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THE SOCRATIC PROCESS OF LEARNING: BEING-EDUCATED AS A PHILOSOPHICAL WAY OF THE ETHICAL LIFE.

1. Introduction

All kinds of human learning are imperfect: all human attempts expand within the ontological framework configured and defined by finitude. Phenomenology aims to convey the massive variety of the human practice from an ontological view (Alpopi and Silvestru (Bere), 2016; Couzigou, 2017; Grant, 2016; Lazaroiu, 2017a; Olssen, 2017; Ruthrof, 2017; Zurga, 2017), and so poetically describes phenomena versus commenting on them. The interpretive Socratic design of care for the soul concentrates the normative matter of comprehending and constituting the ethical life. A Socratic curriculum is an unorganized instruction that is carried out as it is experienced in the dialogues. Socratic learning adopts potential and possibility prior to actualization. The ontological finitude confines, demarcates, and determines the human condition. (Magrini, 2017)

2. The Process of Learning or Being-educated

Philosophical understanding represents the dialectic operation of going through analytical reconsideration and re-conceptualization. A Socratic education does not cover either the kinds of questions or types of knowledge (Anderson and Kantarelis, 2016; Fast, O'Brien, and Block, 2017; Grcic Fabic, Zekic, and Samarzija, 2016; Lazaroiu, 2017b; Orlova, 2017; Smith and Kubala, 2018) that substantiate the current structured curriculum. Finite transcendence, as education, is an elucidatory undertaking that expands as a cerebral and instinctive asketic practice where the self in connection with others serves to define the ethical awareness of what virtue is and how it unfolds in the existences of individuals who engage in the Socratic elenchus-dialectic. The deep-rooted alteration in the soul's disposition via occasions of finite transcendence (the event of learning) involves that a genuine Socratic pedagogy should be preoccupied with the intimation of truth assimilated via a pathos as integrated by the deinos, which exemplifies a practice of the superfluous character of truth (Bauder, 2016; Friedman and Weiser Friedman, 2018; Harris and Estevez, 2017; Lucas, 2016; Park, 2017; Sponte (Pistalu), 2018), maintaining the worrying indication that there is no protection or steadiness offered by the eventuality of possessing comprehensive knowledge. Truth as connected with the virtues should go beyond the epistemic limits of apodictic certainty. The operation of learning or Being-educated is challenging and excruciating, being a perpetual and ever-revived one, or way-of-life, of appraising the virtues whose pursuit is a quite personal activity: the beliefs and assumptions characterize the existence of individuals immersed in their questioning, and regulate the world, life, and ethical behavior of the actors. The ontology of Socratic examination and finite human transcendence is a kind of education or learning. (Magrini, 2017)
Language is not a possession of the human being; rather, it is a gift
or bestowal. Language is an 'inceptive response' to the primordial call
of our world; we speak as we are beckoned by the address/call of the
world and drawn out from the silent depths of our Being. This indicates
that language does not originate with speech, but instead in the
silence that anticipates the world's call. Whereas propositional speech
fails to capture and express the ontological aspects of our lives,
poietic language, because it preserves and shelters the primal mystery,
allowing it to be as mystery, is better suited to intimate and gesture
toward (speaking 'of') the phenomena of human transcendence and the
presencing that first grants access to our possibilities for
appropriation and comportment, and this is the event of learning.
[...] The 'course of study' in a Socratic education, and the running of
that course, is grounded in the normative pursuit of coming to a deeper
and more intimate understanding of the virtues and the values bound up
inextricably with the attempt to live a life of excellence or arete, a
flourishing life (eudaimonia) as a member of a moral community. [...]
Socratic learning or Being-educated is the process through which the
soul turns back to itself enlightened, which is made possible by the
practice of the elenchus-dialectic. (Magrini, 2017: 4, 13)


