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Relevance, Meaning and the Cognitive Science of Wisdom

  • John Vervaeke
  • Leonardo Ferraro
Chapter

Abstract

Wisdom involves the enhancement of cognition (broadly construed). Cognitive science is converging on the conclusion that the central process of cognition that makes us intelligent agents is the ability to realize relevance. Therefore, a powerful way to enhance cognition is to enhance the process of relevance realization. Yet intelligence, although necessary, is not sufficient for wisdom. This makes good sense because there is good evidence that intelligence is not sufficient for rationality. Rationality involves the recursive application of intelligence to the problem of using intelligence well. In a similar manner, wisdom is the recursive application of rationality to the problem of developing good use of rationality. Wisdom is a process whereby rationality transcends itself in a rational manner so as to greatly enhance our central abilities of relevance realization. In particular, people who engage in this development should have enhanced abilities of active open-mindedness, insight, self-regulation and perspectival knowing.

Keywords

Good Life Cognitive Science Cognitive Style Procedural Knowledge Propositional Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Greg Katsoras for his help with the idea of perspectival knowing. We would like to thank Najam Tirimizi for his help with the idea of rationally self-transcending rationality. Finally, we would like to thank David Kim for his help in discussions of the role of wisdom in resolving internal conflict.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cognitive Science Program, Department of Psychology, and Buddhism, Psychology, and Mental Health ProgramUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, Ontario Institute for Studies in EducationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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