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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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Languages for life-course meanings

Languages for life-course meanings

(p.155) Four Languages for life-course meanings
Ageing, insight and wisdom

Ricca Edmondson

Policy Press

Chapter 4 interrogates the notion of wisdom, reviewing work by psychologists and others, including the type of deliberation Aristotle associates with wisdom. He sees it as characteristic of human beings to use wise reasoning to share values and reach decisions about what is right, in both strategic and ethical senses: the highest type of discourse possible in our lives in the community. Accounts of wisdom may be perfectionist, demanding lofty individual achievement, but those preferred here are more hospitable to human imperfection. In this reading, wisdom is portrayed as engaged in by ordinary people, collaborating to achieve more insight than they could reach on their own. The chapter next explores related exchanges in art or literature, including popular films, examining their widespread appeal. Lastly, it gives examples from the author’s ethnographic research, based on familiarity with local practices, yielding a transactional, social account of wisdom highly applicable to later life.

Keywords:   psychology, Aristotle, practical reasoning, imperfection, art, transactional approach to wisdom

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