Fall 2010 Wisdom Course Study Questions

From Alfino
Jump to: navigation, search

Return to Wisdom


I'll post study questions and study advice to this page. Any exam I give you will draw from these questions. While the clicker questions are more preliminary than these study questions, you should also study those questions.

September 8, 2010 (2)

1. Explain the "Axial Age" hypothesis from Hall's introductory chapter. What implications does it have for a theory of wisdom?

  • It was a historical moment when civilizations in the East and West gravitated around figures that represented new modes of thought and uniquely human paths to wisdom: Socrates, Confucius, Buddha, Jesus
  • Maybe, these cultures have left behind some virtues as well as other factors. We have to question if we are more or less wise today, than during those times.


2. How is Pericles wisdom different from Socrates'? What terms from Greek philosophy describe each?

  • Socrates' wisdom is ideal/abstract, it is ultimately a divine trait. He views it as pure contemplation...(Sophia)
  • Pericles' wisdom was about enhancing politics in Rome, he was a man of action...(Phronesis)

3. What is the difference between implicit and explicit theories of wisdom?

  • Implicit (ask what wisdom is?)
  • Explicit (expert definitions study famous people and most educated people)


4. Distinguish sophia, phronesis, and episteme.

  • Sophia is "moral sagehood" and is purely contemplative. It is complete knowledge. Phronesis is practical wisdom, while episteme is everyday knowledge.

5. Describe the "perspective shift" in the Aquinas quote in the Robinson article. Does this seem like a basic trait of wise thinking?

  • Wisdom differs from mere science in looking at things from a greater height. The same holds true in practical matters. Sometimes a decision has to be taken that cannot follow the common rules of procedure... Consequently a higher judging virtue is called for, that kind of prudence is called gnome, or the ability of seeing through things.
  • Shifting your perspectives to have a greater understanding of the situation definitely seems like a wise practice.

September 13, 2010 (3)

1. What is Socrates' view of wisdom? How did he come to this view? What insights and limitations does it hold for you?

  • Socrates is contemplative. He believes wisdom is transcendent/divine knowledge. His view of wisdom is ideal and abstract. Human wisdom has little value. Wisdom is knowing your ignorance (negative wisdom) and one who knows that he/she knows nothing.
  • INSIGHTS. Socrates claim says we can’t possess knowledge.I still have confidence that we can have objective certainty because of positive knowledge. We can question authority figures or presuppositions.
  • LIMITATION. Complexity in fundamental limits to our ability. An example of this is marriage and parenting. We will never overcome this ignorance.

2. How does Plato connect a belief in the soul to the idea of wisdom as a transcendent state of knowledge? How does the myth of reincarnation fill in his view of the task of pursuing wisdom?

  • This relates back to the idea of Platonic Dualism, which says that someone can only achieve wisdom if his or her soul is disconnected from the body (the body creates barriers to achieving wisdom because of all its needs). He believes that knowledge is abstract and ideal, and therefore the knower of the knowledge also needs to be abstract and ideal. Plato wanted to believe that each time the body is reincarnated, the person becomes more pure because it is detaching itself from physical needs and objects. However, he realized that this is not always true and that even through reincarnation, you could still come back not any wiser (like a slug).

3. According to Osbeck, how is wisdom a kind of "making" for Aristotle?

  • Aristotle considers knowledge & understanding reflective of “art” more than experience (Page 70, third paragraph)
  • Art consists in “knowledge of how to make things”…the “making” here implies the making of human life, implying purposeful effort in directing choices toward the development of character in accordance with knowledge of what is good
  • “A man should have practical wisdom for the sake of becoming good”
  • Experience may influence & shape, but purposeful self-direction toward the good life is not implied or required by experience alone.
  • Many are experienced but unwise
  • You have to work for the virtuous trait. “Always seeking for more”

September 20, 2010 (4)

1. What is Labouvie-Vief's interpretation of ancient thought on wisdom? What is her criticism of Plato in particular?

  • Homer's idea of wisdom is embedded in action and experience
  • Wisdom is moral and spiritual integrity, humility and compassion, insight into the pragmatic
  • Plato- has no ideal consciousness; no separation of self/environment (or gods); it is "profoundly irrational"

2. What are the main elements of the Berlin Paradigm's definition of wisdom? Give a preliminary assessment of this definition, considering criticisms of researchers such as Carstensen and Ardelt.

