Although the subject of wisdom has been contemplated and debated by philosophers for millennia, there is little consensus on its definition. More importantly, although wise choices could help us increase human well-being, there is little understanding, discussion, or application of wisdom in our lives. This course explores the topic of wisdom with a particular emphasis on applying wisdom to solve practical problems.
Philosopher Nicholas Maxwell defines wisdom as “the capacity, the desire, and the active endeavor to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others.”
At its simplest, wisdom is choosing humanity. This will become more clear as we progress through the course.
The objectives of this course are to:
- Explore the definitions and nature of wisdom,
- Examine how wisdom can help solve important problems,
- Describe a path of study and experience that can increase your wisdom,
- Help to increase your wisdom and well-being,
- Suggest areas for your further study and growth.
This course is part of the Applied Wisdom Curriculum.
If you wish to contact the instructor, please click here to send me an email.
- 1 Defining Wisdom
- 2 Toward Wisdom
- 3 Folly brings us problems
- 4 Can wisdom bring us solutions?
- 5 Assessing Wisdom
- 6 Wise Decision Making
- 7 Resources:
- 8 Further Reading
- 9 References
Definitions of wisdom are as elusive as they are numerous. In his doctoral dissertation The Scientific Approach of Wisdom researcher Dr. Richard Trowbridge surveys candidate definitions organized into sections labeled: wisdom as optimal choice, cultural differences, kinds of wisdom, difficulty of distinguishing wisdom, wisdom as a distinct, unique ability, wisdom and the good life, and wisdom and the common good. Of these “seeing through illusion” is perhaps the most intriguing, if somewhat ambiguous characterization of wisdom.
Here is a gallery of selected definitions of wisdom:
- “the capacity, the desire, and the active endeavor to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others.” ~ Nicholas Maxwell
- “Wisdom is an understanding of what is important, where this understating informs a (wise) person’s thought or action.” ~ Robert Nozick
- “the application of successful intelligence and creativity as mediated by values toward the achievement of a common good.” ~ Robert Sternberg
- “Wisdom is the comprehension of things just as they are.” ~ Hugh of St. Victor 
- “Seeing through illusion” ~ Patrick McKee and Clifton Barber
- “To know that you know what you know, and that you do not know what you do not know, that is true wisdom.” ~ Confucius
- “knowledge of means to good ends” ~ John Kekes 
- “Wisdom is that understanding which is essential to living the best life” ~ Richard Garrett
- “Wisdom is nothing more than the vision of things as they are, the vision of the cosmos as it is in the light of reason.” ~ Pierre Hadot 
- “Wisdom is the highest expression of self-development and future consciousness. It is the continually evolving understanding of and fascination with the big picture of life, of what is important, ethical, and meaningful, and the desire and creative capacity to apply this understanding to enhance the well being of life, both for oneself and others.” ~ Tom Lombardo
- “Practical wisdom consists in the capacities needed to make good judgments about what matters in life and to bring one’s actions into accordance, insofar as this is in one’s control.” ~ The Rosewood Report
- “Competence in, intention to, and application of, critical life events to facilitate the optimal development of self and others”.
Practical and Ultimate Wisdom
Sophia is the true conception of the first principles of existence and that which follows from them. This is perfect wisdom, the wisdom of the gods, unattainable by mortal men. This ultimate form of wisdom is sometimes called “Theoretical wisdom” and is often intimately tied to theology.
Phronesis, sometimes translated as “practical wisdom” is the highest level of insight attainable by mortals; the wise deliberation about human affairs.
This course concentrates on practical wisdom.
Wisdom as a virtue
Wisdom is the virtue of good judgement.
Prudence—knowing what to do—is one of the four classic western cardinal virtues. Aristotle recognized prudence is what makes it possible to decide correctly what is good and what is bad for man. Wisdom tells us what best to do—what we should do—for the good
Wisdom is the good judgment to consider how today’s choices may determine how we confront the future. It is the good sense to go to the dentist today, enduring the brief inconvenience and pain, to avoid more trouble later. Wisdom differentiates action from impulse, and heroes from hotheads. Wisdom seeks to do for our future what memory does for our past.
