Into the Future
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In Plato’s dialogue, Protagoras, the chief interlocutor, from whom the name of the dialogue is taken, narrates the following tale. When the gods decided that the time had come to populate the earth with living beings, they entrusted Prometheus and Epimetheus with the task of producing them and providing them with suitable qualities. Epimetheus took over the concrete work, while Prometheus reserved for himself the right of supervision. After having wisely distributed among the different living species the characteristics that would enable them to survive and reproduce harmoniously, Epimetheus discovered – when the moment came to produce human beings – that he had already exhausted the natural qualities. So he was obliged to produce a being that was naked, weak, devoid of any special feature, and inferior to the animals. In order to remedy this oversight, Prometheus stole fire and the arts (that is, the principles of making) from Hephaestus, and he stole from Athena the arts of the intellect (that is, the principles of science and wisdom). These qualities were diversely distributed among human beings and they, by using them, were able to secure their superiority over the animals by producing artefacts and building cities.
KeywordsPublic Participation Technical Expert Technological Society Democratic Process Ordinary Citizen
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