  • “Lifespan psychology”. Attempt to test wisdom in an empirical fashion. It involved participants conducting “read-alouds” and giving honest answers. Answers that spanned the five factors of wisdom were considered wise.
  • Five Factors of Wisdom:

1. Factual knowledge: conditions of life 2. Procedural knowledge: strategies of judgment 3. Life Span Contextualism: understand human developmental contexts 4. Relativism: difference of goals, values and priorities 5. Uncertainty: Socratic ignorance

  • Cognitive Mechanics: an aptitude for reasoning and thinking...Declines with age
  • Cognitive Pragmatics: ways of thinking...Heightens with age


3. What is Carstensen's "time horizon" theory? Critically evaluate.

  • Older people are generally better at regulating emotions because of their sense of (limited) time left to live. "When your time perspective shortens...you tend to focus on emotionally meaningful goals. When the time horizon is long, you focus on knowledge acquisition" (Hall 63). "Older people experience negative emotions less frequently than younger people, exercise better control over their emotions and...rebound quickly from adverse moments" (Hall 63).
  • The fact that older people have a shorter "time horizon" makes them more concerned with social connections and emotional richness - while young people have an "open-ended sense of the future" and pursue the acquisition of knowledge instead.
  • "Carpe diem" attitude is not necessarily tied to age, it occurs whenever a persons "time horizon" shifts. "It has already been detected, for example, in young people exposed to life-altering public events, like the September 11 attacks in the United States" (Hall 71-72).

4. Give a general summary of the life-span perspective on wisdom as discussed in Clayton and Birren's, "The Development of Wisdom Across the Life Span"

  • History has claimed that wisdom is a positive quality associated with the onset of old age. Compared attributes associated with the young and old with attributes of the wise. Although the older subjects did not judge themselves as any wiser than the younger subjects, the younger subjects attributed wisdom to the older subjects.
  • All subjects perceived wisdom as a "multidimensional attribute involving the integration of general cognitive, affective, and reflective components" (130).

September 22, 2010 (5)

1. Summarize Aristotle's view of the "hierarchy of knowledge and wisdom." Should we theorize wisdom as complete and universal knowledge?

  • (see metaphysics reading) distinctions in hierarchy of different kinds of knowledge (ex: Sophia v. Phronesis)

we think that knowledge & understanding belong to art rather than to experience & we suppose artists to be wiser than men of experience. This is because the former know the cause & the latter do not

  • We think master workers in each craft are more honorable & know in a truer sense & are wiser than the manual workers because they know the causes of the things that are done (we think the manual workers are like certain lifeless things which act indeed, but act without knowing what the do, as fire burns—but while lifeless things perform each of their functions by a natural tendency, the laborers perform them through habit)
  • It is a sign of the man who knows, that he can teach & therefore we think art more truly knowledge than experience is; for artists can teach & men of mere experience cannot (pg 1553)
  • Hierarchy: possessor of any perception whatever → man of experience → artist
  • Highest forms of knowledge seem to be divine (according to Aristotle & Plato)

(see pg 15-17 sternberg for more Aristotle info)

  • Distinction between experience and art (techne).

The practitioner of the art is wiser than the person with just experience. Therefore wisdom involves knowledge.


