The predominant strands of thought in western societies associate the origins of democratic thinking and democracy per se with a number of classical Greek philosophers and their antiqual city-states. Conventionally referred to as ‘Athenian Democracy’, it preceded the Roman Republic which followed suit until 27 B.C and other novel democratic institutions such as the parliamentary Corts Catalanes ─ its origins tracing back to the Assemblees de Pau i Treva around 1021 A.D ─ and the Cortes de Léon established in 1188 A.D. Indeed, despite scholarly divisions over the specific date at which these city-states shifted from societal ‘protodemocracy’ to institutional ‘democracy’, most historians situate it around the Solonian reforms of the early 6th Century B.C (Christ, 2008: 513). As for the tremendous classical heritage these Hellenic polities brought forward to the historical formation and evolution of democracies, it suffices to say the entire discussion of this article is framed around an etymology deriving from the ancient Greek word demos[people]-kratie[power].
The entire human existence has been structured by epistemology for it precedes any and all cognitive endeavours. Epistemology at its core focuses on the theory of knowledge in itself and in relation to truth, reasoning and beliefs. There are various theoretical approaches ranging from those of empiricism, idealism and rationalism to more alternative perspectives provided by Buddhist or Jain philosophy. Their complexities and nuances are fascinating although, granted my limited apprehension of these, the focus of this paper will rather lie in the transmission of knowledge. In more specific terms we shall pose the following question; what conditions the assimilation of knowledge? In order to provide an adequate response we must first articulate a clear epistemological frame for the sake of clarity. The constructivist definition of knowledge as an inter-subjective social construction, which opposes Plato’s own definition as an objective innate reality, will serve as our premise. Echoing the words of David H. Jonahassen, we shall explore the conditions which affect the assimilation of knowledge in the sense that knowledge is a ‘reality [which] is more in the mind of the knower’ than in the external structure (1991: pp.9-10).