To Socrates and Plato, philosophy was literally the love of Wisdom (philo-sophia).
Complete the Wikiversity course on the virtues.
Personal Aspects of Wisdom
Wise people characteristically exhibit several personal qualities. Read pages 61-84 of The Scientific Approach of Wisdom to learn about these personal aspects of wisdom.
Exemplars of Wisdom
Any list of wise people will be criticized for its omissions as well as its inclusions. Ideally a group of people, already widely acknowledged as wise, would work together to establish such a list. That has not yet happened. Alternatively, an assessment instrument, such as the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale developed by Monika Ardelt or the wisdom assessment form could be used to identify wise people. None the less, it is helpful to browse a well-chosen list of people considered wise, and to study their lives to help understand their way to wisdom. “To really know what wise people are like, it is important to actually study them.”
Here is a candidate list of wise people (ordered by birth date) for you to consider, study, and learn from:
- The ancients – We will never know the names of those ancient innovators who first developed stone tools, cave paintings, the wheel, pottery vessels, writing, music, poetry, constructive uses of fire, and so many great ideas that have allowed humanity to move forward. More recently we know of Confucius, Buddha, Lao-Tzu, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Jesus of Nazareth, Muhammad and many other wise humanitarians from ancient times.
- Baruch Spinoza — was a Jewish-Dutch philosopher who established the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and, arguably, the universe. He came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy.
- Mary Wollstonecraft — was an eighteenth-century British writer, philosopher, and advocate of women's rights. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children's book.
- Dorothea Dix — was an American activist on behalf of the indigent insane who, through a vigorous program of lobbying state legislatures and the United States Congress, created the first generation of American mental asylums. During the Civil War, she served as Superintendent of Army Nurses.
- Abraham Lincoln — was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln successfully led his country through its greatest constitutional, military, and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union while ending slavery, and promoting economic and financial modernization.
- Susan B. Anthony — was a prominent American civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the 19th century women's rights movement to introduce women's suffrage into the United States.
- Anton Chekhov — was a Russian physician, dramaturge and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. Read more.
- Mahatma Gandhi — was the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India. Employing non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights and freedom across the world.
- Friedrich Nietzsche — was a German philosopher known for his controversial criticisms of religion, and his views on humankind.
- Bertrand Russell — a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. He is widely held to be one of the 20th century's premier logicians.
- Robert Frost — an American poet highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech.
- Eleanor Roosevelt — Though widely respected in her later years, Roosevelt was a controversial First Lady for her outspokenness, particularly for her stands on racial issues.
- David Ben Gurion — the main founder and the first Prime Minister of Israel. He believed in the equal rights of Arabs who remained in and would become citizens of Israel.
- Carl Sandburg — was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He was the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and another for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. H. L. Mencken called Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat". His wife Lilian (Paula) Steichen shares credit for their work. Read more.
- Dorothy Day — was an American journalist, social activist, and devout Catholic convert; she advocated the Catholic economic theory of distributism. Day "believed all states were inherently totalitarian," and was considered to be an anarchist who did not hesitate to use the term. Read more.
- E. F. Schumacher — was an internationally influential economic thinker, statistician and economist in Britain, serving as Chief Economic Adviser to the UK National Coal Board for two decades. He is best known for his critique of Western economies and his proposals for human-scale, decentralized and appropriate technologies. Read more.
- Nelson Mandela — a South African politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before being elected President, Mandela was a militant anti-apartheid activist.
- Andrei Sakharov — was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident, and human rights activist. He became renowned as the designer of the Soviet Union's Third Idea, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov was an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the Soviet Union. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. Read more.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. — an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience.
- Tenzin Gyatso — The 14th Dali Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, and is also well known for his lifelong advocacy for Tibetans inside and outside Tibet.
- Aung San Suu Kyi — is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma.
In addition to these luminaries, perhaps there are people in your life, a grandparent, teacher, colleague, or acquaintance, who you consider to be wise. Learn what you can from them.
Students wanting to learn more about particular people considered to be wise may be interested in reading these books:
- (Evaluate: Wisdom: Conversations With The Elder Wise Men Of Our Day (24 Interviews), by James Nelson)
- (Evaluate: Wisdom For Our Time, by James Nelson)
- (Evaluate: Schwartz, Tony. 1996. What Really Matters: Searching For Wisdom In America. New York: Bantam.