2. Is there such a thing as philosophical wisdom in contrast to practical wisdom? (A's answer at Bk 6, sec. 7)

  • Read Pg 5 of Nicomachean Ethics
  • “Therefore, wisdom must be intuitive reason combined with scientific knowledge –scientific knowledge of the highest objects which has received as it were its proper completion”
  • “…what is wise is the same but what is practically wise is different; for it is to that which observes well the various matters concerning itself that one ascribes practical wisdom, and it is to this that one will entrust such matters. This is why we say that some even of the lower animals have wisdom, viz. those which are found to have a power of foresight with regard to their own life.”
  • They are different-

"It is evident also that philosophic wisdom and the art of politics cannot be the same; for if the state of mind concerned with a man’s own interests is to be called philosophic wisdom, there will be many philosophic wisdoms; there will not be one concerned with the good of all animals, but a different philosophic wisdom about the good of each species.”

  • Philosophical wisdom- Scientific knowledge combined with intuitive reason, of the things that are highest by nature
Ex: Anaxagoras & Thales- They know things that are remarkable, admirable, difficult, and divine…but usless
  • Practical Wisdom- Concerned with things human and things about which it is possible to deliberate
Not concerned about universals only, put also the particulars about life, not specific tasks concerned with action
defined: "Practical wisdom ... must be a reasoned and true state of capacity to act with regard to human goods."
it's a virtue not art or science
requires experience

3. Is the human good (happiness) objective enough to support Aristotle's view of wisdom?

(page 16, Stenberg)

  • Idion ergon: distinguished humans from other animals…this is living out & fulfilling your purpose
  • Human good is objective; happiness is the activity of the soul in accordance with virtue
  • Human good is objective, but all people pursue through excellence (unique to their particular function)
  • So…wisdom is related to happiness


4. Why does Aristotle think about wisdom as a virtue?

(Page 17, Sternberg)

  • 2 Main Features
1. Wisdom promotes human good
2. Wisdom is a virtue (excellence) of the human person (perfective activity)

--> Wisdom is an activity which, if practiced well, will put you in a state of excellence. Wisdom is a virtue (excellence) of the person.

September 27, 2010 (7)

1. Describe the Berlin Wisdom Paradigm in terms of its motivations, assumptions, model of wisdom, and research. Then be prepared to evaluate in at least in terms of perliminary criticisms in Hall, class discussion, and your own reflection.

2. Identify specific research on "age of onset" of wisdom. Present your preliminary assessment. (Add later evidence to your notes as it comes in.)

  • In a study by Baltes and Smith it was found that most people expect wisdom to begin to evolve after 55 years of age and continue to develop until the age of 85 (pg 106-108). They also conducted a think aloud study with participants from three age groups; young adults, middle-aged adults and older adults. It was found that participants performed better when the questions they were asked dealt with their own age group (pg 108-111).
  • Kunzman and Baltes (pg 121-123) found that late adolescence and early adulthood is the primary age window for a first foundation of wisdom-related knowledge. Beyond this age, factors other than age became critical for the development of wisdom-related. However older adults are among the top performers in wisdom related tasks.

3. Develop arguments and considerations for and against the claim that wisdom (on the Berlin paradigm or in general) provides a model of living that is fundamentally boring.

  • When looking at the idea of wisdom in general and more specifically at the SOC theory, the claim that this lifestyle approach is boring could easily be made. When all chance, uncertainty, and any element of the unknown is removed or pre-accounted for, life excitement is removed as well. From there, personal growth and experience is heavily limited, and therefore one could say that truly living life is no longer fully accessible. To add, if all emotion is removed from assessing wisdom, and instead all responses become automatic, many argue that does not fully make available the full scope of what it is to be human and truly feel and react.
  • On the other hand, one could argue that wisdom is not boring, but rather freeing for someone who is wise. If someone is wise, their availability to be spontaneous and easily react with wisdom allows them to live an exciting and fulfilling life without having to worry all the time.

September 30, 2010 (8)

1. What is a meta-heuristic? How might wisdom be thought of as a collection of meta-heuristics?

  • Meta-heuristic
  • "a useful shortcut, an approximation, or a rule of thumb for guiding search." (Baltes and Freund 255)
  • Meta-heuristics can be seen as ways to use knowledge we already possess and aim that knowledge toward the pursuit of excellence.

