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Is it possible to define wisdom without saying what it is?
In 1873, American poet John Godfrey Saxe published an English-language version of the philosophical fable about the blind men and the elephant. Touching various parts of the elephant, each of the blind men offered his own account of what the elephant

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  • Fri, Feb 27 2009 6:21 PM

    Joy Wattawa

    In 1873, American poet John Godfrey Saxe published an English-language version of the philosophical fable about the blind men and the elephant. Touching various parts of the elephant, each of the blind men offered his own account of what the elephant
  • Tue, Mar 3 2009 8:56 AM

    Jeffrey Lipshaw

    Michael, it's a thoughtful post. I was particularly struck by the paragraph on the obstacles posed by the dilemma of specialization and its effect on thinking about meta-issues. I teach law after having practiced in big firms and big corporations
  • Tue, Mar 3 2009 9:52 AM

    Gordon Raynal

    Might I offer an addendum to the old elephant story and some musings? The child observed the circle of old men variously tugging on parts of the elephant and arguing over their "views" of the great lady. The elephant saw the child and she winked
  • Tue, Mar 3 2009 9:54 AM

    Dallas Bell

    A good question is raised. Why is the philosophical fable about the blind men and the elephant humorous? Touching various parts of the elephant, each of the blind men offered his own account of what the elephant was. Perhaps, the amusing aspects are,
  • Tue, Mar 3 2009 4:52 PM

    tom abeles

    John Fowles in his novel, The Magus, writes: " But I am talking about the general psychological health of the species-man. He needs the existence of mysteries. Not their solution."
  • Tue, Mar 3 2009 6:56 PM

    Nicholas Albertini

    Or is it possible to define wisdom without defining it? I have only ever known one wise man, but have also known many others who, when taken together, might display a sort of wisdom. I don't know whether one can define wisdom, only that it is possible
  • Fri, Mar 27 2009 1:39 PM

    Michael Gillick

    Professor Legaspi identifies the central problem in defining wisdom when he says, "What is 'worth being known,' what is meaningful, and what is good can only be determined in light of one's ultimate values." What is most poignantly
  • Wed, Apr 1 2009 10:16 AM

    Anthony Liew

    Here are some of my insights on the blindmen/elephant analogy. 1. The blindmen argumentation is based on two-outcome logic (dialectic) i.e. mine is correct (confirmed) yours is different (unconfirmed or assumed), therefore you are wrong. This logic is
  • Fri, Apr 3 2009 10:16 AM

    Gordon Raynal

    Psalm 111:10 puts the matter succinctly: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding." (The New Revised Standard Version) We live in an AWEsome universe that "speaks" that AWE
  • Sat, Aug 15 2009 12:38 PM

    John Uebersax

    Thank you, Michael, for your post and for identifying and presenting in clear terms an important issue. A concept from classical Greek philosophy -- anamnesis (literally un-forgetting) -- may be help us here. This concept, best elaborated by Plato, implies
  • Tue, Jul 27 2010 10:36 PM

    Ravi Arapurakal

    The only way to DEFINE wisdom without saying what it is, is by saying what it is not. This cannot work because we lack the concept of the Whole, which, when subtracted by what wisdom is not, would leave a specific conceptual boundary that defined wisdom
  • Fri, Oct 8 2010 5:50 PM

    Douglas McKee

    Wisdom is probably more often "modeled" than spoken, hence the abysmal lack of it in todays society. It is not enough to be able to define wisdom if we are not willing to act upon it. The idea that we are searching for the "ultimate values"
  • Wed, Jan 18 2012 11:02 PM

    Anthony Liew

    Here is my attempt at the definition of "wisdom": Wisdom is the understanding of universal truth, sound judgment, and appropriate execution. It includes knowledge, intelligence, values and beliefs, and actions or behaviors. One can then debate
  • Fri, Feb 24 2012 7:42 AM

    Timothy Beasley

    I found this post interesting. It caused me to think about each bit of information the blind men had. when I imagine them sharing accepting and trusting the input of each, I predict they would realize this is an elephant or be able to describe something
  • Wed, Apr 3 2013 6:47 PM

    Erik Larson

    My perspective is a bit different. I started a company to build an app to help people become happier. After several failed attempts, we stumbled on the idea of helping people be wiser. The reason? I believed wisdom was easier to define and measure than