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THE DANGERS OF SOCIAL PROCEDURES

Plato imagines that there exist kernels of innate knowledge, but any one of these kernels are of little worth if not animated by a sharp, intuitive awareness of ideas. The difficulty lies in that the support brought forth by the society for such an enterprise must be managed with precaution, because it can also falsify (to support political, ideological, and economic projects, for example) the psychic perception of the Truths of the soul. The ability to listen to one’s intuitions presumes a refined apprenticeship. This is why know thyself❠is so important to Plato. Without it we could not develop our capacity to evaluate the relevance of what is presented to us as a truth. Becoming aware of what ideas we would like to support is, for Plato, the key to knowledge; this key only turns in the lock if the subject experiences pleasure when a Truth is perceived. In the Meno, Plato allows an adolescent to confront the representations brought about by lazy conscious thinking and helps him feel a celebratory pleasure each time he can correct what is represented in function of what is rightly experienced. This dialogue between conscious thought and profound intuition is the constant preoccupation of philosophers.

Plato defended, as a high stake, the social construction of knowledge.28 Even if the nuclei of consciousness are principally regulated by the nonconscious mechanisms of regulation that coordinate the social, psychological, and biological dimensions, only through individual thought and explicit interactions between citizens can knowledge be actualized. This form of co-constructed intelligence permits today’s reader to refine the questions and answers raised by Plato.

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