Stories of Wisdom to Live By: Developing Wisdom in a Narrative Mode

  • Michel Ferrari
  • Nic M. Weststrate
  • Anda Petro


Any complete science of personal wisdom must consider wisdom in a narrative mode. We argue that life narratives not only offer a rich viewpoint from which to study personal wisdom, but from a process perspective, we propose that crafting meaningful stories may be central to the development of personal wisdom itself. In particular, we point to two capacities that may be particularly important to the development of wisdom: autobiographical reasoning and narrative simulation. Autobiographical reasoning refers to the sophistication with which we reflect on our lives and gain insight from past experiences. Narrative simulation concerns our ability to project ourselves into the storyworld of historical and/or literary figures who are exemplars of wisdom and also our ability to simulate hypothetical narratives of our own lives that have not yet come to pass. Some evidence for this view is provided from a study on engagement with cultural master narratives of wisdom.


Life Story Practical Wisdom Narrative Identity Master Narrative Life Narrative 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michel Ferrari
    • 1
  • Nic M. Weststrate
    • 1
  • Anda Petro
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, Ontario Institute for Studies in EducationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology, Ontario Institute for Studies in EducationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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