Chapter

Wisdom: a humanist approach to valuing older people

Ricca Edmondson

in Valuing older people

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9781847422927
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304173 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847422927.003.0012
Wisdom: a humanist approach to valuing older people

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Wisdom is rarely mentioned in work on ageing and is seldom discussed, even where it might be expected to figure prominently – in courses on philosophy. Yet both historical and ethnographic material on wisdom suggests that it is worth taking very seriously. Ideas about wisdom have, historically, tended to centre on the capacity to respond to human problems that cannot be tackled purely in everyday terms, nor by taking refuge in experts' recommendations. This chapter reviews examples that show in more detail how wisdom can be centred on social interactions and can build on, as well as evoke, responses in other people. It explores examples of wise practices, which may be carried out between people who, individually, may not be particularly wise at all. In addition, the chapter observes what interaction between people without personal claims to wisdom can offer.

Keywords: wisdom; ageing; ethnographic material; social interactions; human problems

Chapter.  7099 words. 

Subjects: Gerontology and Ageing

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