3. Knowledge Associated with the Virtues as Philosophical Understanding

The virtues are exemplified in and undergo the processes taking place within the framework of inspecting them, which signifies a just and equitable democratic transfer of notions in connection with a regulatory perspective of ethics. The Socratic pursuit of the philosophical comprehension of the virtues is bounded due to ontological finitude. The routine of the Socratic elenchus-dialectic is confined in its efficiency to disclose truth. To identify the virtue in itself means to differentiate something significantly more than simply its features and how it is predicated. Rather than elaborating a system where what is inferential holds sway, the dialectic of Socrates contests such a system. Socratic philosophy is incompatible with the inflexible belief that assumes the obstinate conviction that the truth of the virtues may be encapsulated in propositions or grasped within a system of propositions. A Socratic instruction has the integrity to set up impartial ethical norms for determining behavior. The Socratic understanding of philosophy as a way-of-life is an unconventional kind of non-systematic learning. Socratic politics is established in the position that the unexamined life, one that does not perceive obtuseness and constraints, is an unrighteous life as the character requires proper ethical unfolding. To lead a possibly fair and satisfactory life, the practice of philosophy should be carried out, and, with the intention of disciplining the soul in an ethical way, the philosophical quest of character enhancement should be the main undertaking organizing the life. (Magrini, 2017)
The 'method,' or 'practice,' of the Socratic elenchus-dialectic
presupposes a zetetic view of philosophy that instantiates the 'process
of seeking truth' as a non-formal way of learning or Being-educated
(finite human transcendence), which unfolds within a distinct
ontological context grounded in and bounded and structured by the
horizons of finitude. [...] In relation to the Socratic practice of
dialectic inquiry, the original (archaic) insight into or idealized
vision of the Good or the Being of the virtues serves at once as the
origin from out of which the inquiry emerges, is given life, and is
also the controlling (ruling) power that structures and orders the
dialectic inquiry in ways that guide and facilitate its unfolding and
development (the 'law' or so-called Logos of its unfolding--to which
the protreptic component contributes its hortatory and persuasive power
to exhort the participants in their continuing philosophical pursuit of
the virtues. (Magrini, 2017: 66, 87)


4. A Socratic Instruction as a Perpetual Process that Cultivates and Expedites an Ethical Disposition

The comprehension of the virtues is exemplified in the elaborating of the elenchus-dialectic, which furthers an ethical alteration to the soul or disposition. The routine of learning or Being-educated as Socratic-paideusis is both demanding and troubling, involving the inexorable discomfort of individuals who are determined enough to carry out and organize themselves within a philosophical manner of life. As a zetetic thinker, Socrates embraces the position that philosophical grasp is bounded and evanescent, with its propensity toward modes of deceitfulness. (Magrini, 2017)
Transcendence is an event of learning and a moment and mode of
disclosure where the intimation of truth manifests in the context of
the dialectic, in the process of investigating it. Transcendence is
inspired and facilitated by an enlightenment that is phroneitic in
nature. Finite transcendence is an educative event highlighted by a
form of attunement, which might be related to, for example, either
thauma (wonder) or 'shame' (aischune), which occurs and holds the
potential to ethically transform and transfigure the character or
disposition (hexis) of Socrates and the participants within the
dialectic. [...] Bildung is a process of learning that is both
'transformative' and 'formative,' but this process must not be
conceived as 'impressing' a pre-determined or pre-fabricated form
onto learners, in terms of molding the student through a top-down
model for education, but rather as a generative process where the
learner's self-involvement and co-participation contributes in an
essential way to the transformation and formation occurring. [...] For
Socrates, the human is a subject-in-transition, where 'potential'
always stands above 'actuality.' [...] The nature of hermeneutic
understanding, much like Socrates's conception of limited human wisdom,
falls short of full disclosure of the things we interrogate and
interpret, revealing our distance from the gods' divine wisdom. It also
reveals, in line with the aporetic nature of Socratic questing, the
failure of all human perception, for, as related to phenomenology, what
appears even in and to the understanding holds the dissembling
potential to frustrate any confidence in the belief that we have
understood things fully. We find ourselves thrown into the world and
stretched out 'in-between' various unfinished states of understanding.
[...] A Socratic education as perfection of the soul requires that one
is vehemently dedicated and even violently committed to this task, and,
as such conceived, Socratic paideusis can in no way be equated with
traditional forms of education that do not demand extreme sacrifice on
the part of the learner, e.g., the sacrifice of one's most deeply held
beliefs and opinions, and this is an irreducible component of the
rigorous practice ('askesis') associated with Socratic education
(paideusis). (Magrini, 2017: 96, 99, 106)