Choosing a working definition
There are so many disparate definitions of wisdom that we can become overwhelmed by its scope, diversity, and the challenges and choices it presents us. But to make progress we need to become energized and focused by the possibilities of wisdom, not paralyzed by it. Therefore I present three working definitions of wisdom, chosen to align with your own level of understanding, achievement, and progress toward all that wisdom can be.
Each definition of wisdom surveyed above emphasizes the importance of: 1) Good judgment, 2) taking action, and 3) working toward the common good. These themes are preserved in the three definitions proposed below.
Basic Wisdom: “Pursuit of well-being”. Begin by doing whatever improves your well-being, without jeopardizing the well-being of others. When it becomes possible for you to improve the well-being of others, then take the opportunity to do good for others. First, do no harm; reduce the folly. This is essential wisdom.
Wisdom: “The capacity, the desire, and the active endeavor to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others.” A narrow focus on well-being may neglect important aspects of wisdom. This may include creating and enjoying various art forms such as poetry, music, theater, and the visual arts. It may include development of the various personal qualities associated with wisdom described above, and it may include exploring advanced metal states such as meditation, mindfulness, awareness,  and natural inclusion.
Ultimate Wisdom: “All knowing, all caring, all loving”. We can only begin to imagine the ultimate potential of the human mind and spirit.
Consider a wide variety of candidate definitions for wisdom drawn from those cited above, the references to this course, or other reliable sources. Choose the one you consider to be the most fitting. Discuss and defend your choice.
Choose one of the three working definitions of wisdom, presented above, best suited to your current experience, situation, resources, and aspirations. Work toward fulfilling that definition in the way you think and act everyday.
Part 3: (Optional)
View this video on "Defining Wisdom".
Emerging from Chaos
We are born essentially unaware of the wonderful world we live in. As infants and young children, we learn quickly about our world, but see such a small slice we are almost entirely misinformed about the world. We are born fussy but largely passive, able only to cry and squirm and we must rely on others to feed us, move us, protect us and care for us. Because our emotions are undeveloped we are apathetic toward the world, unless our comfort is at stake. Infants have no empathy for others—they are apathetic.
Considering the three dimensions of doing, feeling, and thinking, we are:
We become more wise as we begin to mature and move beyond this chaos and struggle to survive on our own.
Eventually our curiosity is armed with language, reasoning, exploration opportunities, number skills, and reading skills. Now we can ask our own questions and seek our own answers. We begin to become factually informed, at least in those areas where our curiosity takes us and we can find reliable answers to our questions. But this realm is still treacherous. Certain questions are off limits, myths and traditions may present falsehoods as facts, trusted people may disagree on the answers to certain questions, or we may accept the first answer we hear. Formal schooling, self study, adventures, and life experiences combine to increase our information base. Some of that information is factual, and some is false, incomplete, invalid, or misleading.
As we gain control over our muscles, we eventually learn to roll over, crawl, walk, and then run. We can now move, but we travel in small circles, repeat actions endlessly, and our thrashing around does not seem to accomplish anything more than pass time as we entertain ourselves and perhaps our parents and friends.
As our emotions begin to emerge infants soon learn to reflect the smile on their mother’s face, and react simply and predictably to other’s facial expressions, movements, fears, frustration, and pain. While raw and immediate reactions to emotions represent a growth stage for infants, this reactive behavior is immature, destructive, and unacceptable in adults. Violent tirades, hateful actions, spiteful revenge, humiliation, and ego rants have no wise place among responsible adults.
We are struggling to survive with our skills at these nascent levels:
- Misinformed — Believing falsehoods
- Thrashing — Motion without purpose
- Reactive — Impulsive and Destructive Emotional Reactions
Clear and critical thinkers eventually develop their own theory of knowledge to help them decide what to believe in the face of incomplete or misleading answers and conflicting information sources. Here the rules of evidence, logic, inference, and critical thinking begin to take shape. The ability to integrate information and “connect the dots” to get a larger and consistent understanding of the world becomes important. Falsehoods and fallacies become easier to detect and reject. Inconsistencies become apparent and careful investigation begins to reveal larger and more durable truths about our fascinating world. We are better able to assimilate diversity, learn from ambiguity, suspend judgment, and become comfortable with complexity. These skills allow us to integrate factual information with our own investigations, knowledge base, and world view as we begin to truly know the world for ourselves.
