A Socratic Inquiry Into the Nature of Frailty

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In Plato's dialogues, Socrates, the protagonist, attempts to bring out the essential nature of an idea or a concept by engaging in a dialogue with the other characters. He asks probing questions of them to challenge their unquestioned assumptions and to eliminate flaws in their thinking. A hallmark of the dialogues is that Socrates himself never provides a final answer regarding the nature of the idea under discussion. Inspired by the power of the Socratic model to illumine one's thinking on difficult concepts, we have developed a short dialogue examining the nature of geriatric frailty. Our goal is to communicate, in a lively and nontechnical style, some of the fundamental challenges in studying frailty in older adults. Those acquainted with Plato's dialogues will recognize the resemblance to the initial segment of The Republic,1 which takes place in the house of a wealthy merchant named Cephalus. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:2455–2457, 2019.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2455-2457
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Socrates
  • frailty
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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