This paper argues that Socratic refutations in Plato's dialogues – often isolated and hypostatized as the 'Socratic elenchus' - are best understood in the context of a wider practice of Socratic examination, which is itself motivated by the quest for knowledge. In Socrates himself, the quest for knowledge is motivated by an innate love of knowledge (part of his philosophical nature as he describes it in a self-portrait in Republic Book VI), and this emotional orientation shapes his own response to refutations that he both experiences and brings about for others. In his interlocutors, however, lacking such love of knowledge, other emotions and desires often operate to block each possible step of that response — steps which I lay out in sequence. Thus far from excluding any role for emotion or desire as a widespread misreading of 'Socratic intellectualism' posits, such examinations manifest the destructive role of the emotions in many of the interlocutors while also pointing to their positive role in shaping Socrates' own love of knowledge. When emotional orientations allow, recognition that one does not possess the knowledge that one had claimed to possess can itself have positive effects in reorienting action and dispositions to act, even while falling short of the ideal conception of full virtue. The Socratic idea that virtue is knowledge, and that virtue is necessary and sufficient for happiness, allows for virtue-related changes in disposition to arise either from an innate love of knowledge or from the stimulation of a certain response to the recognition that one does not possess knowledge that one had claimed to possess.