Eventually we form goals and we focus and engage our actions to meet those goals. These goals may be modest and self-centered requiring little action, or we may set bolder goals to learn, gain strength, achieve, and help others.
Emotionally competent adults develop the essential social skills to recognize, interpret, and respond constructively to emotions in themselves and others. Understanding and impulse control allows reason to prevail over passion as we regulate and interpret our emotions. With study and practice we can each become emotionally competent.
We are now surviving by living at the following levels along the three tracks:
- Factually Informed — Holding Rigorously Verified Beliefs
- Engagement — Activity toward goals
- Emotionally Competent — Deliberate and Constructive Emotional Responses
At this level we are doing well, we are certainly surviving, but we may not yet be thriving or successful.
As we mature we are better able to assimilate diversity, learn from ambiguity, suspend judgment, and become comfortable with complexity. These skills allow us to integrate factual information with our own investigations, knowledge base, and world view as we begin to truly know the world for ourselves.
As we begin to explore more of the world, we see opportunities that can only be seized by taking more risks. We can go away to summer camp or stay home. We can go far away to a challenging college ideally suited to us or play it safe and stay near home. We can seek a challenging job or tolerate a boring one. We either decide to yield to temptation and avoid taking risks, or we summon the courage to act on our values and do what we believe is right, despite the temptations of an easier path. Running a marathon, graduating from college, job interviews, serious relationships, and studying for tomorrow’s test all require us to leave comfort behind to attain a greater outcome. Achievement requires courage.
Fortunately some people are emotionally talented—they are gifted with a special aptitude for interpersonal skills, or they learn emotional competency at an early age and practice it all their lives. They seem to know exactly what to say or do to bring out the best in each of us, comfort us during times of distress, and quickly reach a rapport even with total strangers. These are the warm and charismatic people among us who often excel at counseling professions.
We are now living at the following levels along the three tracks:
- Knowing — Combining Facts, Drawing Conclusions
- Courage — Value-based action despite temptation
- Emotionally Talented — Naturally Warm and Constructive Emotional Responses
We are thriving and successful, perhaps even significant, when we are behaving at this level.
When we can reflect on our reliable and broad knowledge, exercise good judgment, and apply it to solve significant problems to enhance human well-being we begin to understand the world as it is. Examining knowledge from multiple viewpoints, adopting a global perspective and long-term view, understanding interrelationships, and gaining insight all contribute to our holistic understanding of the world. Being curious about what happened, creative about what can happen, and open to new possibilities allows us to make surprisingly good decisions that benefit all.
Climbing a mountain or completing a marathon are courageous personal achievements that don’t do much to move the world forward. Action must be combined with well-chosen, human-based values to make a significant difference. Courageous achievements that help others around the globe for all time is wisdom in action. When Rosa Parks kept her bus seat and Martin Luther King Jr. organized and sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott their actions created substantial and lasting progress for all people. This is real progress; this is doing good.
A few people have dedicated their lives to achieving compassion. One example is Dr. Matthieu Ricard who is a molecular geneticist, Buddhist monk, author, translator, and photographer sometimes described as the happiest person in the world. He was a volunteer subject in studies on happiness performed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, scoring significantly beyond the average obtained after testing hundreds of other volunteers. He radiates calm and compassion.
We are now living at the following high levels along the three tracks:
- Holistic Understanding — Knowing why
- Doing Good — Lasting improvement in human well-being, world-wide
- Compassionate — Joyously Radiating Calm and Compassion
This brings us to the threshold of wisdom.
Where are you now along this three-track path toward wisdom? Are you farthest along in the thinking, feeling, or doing dimension? What steps are most important for you to take to progress to the next level toward wisdom?
Folly brings us problems
Perhaps because folly is more common than wisdom, we face grand challenges.
Complete the Applied Wisdom course on grand challenges.
Can wisdom bring us solutions?
