What Is Wisdom?

Published: 2021-06-29 07:07:34
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Category: Philosophy

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What is Wisdom?AbstractPhilosophy is often defined as the pursuit of wisdom. Socrates, one of the most well-known of the early philosophers, exemplifies the idea of a seeker of wisdom; he searched Athens for the true meaning of the word. In Plato’s writings, we learned he and Socrates both agreed that communication was the best way to go about getting the definitions they were looking for. If two people start on common ground in a discussion, as Socrates always tried to do, they are more likely to be able to placatingly come to a conclusion or further their initial concept.  What is Wisdom?The Definition of WisdomMerriam-Webster has several definitions for wisdom: (1) a :  accumulated philosophical or scientific learning :  knowledge, b :  ability to discern inner qualities and relationships :  INSIGHT, c :  good sense :  JUDGEMENT, d :  generally accepted belief  (2)  a wise attitude, belief, or course of action (3) the teachings of the ancient wise men.  When studying philosophy, you find that there are also several philosophical “theories” of the word wisdom: humility, accuracy, knowledge, hybrid, and rationality. Socrates view of wisdom, written by Plato in The Apology (20e-23c), is often explained as an example of the humility theory of wisdom. The humility theory comes into play when you consider Socrates thinking he has proven the poets, politicians, and craftsmen lack wisdom, yet claims that he is not wise himself. However, if we believe the oracle, Socrates is in fact wise. When it comes to the accuracy theory, we know Socrates believes he has knowledge when, and only when, he really does have knowledge. When Socrates questioned the poets, politicians, and craftsmen they failed by showing they were unable to justify their claims of knowledge. Socrates felt he was on a mission from the gods to educate the city on the nature of wisdom. He didn’t think he had defied them, he felt he was doing them a great service in teaching them. Socrates conceived of wisdom as a kind of state that one could achieve, and his wisdom involved seeing past the illusion of reality to the philosophical forms behind it.My Definition of Wisdom.Before starting this class, and reading Plato, my definition of wisdom was simple: that which the very wise possessed; knowledge that the generations before me had obtained through years of experience and education. Through our experiences we gain knowledge, and knowledge is the basis of wisdom. I would have to say that after the reading we have done, my definition is a little different. Socrates understood the limits of his knowledge in that he only knew what he knew and made no assumptions of knowing anything more, or less. In the Apology, Socrates said we are only as wise as our awareness of our ignorance (Plato p.44-45). After all these years, I now question those who I labeled as “wise”. Socrates interviewed several that claimed to be wise, just to find out they really had no knowledge of what they claimed (Plato p.44).  The only reason Socrates admitted to being wiser, to a small extent, than the politician was because he didn’t think he knew what he did not know (Plato p.45). As he was questioning those with the greatest reputation for knowledge, he concluded that they were almost entirely deficient and those inferior were more noteworthy simply based on their general good sense (Plato p.45). After reading those pages, it leads me to question the fact that if we believe those that “claim” to be wise are we in return just supporting their “claim”? How do we know if one is truly wise if we are not wise ourselves, like Socrates, and able to question their “reputation”? After all, Socrates said wisdom was knowing that you know nothing. However, people shouldn’t sit back and never pursue wisdom, as its still important to the attainment of a good life, and that should be the ultimate goal of mankind. Socrates epitomizes all that is philosophy, both as a student and as a teacher, because of his active pursuit of wisdom.  

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