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Definition of Mayéutica

Mayéutica (Mayeutics in English) is a word that in Socratic philosophy refers to the methodical dialogue by which the questioned interlocutor discovers the truths by himself. It is a method or technique that consists of asking questions to a person until he discovers concepts that were latent or hidden in his mind.


  1. Socratic method
  2. Irony
  3. Methodical dialogue
  4. Interrogation
  5. Method of teaching

ORIGIN OF Mayéutica

Mayeutics comes from the Greek word griegomaietikos, which can be translated as “assistant in childbirth, childbirth, giving birth, expert in childbirth”. This name is assigned to it because Socrates’ mother was a midwife and he had the ideology that knowledge was “to give birth” to new knowledge. It is knowledge through questioning.

Maieutics is based on the intrinsic capacity of each individual, which assumes the idea that truth is hidden within oneself.

The technique consists of asking the interlocutor about something and then proceeding to discuss the answer given through the establishment of general concepts.

The invention of this method of knowledge dates back to the 4th century BC and is generally attributed to the historical Socrates with reference to Plato’s Theaetetus. This technique is often confused with the irony or Socratic method, but the agreement is that it is attributed to Socrates himself.


Paulo Freire, Brazilian educator and influential educational theorist, gives great importance to the word maieutic in his work Pedagogy of the Oppressed, where he expresses the search for a liberating and neo-Socratic education, and it is worth noting that the conscientizing communication he offers is eminently maieutic.

For him, dialogue is an encounter between people, mediated by the world.