If folly has lead us to problems, perhaps wisdom, and its global perspective, can lead us to solutions.
Complete the Applied Wisdom course on global perspective.
To improve well-being, focus on what matters. Complete the Applied Wisdom course on what matters.
Choose to live wisely.
Can we determine who is wise, or at least who is more wise?
There are times when you have to choose one person from a pool of candidates to fill an important position in which wisdom is very important. Examples include deciding what candidate to vote for in an election, who to hire for some job or business partnership, who to consult for advice, and even who to choose for a romantic commitment, or an important friendship.
Assessing the relative wisdom of each candidate, using this wisdom assessment form, can help. Follow the instructions on the form.
- Choose an exemplar of wisdom from the list provided above, or from your own experience.
- Complete the wisdom assessment form using yourself as "Candidate 1" and the exemplar identified above as "Candidate 2". It may be best to assign each characteristic the same importance value, e.g. 1.
- What can you learn from analyzing this chosen exemplar that can help you become more wise?
- Optionally, view this video on Measuring Wisdom.
Wise Decision Making
How can we use wisdom to make better decisions in our lives? Since good judgment and optimal choice are at the core of wisdom, good decisions should be a natural outcome. Follow each link below to study these tools, tips and guidance for making important decisions:
- Step One – Be Clear about What to Decide
- Step Two – Gather the Facts
- Step Three – Set the Criteria for a Successful Decision
- Step Four – Develop Your Options
- Step Five – Evaluate Your Options
- Step Six – Assess Risk
- Step Seven – Make the Decision and Carry Through
To ensure a wise decision, be certain to include criteria that adequately address each of these questions:
- Are you working to solve the right problem? Can the problem be recast with a different point of view or a different scope to be more beneficial? Try to: "take flight to where there is a free view over the whole single great problem." 
- Identify all of the assumptions you are relying on. Pay particular attention to the assumptions you are making implicitly. (e.g. Housing prices always increase.) Write them down, and check them out.
- Are the short term, midterm, and long term benefits and consequences of this decision each being given appropriate consideration? Have I avoided hyperbolic discounting when considering the long term?
- How do I define my own well-being? How will this decision contribute to, or detract from my well-being? Am I adequately separating economic considerations from broader considerations of well-being?
- How have I defined success for the purposes of this decision? Have I defined success broadly enough? Am I truly pulling the problem out by the roots?
- Am I adopting a global perspective in making this decision? Who else is affected by this decision? How will they be affected? Can I involve them to understand their points of view on this issue? What are the externalities of this decision? How are their costs being met? How does this decision contribute to the greater good?
- Based only on my own moral integration, what decision would I make? What is the virtuous choice? Make that decision.
- Am I accurately evaluating the evidence for and against this decision? Am I applying a robust Theory of Knowledge to evaluate the evidence and arrive at well-founded beliefs? Have I adequately researched reliable sources to understand the situation, the possibilities, the likely outcomes, and consequences?
- Are my heart (emotions, intuition) and my head (rational decision making) pointing me in the same direction or opposite directions? If they are in conflict, can I explain why? Have I spent enough time reflecting on this decision? Have I been creative enough in generating alternatives? Have I sought guidance in making this decision from people I trust, people who care most about me, and from objective people expert in the domain? Who is the wisest person I can consult with to get advice on this decision? When is the best time to make this decision? Can the decision be delayed to gain a better understanding without jeopardizing the outcome?
- Getting beyond false dilemmas and inventing new alternatives for mutual gain is often essential to making the wisest decisions. Integrate more considerations to arrive at a surprisingly elegant solution. Get beyond the same old list of options, as King Solomon so wisely did in making his most famous judgement.
- What does each of the Six Thinking Hats have to say about this decision?
- Have I adequately acknowledged limits to growth in foreseeing the future consequences of this decision? How will this decision affect people in each of the next seven generations?
Also, please study these examples of wise decisions to learn to recognize wise decisions and improve your ability to make wise decisions.
- Study the materials in this section.
- Identify an important decision you face.
- Apply the techniques in this section to clarifying, analyzing, and making that decision.
- Watch the movie Thirteen Days.
