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Valuing older peopleA humanist approach to ageing$
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Ricca Edmondson and Hans-Joachim Von Kondratowitz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847422927

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847422927.001.0001

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Wisdom: a humanist approach to valuing older people

Wisdom: a humanist approach to valuing older people

(p.201) Eleven Wisdom: a humanist approach to valuing older people
Valuing older people

Ricca Edmondson

Policy Press

Wisdom is rarely mentioned in work on ageing and is seldom discussed, even where it might be expected to figure prominently – in courses on philosophy. Yet both historical and ethnographic material on wisdom suggests that it is worth taking very seriously. Ideas about wisdom have, historically, tended to centre on the capacity to respond to human problems that cannot be tackled purely in everyday terms, nor by taking refuge in experts' recommendations. This chapter reviews examples that show in more detail how wisdom can be centred on social interactions and can build on, as well as evoke, responses in other people. It explores examples of wise practices, which may be carried out between people who, individually, may not be particularly wise at all. In addition, the chapter observes what interaction between people without personal claims to wisdom can offer.

Keywords:   wisdom, ageing, ethnographic material, social interactions, human problems

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