A Socratic pedagogy, in its most intrinsic instantiation, displays concern for the likely elaboration of a satisfactory disposition in the persistent and ever-revived quest for philosophical grasp of the virtues as they are exemplified in praxis within the regulatory ethical rhetoric (Berloffa, Matteazzi, and Villa, 2017; Friedrich, 2017; Ionescu, 2016; Makrakis, 2017; Petcu, 2016; Taylor and Kliestikova, 2018) developing in the community of others. Socrates's interest in furthering an ethical disposition displays the educative search for possible moral growth and advancement of the individual. A Socratic instruction is a perpetual process that cultivates and expedites an ethical disposition. Individuals who require an established moral character loftily disregard the deep-rooted finitude closely related to the ontological condition of human knowledge, haughtily display their apparent possession of knowledge, and frequently assume that knowledge in one domain certifies them as authorities in another one. Albeit the philosophical comprehension of the virtues that arises from the dialectic is unsuccessful in generating substantive and predictable outcomes in contrast to techne (Bratu, 2017; Gava, 2016; Ionescu, 2017; Menendez, 2017; Popescu and Alpopi, 2017; Terry, 2016), it is the most relevant kind of "non-knowing" that individuals detect in the search of an ethically advanced character in and via a philosophical instruction. Education in and via the display of the grasp of virtue is incomplete as it is established in and regulated by the inherent concealment that is situated at the center of all unveiling or aletheia as "unconcealment." (Magrini, 2017)
Plato's Socrates is a zetetic-skeptic who is focused on the ethical
disposition (hexis) as representing a mode of attunement, which
manifests as a substantive and discernibly instantiated ethical
presence in the midst of the elenchus-dialectical in praxis. Attunement
occurs in moments of understanding or enlightenment, but this
enlightenment or 'knowledge' of the virtues does not sit within an
'objective' model of truth embracing 'correspondence.' Indeed, beyond
this, becoming-ethical is at once a deepening of the understanding that
is paradoxically grounded in a more original state of 'not knowing' for
Socrates. [...] To be suspended or stretched out 'between' finitude and
transcendence indicates that the participants in the dialectic, through
sustained questioning, reveal only what might be described as fleeting
glimpses or intimations of the truth of virtue, partial revelations of
truth within which Socrates and the interlocutors participate, and
beyond, instantiate in praxis. (Magrini, 2017: 108, 119)


5. Conclusions

The idea of human knowledge as a bounded phenomenon concerns the constraint and deep-rooted finitude configuring the ontological framework of the human existence, where transcendence is naturally definable. Socrates's objective, unlike the undertaking of the possession of knowledge (Cheng, 2016; Gilbert, 2017; Ionescu, 2018; Nica, 2017; Russell Beattie, 2017; Upadhyay, 2017), represents the inspection of and the searching after virtue, in dialogue with others. Socrates is a co-actor in the operation of investigation and learning. (Magrini, 2017)

Acknowledgments

This paper was supported by Grant GE-1367382 from the Social Science Research Unit at AAER, Washington, DC.

Author Contributions

The author confirms being the sole contributor of this work and approved it for publication.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The author declares that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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GEORGE LAZAROIU

lazaroiu@contemporaryscienceassociation.net

The Cognitive Labor Institute, New York;

Spiru Haret University

Received 22 March 2018 * Received in revised form 4 June 2018

Accepted 7 June 2018 * Available online 9 July 2018

doi:10.22381/RCP1720189
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Date:Jan 1, 2018
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