Wisdom: A Philosophical Take

Topics: Plato, Knowledge, Truth Pages: 3 (973 words) Published: November 30, 2005
Introduction: What is Wisdom?
When the question, "What is Wisdom?" is asked, philosopher's always have a view from the question. Each philosopher has their own interpretation of what wisdom is. But, what does wisdom really mean? Is it knowledge, science, or just common sense? I believe it is a mixture of all these things and more. There are many books written on the subject; from the dictionary, which defines it, to the Bible and Socrates. Webster's New World Dictionary defines the word wisdom as "the quality of being wise; power of judging rightly and following the soundest course of action, based on knowledge, experience, understanding, etc.; good judgment; sagacity (penetrating intelligence and sound judgment)". In this paper, I will present my interpretation of one instance of how wisdom is obtained and hopefully passed on.

Problem: Why is wisdom hard to define?
I perceive wisdom as the ability to make the best decision or to select the best course of action according to the current situation with respect to prior similar situations and their outcomes. Wisdom is what I like to call acquired knowledge over time and experience. Wisdom is often associated with formal education. On the other hand, you may not be formally educated, but still considered wise. Daniel Kolak, the author of Lovers and Wisdom and a philosopher, has defined wisdom, as knowing the extent of your knowledge, and able to apply it as rationally and morally. Kolak has suggested that the interpretation from the definition is that the more you know the more wise you become as a person. Wisdom might mean having a wise attitude and good sense but how someone's response to a different situation might not reflect wisdom. Not every person responds to every situation the same so is that to say that one has wisdom and the other does not. I think you know you are on the right path to gaining wisdom when you learn from your past experiences. No matter what path we choose to go down we are...

Cited: Solomon, Robert C., and Kathleen M. Higgins. A Short History of Philosophy. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Jaspers, Karl. The Great Philosophers. Vol 1. Harcourt, Bruce & World Inc., 1957.
Confucius and Socrates Taight. (1996). Retrieved October 04, 2005 from http://www.san.beck.org/C%26S-Contents.html
Wisdom: Socrates, the Psalmist, and the Serpent. (2004). Retrieved October 5, 2005 from http://www.mrrena.com/wisdom.shtml
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