2. What is SOC theory? How might think of wisdom as a collection of meta-heuristics fit or not fit with SOC theory?

  • SOC stands for selection, optimization, compensation.
  • Selection refers to goals which are implemented as a motivatioin for a good life. Elective Selection means matching needs to resources and Loss selection means being able to restructuring your goals or selecting new ones due to loss.
  • Optimization of SOC theory is getting the most of the means to an end.
  • Compensation means responding to the loss of means, adjusting to failures and set-backs while fixing problems in order ot get the best outcomes.
  • For meta-heuristics see notes from 9/29. SOC theory would fit as meta-heuristic since it can be applied as a rule of thumb.

October 11, 2010 (10)

1. What, if any, implications does the evidence on emotion in moral decision making (Hall Ch. 6 and Haidt, "Emo Dog" - including his research on disgust) have for a theory of wisdom?

  • Emotion in moral decision making means that the emotion or intuition comes first, then rationalization. Haidt describes this at the “emotional dog with the rational tail.” One example of where we use emotion to make a moral decision is in Marc Hauser’s Trolley Problem. fMRIs were taken of people doing the trolley problem, and evidence of emotional and automatic cognition was found in the brain scans. This “social intuitionism” is not just about consulting our emotions, but the ability to actually change our emotional structure. What causes us to act is our relatively intuitive automatic part of our brain. Implications that the evidence on emotion in moral decision making are concentrated around several key questions: can we change our responsibilities? What guidelines do we use? and can we train our emotional responses? In what ways? It might sound good to say that wise people train their emotions, but in relation to what?

2. How did Ancient and Hellenistic philosophers think about the relationship between philosophy and life? How did Judaic sects such as Christianity, incorporate Platonic and Hellenistic philosophy into belief and practice?

  • Discourse vs. Practice: the idea that wisdom was a way of life, something you lived out, rather than something studied or an academic understanding...

Platonic: absolute knowledge is not of this world...this is purely a world of forms, wisdom holds a divine context Hellenistic: Stoicism

3. Does wisdom have to involve an orientation to the good?

  • pg. 100 of Hall, quote from Aristotle

October 13, 2010 (11)

2. What's is Patanjali's analysis of the human condition and what remedy does he propose?

  • Patanjali concludes that the human condition is one in which the soul or person (purusa) is entangled in concerns and distractions of the material world (prakrati). He proposes that Yogic practices "break habitual ways of thinking and acting that bind one to the corruptions of the everyday world." Yoga's aim is to reassert the independence of the human spirit in the world at large, and to liminate the control exerted by material nature.

3. What are the Brahmavihara?

  • Metta- Loving kindness: being kind to all beings without discrimination or selfish attachment
  • Karuna - compassion; Active sympathy towards all beings from the realization that all sentient beings exist ::and form their identy from each other
  • Mudita - sypathetic joy; Altruistic joy in the happiness of others. The antitode to envy and jealousy.
  • Upekka- eqaunimity; A balanced mind, free of bias and based on insight. Not unbalanced by passion or aversion ::and maintained by active mindfulness and a refusal to be indifferent.
  • The 4 virtues or states are cultivated through mediation and are inter-related and support each other.

4. How does Yoga challenge a more cognitive model for determining the right actions to follow to develop wisdom?

  • Yoga's path to wisdom involves having good intentions and leading a good life, rather than focusing on gaining knowledge of wisdom. (?)
  • Meditation and the physical practice of Yoga can change one's emotional state of control to be able to think through life's situations, changes one's approach

October 20, 2010 (12)

1. Drawing on your understanding of Buddhism from both the readings for today and the Feuerstein chapter, reconstruct the Buddhist analysis of wisdom as a successful response to suffering. Then offer your evaluation of the Buddhist's point of view.

