Advertisement

Acta Analytica

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 99–112 | Cite as

Wisdom, Knowledge and Rationality

  • Sharon RyanEmail author
Article

Abstract

After surveying the strengths and weaknesses of several well-known approaches to wisdom, I argue for a new theory of wisdom that focuses on being epistemically, practically, and morally rational. My theory of wisdom, The Deep Rationality Theory of Wisdom, claims that a wise person is a person who is rational and who is deeply committed to increasing his or her level of rationality. This theory is a departure from theories of wisdom that demand practical and/or theoretical knowledge. The Deep Rationality Theory salvages all that is attractive, and avoids all that is problematic, about theories of wisdom that require wise people to be knowledgeable.

Keywords

Wisdom Knowledge Rationality Epistemic humility Epistemic virtue 

References

  1. Aristotle. (2004). Nicomachean Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Baltes, P., & Smith, J. (1992). Toward a Psychology of Wisdom and Its Ontogenesis. In R. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom: Its Nature, Origins and Development (pp. 230–243). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Feldman, F. (1978). Introductory Ethics. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Garrett, R. (1996). Three Definitions of Wisdom. In K. Lehrer, B. A. Slichta & B. J. Lum (Eds.), Knowledge, Teaching and Wisdom (pp. 221–232). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  5. James, W. (1890). The Principles of Psychology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kekes, J. (1983). Wisdom. American Philosophical Quarterly, 20:3, (pp. 277-286.)Google Scholar
  7. Kennedy Arlin, P. (1992). Wisdom: The Art of Problem Finding. In R. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom: Its Nature, Origins and Development (pp. 230–243). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Lehrer, K., Slichta B. A. & Lum B.J. (Eds.). (1996). Knowledge, Teaching and Wisdom. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  9. MacDonald, C. (2006). Wisdom: The Highest Aim of Life and Higher Education. Available via The Wisdom Page. http://www.wisdompage.com/
  10. Maxwell, N. (1984). From Knowledge to Wisdom. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  11. Meacham, J. (1992). The Loss of Wisdom. In R. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom: Its Nature, Origins and Development (pp. 181–211). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Norman, A. (1996). Teaching Wisdom. In K. Lehrer, B. A. Slichta & B. J. Lum (Eds.), Knowledge, Teaching and Wisdom (pp. 253–265). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Nozick, R. (1989). What is Wisdom and Why do Philosophers Love it So. In Nozick, R. (1989). The Examined Life (pp. 267–278), New York: Touchstone Press.Google Scholar
  14. Plato. (1997). Apology. In J. M. Cooper (Ed.), Plato: Complete Works (pp. 17–36). Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
  15. Ryan, S. (1996). Wisdom. In K. Lehrer, B. A. Slichta & B. J. Lum (Eds.), Knowledge, Teaching and Wisdom (pp. 233–242). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Ryan, S. (1997). What is Wisdom? Philosophical Studies, 93, (pp.119-139).Google Scholar
  17. Ryan, S. (2007). Wisdom. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available via: http://www.plato.stanford.edu/
  18. Ryan, S. (2011). The Deep Rationality Theory of Wisdom. In A. Cullison (Ed.). Continuum Companion to Epistemology. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  19. Shakespeare, W. (1623) As You Like It, Act V, Scene I.Google Scholar
  20. Sternberg, R. (1992). Wisdom: Its Nature, Origins and Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Sternberg, R. (2001). Why Schools Should Teach for Wisdom: The Balance Theory of Wisdom in Educational Settings. Educational Psychologist, 36/4, (pp. 227-245).Google Scholar
  22. Sternberg, R. (2004). What is Wisdom and How Can We Develop it? Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 591, (pp. 164-174).Google Scholar
  23. Whitcomb, D. (2010). Wisdom. In D. Pritchard & S. Bernecker (Eds.), Routledge Companion to Epistemology (pp. 95–105). London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

Personalised recommendations