I’ve been thinking about wisdom off and on for a while, particularly Stephen R. Grimm’s paper “Wisdom” (Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 2015, Vol. 93, No. 1, 139-154). My aim in this post is to offer an informal précis of the paper and to scribble a few thoughts about it.
Grimm begins by noting two distinctives of his account. First, to count as wise a person must possess knowledge of how to live well, not merely rational or justified beliefs about living well. Second, Grimm denies that there are two kinds of wisdom, practical and theoretical. While theoretical knowledge exists, whatever theoretical knowledge the wise possess it only counts as wisdom if it helps them to live well (139).
Knowledge of how to live well is broken down into three necessary conditions (Grimm doesn’t claim that they’re jointly sufficient):
- Knowledge of what is good or important for well-being
- Knowledge of one’s standing, relative to what is good or important for well-being
- Knowledge of a strategy for obtaining what is good or important for well-being
Much of the rest of the paper is spent fleshing out these requirements.