  • Suffering is a part of life. And so, there is also an origin of suffering, which can be causally analyzed. Find the cause of suffering, allows one to put an end to it, but in order to put an end to suffering, one must follow a specific path. This path is most commonly the 8 Fold Path that Feuerstein presents. This however is no enough to overcome suffering. One must also understand that permanence is not found on earth and so one must sever all feelings of permanence in order to eliminate suffering. This means that one must relinquish the self, the ego, all material objects, attachments, cravings, etc. And so, what a person has to do is to see reality “as it is” and adjust one’s response to that understanding (the 4 Noble Truths). Which would actually be very helpful because it would allow one to realize that all things come to an end and so it is unreasonable to hold on to material objects and attachments when all will be lost in the end anyway. For many people however, this theory would be difficult, maybe even near impossible to put into action because materialism tends to have a strong hold upon people who relate their status and character to material things.

2. Is there reason to think that the direct training of emotional responses such as compassion and humility will increase wisdom? If so, how? If not, why not?

  • Compassion- Sharing others pain/ understanding their response. (Empathy)
  • Vase Example- When a vase breaks is your reaction the same whether it is yours or not? If you consider compassion your reaction would probably be nearly the same leading to a wiser way of living.
  • Humility-
  • In Religion- The dominant religious message attached to humility, from the Wisdom literature of the Bible through the writings of theologians in the Middle Ages, is about piety and obedience to God. . . Thomas Aquinas argued that humility "consists in keeping oneself within one's own bounds, not reaching out to things above one, but submitting to one's superior."(Hall 137)
  • Humility increases wisdom because it promotes cooperation in group settings, this will lead to more productivity (Hall 138)
  • EX. Narcissism among CEO's directly correlates with white collar crime. Narcissism is the inverse of humility. The best CEO's blend humility with strong work ethic.

3. Drawing on the Ricard reading, reconstruct his view that ego attachment is an obstacle to wisdom and to overcoming suffering? Is egolessness a good ideal to pursue in cultivating wisdom? Make careful distinctions to capture both Ricard's view and criticisms of it.

October 25, 2010 (13)

1. What does evidence from Glimcher and Gilbert on decision making and "discounting" suggest about the challenge of wisdom?

  • The challenge is overcoming our biases on how we incorrectly discount for the future. For specifics, look to pages 86-88 in Hall.
  • "Success brings habit, failing means learning."
  • The intentional blink - being so completely focused on something that you miss other things around you.

2. How does Sternberg think that creativity comes into play in wise decision making? Briefly evaluate.

3. How does Stanovich provide a framework for thinking about the value of teaching wisdom?

  • There is a distinction of rationality of belief and rationality of action. IQ tests don't typically track cognitive styles, thinking dispositions, and wisdom. 247 The point here is Elster's distinction between thin and broad theories of rationality. Thin theories means that you accept goals that people present. An example is "Instrumental reasoning". Stanovich thinks thin theories don't evaluate emotions much. Thick theory- we need thicker concept of rationality for wisdom, but the difficulty of broad theories is that they require us to make a normative assessment of our desires.
  • If teaching wisdom is about more than promoting intelligence, if it's also about changing thinking dispositions, then you have to justify it in terms of a broader notion of rationality than just intelligence. Normative conceptions of rationality could play a role in such a justification.

October 27, 2010 (14)

1. Give a general reconstruction of Stoic philosophical committments and the Stoic's advice for cultivating wisdom.

  • The Stoic philosophical commitments or four unifying concepts are freedom, judgment, volition, and integrity. One of the main ideas with Stoicism is that some things are in our control and some things are not in our control, but that everything is physical (meaning God is in all things). The Stoics way for cultivating wisdom is to make sure your responses to the world reflect what you say you know about the world.
  • Integrity is the one thing that is completely in your hands.
  • Long “Epictetus in his Time and Place”
“Stoicism, then, views the world as a system that is both deterministic and providential. God, the omnipresent active principle, establishes and implements everything in a causal sequence that leave no room for events to occur otherwise than the way they do, though it does leave room (here things get complicated) for us to be the agents of our own decisions and hence answerable, praiseworthy, or blamable for what we think and do.” Pg. 22

2. Identify the rationales for "negative visualization" and evaluate the objections to this wisdom training practice.

  • Lessens the impact of negative events; increase desire for good things; increase pessimism?
  • Tragic events, even one's that would normally produce grief, should not elicit emotions that betray a lack of understanding of the world.

