negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. It was designed to force one to examine one's own beliefs and the validity of such beliefs.
He tested the Oracle by questioning men considered wise. Questioning them, however, Socrates concluded: while each thought he was wise, in fact they knew little. The Oracle was correct; so-called wise men thought themselves wise were not, he himself knew he was not wise at all, which, paradoxically, made him the wiser one since he was the only person aware of his own ignorance