This is an essay on the wisdom of Socrates

Philosophers who are attracted to the idea that knowing how to livewell is a necessary condition for wisdom might want to simply tack ona success condition to (KLW) to get around cases in which a personknows all about living well, yet fails to put this knowledge intopractice. Something along the lines of the following theory wouldcapture this idea.

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With Nozick's explanation of what one must know in order to live well,we have an interesting and quite attractive, albeit somewhat rough,theory of wisdom. As noted above, many philosophers, includingAristotle and Zagzebski would, however, reject (KLW) as the full storyon wisdom. Aristotle and Zagzebski would obviously reject (KLW) asthe full story because they believe theoretical wisdom is another kindof wisdom, and are unwilling to accept that there is a conception ofone, general, kind of wisdom. Kekes claims, “The possession ofwisdom shows itself in reliable, sound, reasonable, in a word, goodjudgment. In good judgment, a person brings his knowledge to bear onhis actions. To understand wisdom, we have to understand itsconnection with knowledge, action, and judgment” (1983, 277). Kekesadds, “Wisdom ought also to show in the man who has it”(1983, 281). Many philosophers, therefore, think that wisdom is notrestricted even to knowledge about how to live well. Tiberius thinksthe wise person's actions reflect their basic values. Thesephilosophers believe that being wise also includes action. A personcould satisfy the conditions of any of the principles we haveconsidered thus far and nevertheless behave in a wildly recklessmanner. Wildly reckless people are, even if very knowledgeable aboutlife, not wise.


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Essays on the wisdom of God.

An alterative approach to wisdom focuses on the more positive ideathat wise people are very knowledgeable people. There are many viewsin the historical and contemporary philosophical literature on wisdomthat have knowledge, as opposed to humility or accuracy, as at least anecessary condition of wisdom. Aristotle (NichomacheanEthics VI, ch. 7), Descartes (Principles of Philosophy),Richard Garrett (1996), John Kekes (1983), Keith Lehrer & NicholasSmith (1996), Robert Nozick (1989), Plato (The Republic),Sharon Ryan (1996, 1999), Valerie Tiberius (2008), Dennis Whitcomb(2010) and Linda Zagzebski (1996) for example, have all defendedtheories of wisdom that require a wise person to have knowledge ofsome sort. All of these views very clearly distinguish knowledge fromexpertise on a particular subject. Moreover, all of these viewsmaintain that wise people know “what is important.” Theviews differ, for the most part, over what it is important for a wiseperson to know, and on whether there is any behavior, action, or wayof living, that is required for wisdom.