3. Do stoics have a "control" problem? Does Irvine's treatment of the dichotomy of control develop stoic thought in a practical and consistent manner?

  • It is a mixed case: we have some, but not all control of our emotions or situations in life
  • We should therefore base our goals on where we can have control (for example, not a goal to win the game, but to play our best during the game)
  • Irvine's treatment of the dichotomy of control in consistent with Stoic thought. In a practical manner, it instructs how specifically to respond to the world, and to realize human limitations.
  • Trichotomy

November 1, 2010 (15)

1. How does theory and data about resilience (especially Parker, Vaillant, Vaillant & Ardelt, and Meany) affect a theory of wisdom? Do you have to have stress or challenge to develop wisdom? If so what kinds?

2. What strengths might older people have in developing wisdom, in spite of their declining mental acuity?

3. How did Monika Ardelt study the relationship between wisdom and life satisfaction? Summarize her conclusions.

  • Three Tier Matrix: Cognitive, Reflective, Emotional - positive correlation between life satisfaction; being wise makes us happy.

November 8, 2010 (17)

1. How does Estes define proverbs? What themes does he find? Collect examples of some of these themes.

  • Estes defines proverbs as a link between every day behavior to a higher level (God, transcendent). The kind of knowledge shared through a proverb is very practical, proverbs are written in the form of telling one what is needed and how to get there. Estes believes wisdom involves a direct correlation to a disposition. He also says if you live your life in accordance to proverbial pieces of wisdom, which are rules set by God, then you will thrive.
  • Some characteristics of proverbs include: memorable, based on analogies/similes, heuristic, and they are understood as a generalization
  • Proverbial themes include: cheerfulness, friendship, love, kindness, righteousness, generosity and humility

2. How do proverbs work?

  • Proverb: Brief, pungent maxim, crystallizing experience
  • It is not intended to be a precise statement that can be taken as a promise or an absolute, but instead is a general principle crafted to be memorable
  • Brief, particular expression of a truth
  • Link everyday behavior to another level (transcendent, God, or different point of view)
  • Straightforward psychological priming/training
  • If you live in accordance with these rules, you will thrive
  • Direct correlation/integration of the transcendent & the social
  • You can think of proverbs like viruses (things that catch on ☺)
  • Because they are salient, have pithiness, or because the community shares a background or text
  • Values & themes expressed in proverbs
    Cheerfulness
    Contentment
    Decisions (pg 232)
    Diligence
    Generosity
    Humility
    Kindness
    Parenting
    Purity
    Righteousness
    Truthfulness

November 10, 2010 (18)

1. For both Job and Ecclesiastes, be prepared to give a summary and indicate major turning points in the text. Reflect on the view of wisdom in each book and it's relationship to other theories we have studied.

2. How would the views of wisdom in these books be practically valuable to a tribe of humans?

November 15, 2010 (19)

1. What are the two main approaches to reading the Song of Solomon? What insight about wisdom does this book represent?

  • The Song of Solomon is a text, written like love poems. The two main interpretations are:
1. Allegory for our relationship with God. “Married to God”. Combines physical and psychological love.
2. Modern interpretations believe that the poems are simply about love.
  • Horizontal vs. Vertical

2. Be prepared to identify some of the distinctive features of Islamic religion and faith.

  • The five concrete pillars of Islam- Recognition of God, prayer, fasting during Ramadan, alms giving and pilgrimage.
  • Mohammed (570-632 A.D.) is the last prophet, and the Koran contains God's final revelation to him.
  • There is a dualist psychology between the mind and the soul, the soul being connected with the heart.

3. Identify similarities and differences between Islamic wisdom (both proverbs and spiritual practice) and other cultural/religious models of wisdom.

