Defining Wisdom Research

The goal of the Defining Wisdom Project is to stimulate new distinctive scientific and scholarly contributions to wisdom research and to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and understanding in service of laying the foundation for a field of Wisdom Science. To this end, the University of Chicago Arete Initiative announced the Defining Wisdom Request for Applications (RFA) in September 2007. From over 600 applicants, twenty-three grantees were selected for both the merit of their individual research and for their potential to introduce broader questions around which a new field of wisdom research could emerge. This project seeks to create a science of wisdom through collaboration and discussion among the scholars and scientists in the humanities, and the social, biological, and physical sciences.

The Defining Wisdom website exists to enhance collaboration and communication among Wisdom Research Network members, to develop a scholarly compendium of significant questions, publications, and events in wisdom research, and to make those questions and reflections broadly and readily available to academic and lay communities worldwide.

The Research page of this website will give periodic updates on the projects of our grantees, and will provide media from Wisdom Network Meetings, scheduled for June 2009 and 2010. In terms of research goals, a longer term outcome of the Defining Wisdom RFA will be the publication of an edited book that integrates ex­isting wisdom research with new contributions that re­sult from the collaborative efforts of this initiative.

If you would like to submit a publication or news article, or if you would like to blog for our website, please contact us at Please also consider joining the Wisdom Research Network, which will allow you to post and comment on this website, and will also subscribe you to our monthly e-newsletter.

Please also view the following video introduction from the leaders who helped to create the Defining Wisdom Project:

Howard Nusbaum

Department of Psychology
University of Chicago
Co-Director of the Defining Wisdom Project

Barnaby Marsh

Director, Vice President of Strategic Initiative
John Templeton Foundation

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Users are able to post wisdom-related news & publications, maintain a profile, and participate in discussion forums.