The Patagonian Hare by Claude Lanzmann, p 191 of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover edition

    April 16, 2013

  • I think that perhaps bneenan84 is distinguishing between an objective and a subjective reality, so that when (s)he says "this website" (s)he's acknowledging its existence within this subjective reality while its existence in the objective reality remains doubtful. "I believe this website does not exist" would then either mean that the objective existence of a subjectively perceived website is doubted or simply that (s)he would believe "such a website" to be inexistent within whichever reality, referring to some kind of perhaps unlikely notion.

    Please excuse possible inaccuracies, I'm currently in a lecture.

    December 15, 2008

  • I believe mangoes where nobody has gone before.

    December 14, 2008

  • I believe mangoes exist, I saw one at the market this morning.

    December 14, 2008

  • if this website didn't exist it would be necessary to invent it.

    December 14, 2008

  • If 'this website' doesn't exist, doesn't it follow that the words 'this website' don't refer to anything, and hence that the belief renders itself meaningless?

    December 14, 2008

  • Which website?

    December 14, 2008

  • i can't believe this website exists.

    December 14, 2008

  • See also μαιε�?ω.

    October 15, 2008

  • Maieutic is one of my favourite obscure words. It means pertaining to intellectual midwifery and describes as no other word does a phenomenon that happens more often than you might think. It is very rewarding when you can match the moment to the word.

    (Martin Ackland, London)

    October 15, 2008