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Ageing, insight and wisdomMeaning and practice across the lifecourse$
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Ricca Edmondson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781847425935

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847425935.001.0001

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Diminishing older people

Diminishing older people

silence, occlusion and ‘fading out’

(p.65) Two Diminishing older people
Ageing, insight and wisdom

Ricca Edmondson

Policy Press

This chapter explores deeply-buried attitudes undermining both the significance of older people’s contributions to society and the struggle for language they face. Both relativism and hyper-rationalistic neo-liberalism make it impossible to see life-courses as offering insights of significant value. Even those who support ethical stances often misinterpret them as matters of mere preference or choice - leaving social and political decisions to be dominated by technical experts. This denies authority and interest to reasoning about the social and political world; it destabilises the conception of wise thought, even though the idea of ‘wisdom’ continues to play a persistent part in everyday life and in understanding older age. Key advantages include its capacity to absorb and analyse diverse aspects of the human condition: ethical discourse, the sociality of thought, the absence of certainty in private and public life, and the varieties of significance attributable to experience.

Keywords:   stereotypes, relativism, rationalism, neo liberalism, expertise, wisdom, human condition, sociality of thought

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