  • Islam holds an extensive amount of proverbial wisdom for living out good deeds in life, similar to Christianity's list in the book of Proverbs. The Qur'an's list is quite specific in it's advice, with day-to-day actions to more grand, life-long statements for living and worshipping.
  • Sufism is the core of area of Islam in which the values of living out the Islamic faith are defined. The ultimate goal is the direct experience with God. Again, similar to Christianity's idea of living in communion with God, Islam strives to live actions in unison with God. Some of their distinct characteristics are the ideas of devotion, purity, and living a simple life. As demonstrated in the proverbial quotes of wisdom, actions are rooted in "adab," or right action. The process of Sufi devotion is devotion, service, remembrance, meditation, and contemplation.
  • Nafs - p. 84

November 17, 2010 (20)

1. Does Wisdom involves social cognition?

2. How do we develope wisdom intuitions? (drawing also on Haidt, "EmoDog," p. 827.)

  • Haidt explains that one way we develop wisdom intuitions is through culture. Haidt draws from Shewder's theory of the "big three" moral ethics that help shape intutitions.
1. the ethic of autonomy- focusing on the goods that protect the autonomous individual.
2. the ehtic of commmunity- focusing on food that protect families, nations etc.
3. the ethic of divinity- focusing on the goods that protect the spiritual self.
  • "Intuitionss within culturally suuported ethics become sharper and more chronically accessible, whereas intuitions within in unsupported ethics become weaker and less accessible" (Haidt, 827).

3. What does the Ultimatum Game or the Public Goods game tell us about how some values become part of our cognitive dispositions. Does the public good game teach a wisdom lesson about punishment?

4. How well does "collaborative filtering" work as a metaphor for social cognition of wisdom.

  • One example of “collaborative filtering” is Pandora, which elects songs based on what the people listening to a song that you like are also listening to. One theory of wisdom is that it is the product of social collaborative filtering, because little judgments that we make create a filtering process that can actually produce wisdom (much like music filtering produces actions). Wisdom is a product of social interaction. However, collaborative filtering does not mean that humans actually find true wisdom. For example, Pandora might select music that you prefer, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good music.

November 29, 2010 (22)

1. What does research in moral psychology and behavioral economics suggest about the way individuals develop values?

  • Altruistic punishment can be a key ingredient in developing values. People tend to be overly concerned with fairness, and cooperation levels drop incredibly when there is an element of perceived unfairness in a situation. Cooperation is driven by the thought of punishment. Stronger values lead us to realize that cooperation and defying self-interests can help us achieve greater goals. With no punishment, we risk the possibility of free-riders and cheaters because their values may be underdeveloped.
  • Public goods game, Ideas of Punishment, Ultimatum Game

2. Can we make direct inferences about the content (or dynamics) of wisdom from research in moral psychology and behavioral economics?

  • Yes.

3. Can we find examples of the "efficacy of Wisdom" in religious culture? Does this evidence also imply limits?

December 1, 2010 (23)

1. How does introspection work? What reasons do we have for doubting the accuracy of our introspective self-appraisals?

  • Introspection is the idea that we can look inside oursleves and know who we are. On emetaphor was the flashlight method, where self contemplation is like shining a light onour true inner selves and what you see is who you really are. However, this idea has been highly critisiced. Wilson says that introspection does not produce a clear view of our true sleves, but more of an opaque(cloudy) view. In essence, this means tha twe cannot truly know ourselves by introspection, that our personal biases and perceptions even cloud our own judgement of oursleve. This idea comes from the idea that the act of introspect, is actively changing how we feel. So, our actual thoughts and feeling are clouded when we analyse ourslves and and our recolection of events and how they made us feel. Sometimes a more correct version of ourselves can be found from a very close partner who knows our facial emotions and nature very well.

2. What advice does Wilson offer to increase self-knowledge?

  • Wilson's advise is to put ourselves into a situation and react to it based on our gut feeling without analyzing what is happening too much. After the situation has passed we can look back and see if we reacted in the way that we thought we would.

3. How does narrative opacity relate to wisdom?

  • Wisdom is oftentimes connected to an understanding of ourselves, but, if Wilson is right, and our window into our own thoughts and motivations is not quite as clear as we would initially expect, then our conception of wisdom would have to change accordingly.