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dopeguru's avatar

Can most major philosophers be considered 'wise'?

Asked by dopeguru (1907points) February 9th, 2019

I’m trying to fathom what wisdom means at first thought. Would people who think for a living/philosophers be considered wise?

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12 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

If they got paid for making up stuff, then they are clever wise.

zenvelo's avatar

No. Wisdom is neither a prerequisite nor a byproduct for philosophers.

There are a lot of philosophers who generate tons of garbage.

Wisdom is short, pithy, and easily communicated. 500 pages of Sartre’s Being and Nothingness had no wisdom.

Jeruba's avatar

Philosophers are, by their name, lovers of wisdom: φιλόσοφος (philosophos), meaning “lover of wisdom” (philo = love, sophia = wisdom).

I’m a lover of music, but that does not make me a musician.

There may not be much of a practical living in philosophy, but lovers of wisdom are apt to have other motivations.

As for seeking wisdom, that is a noble enterprise and one with a well-trodden path. Finding it is not guaranteed. The poet Basho (1644–1694) wrote: “Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.”

Keep thinking, @dopeguru, and come back and tell us what you think after the thousandth thought.

LostInParadise's avatar

Wisdom is not the same as intelligence. Wisdom is related to knowing how to work with people. In the Bible, King Solomon is described as being very wise, and an example is given of how he dealt with two women claiming to be the mother of the same infant.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Consider the implications of the modifier “major”, then get back to us.

flutherother's avatar

Philosophy is the seeking and wisdom is what you hope to find.

Confucius said there are three ways to learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

kritiper's avatar

No. Any one can have a good idea. And a viable point of view.

Demosthenes's avatar

Just looking at these answers, we all seem to have our own ideas of what “wisdom” is which shows me that that’s a good topic of discussion for philosophers. :)

ragingloli's avatar

“History is not written by the victors, it is written by the historians. Subjugate academia.”

Jeruba's avatar

Not all of us attempted to define it, though, @Demosthenes.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Jeruba No, but wisdom is not as clear cut as, say, knowledge or intelligence, so I think the question of what wisdom actually is is crucial to being able to label philosophers “wise” or not. I’m not claiming that wisdom as a concept is vague to a fault, but it is a bit more difficult to append “wise” to someone and their philosophical output. So I think this is an interesting question overall. :)

Jeruba's avatar

@Demosthenes, I agree that it’s an interesting question, but not that I think I know definitively what wisdom is; so I didn’t advance any ideas about that. Rather, as I said, I think it’s an object of a quest; and possibly anyone who quests after it could be called a philosopher, whether they write anything or not. I certainly would not hold that wisdom is necessarily a trait of a philosopher.

Anything that doesn’t yield to a quantitative measure is, in my opinion, surrounded by a gray area that may or may not belong to that thing, and that is where we are (in general) most likely to differ.

I don’t consider either knowledge or intelligence to be clear-cut, by the way. What an IQ test measures is not intelligence but the relative ability to do well on an IQ test.

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