The Palgrave Handbook of the Philosophy of Aging

pp 247-260


Wisdom and Aging

  • Charles TaliaferroAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, St. Olaf College Email author 
  • , Meredith VarieAffiliated withIndependent Scholar


In this chapter, we consider what it means to be wise, and how this is affected by one’s age. We begin by considering the Deep Rationality Theory of wisdom and offer the Ordo Amoris model of wisdom instead as more comprehensive and satisfactory. This second model allows individuals to be wise at varying stages of life. Furthermore, the philosophy of aging and dying will be affected by one’s philosophy of nature and the prospects of life after death. The chapter concludes by addressing two goods associated with aging and wisdom: sempiternal contemplation, which allows us to maintain an appreciation for the ordo amoris throughout life, and loving solidarity with others, which provides us solace at the end of our lives.