- Notice all the thoughts, consultations, actions, and precautions that contributed to the wise decision making portrayed in this film.
Students interested in learning more about wise decision making may be interested in the following materials:
- Kevin Costner (Actor), Bruce Greenwood (Actor), Roger Donaldson (Director) (2001) (in English) (DVD). Thirteen Days (Motion Picture).
- Galtung, Johan (2004). Transcend and Transform: An Introduction to Conflict Work. Paradigm Publishers. p. 200. ISBN 978-1594510632.
- (Evaluate the book: All It Takes: The Three Keys to Making Wise Decisions and not Making Stupid Ones )
- The Wikipedia entry for wisdom.
- The Wisdom Page — a website dedicated to helping us better understand wisdom — that vitally important but poorly understood pinnacle of human functioning.
- Wisdom 101 — A Course in Practical Wisdom
- The Wise Path — progress toward wisdom.
- Knowledge to Wisdom — helping humanity acquire more wisdom by rational means.
- Sophos is a web portal that is all about Wisdom
- The Rosewood Report on Practical Wisdom summarizing discussions in July, 2010 by a small group of philosophers and psychologists about practical wisdom.
- Defining wisdom, a project from the University of Chicago on the nature and benefits of wisdom.
- The Global Oneness Project produces films, media and educational materials that explore how the simple notion of interconnectedness can be lived in today's complex world.
- The Quotes About Wisdom site catalogs nearly 22,000 quotations pertaining to wisdom.
- Suarez, Juan Francisco, "Wise by Design: A Wisdom-Based Framework for Innovation and Organizational Design and its Potential Application in the Future of Higher Education" (2014). Dissertations & Theses. Paper 131.
- The Evidence Based Wisdom site is making the new science of wisdom research more accessible.
Students interested in learning more about the virtues of wisdom may be interested in the following materials:
- Hall, Stephen (2011). Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience. Vintage;. p. 352. ISBN 978-0307389688.
- Trowbridge, Richard Hawley (2013). The Flourishing Earth. p. 108. ISBN 978-1300099512.
- Gilovich, Thomas; Ross, Lee (December 1, 2015). The Wisest One in the Room: How You Can Benefit from Social Psychology's Most Powerful Insights. Free Press. p. 320. ISBN 978-1451677546.
- (Evaluate the book: Wisdom, Consciousness, and the Future: Collected Essays by Thomas Lombardo )
- (Evaluate the book: A Handbook of Wisdom: Psychological Perspectives, by Robert Sternberg PhD )
- An inventory of essays, articles, talks, and websites dealing with the question "what is wisdom" is available at the Wisdom Page, Introduction to Wisdom section.
- Nozick, Robert (1990). The Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations. Simon & Schuster. p. 320. ISBN 0671725017. Page 267.
- Robert J. Sternberg, Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity Synthesized, (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 152.
- Hugh of St. Victor. Didascalicon. <http://freespace.virgin.net/angus.graham/Hugh.htm>. Text from the edition by Charles Henry Buttimer (1939), Hugonis de Sancto Victore Didascalicon de Studio Legendi, a critical text, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Latin X, Washington: The Catholic University Press.
- McKee, Patrick, and Clifton Barber. 1999. “On Defining Wisdom.” The International Journal of Aging and Human Development 49(2):149-164.
- Analects, Chapter II
- Kekes, John. 1983. “Wisdom.” American Philosophical Quarterly 20:277-286.
- Garrett, Richard. 1996. “Three Definitions of Wisdom.” Pp. 221-232 in K. Lehrer, B. J. Lum, B. A. Slichta, & N. D. Smith, (Eds.). Knowledge, Teaching and Wisdom. Dordrecht and Boston: Kluwer.
- Philosopher Pierre Hadot as quoted by Achenaum, W. Andrew . 2004. Wisdom’s Vision of Relations. Human Development (Karger), Vol. 47(5), September:300-303.
- Lombardo, Thomas (2011). Wisdom, Consciousness, and the Future: Collected Essays. Xlibris, Corp. p. 462. ISBN 978-1462883608.
- The Rosewood Report: Questions about Wisdom, Valerie Tiberius, University of Chicago, July, 2010
- Jeffrey Dean Webster, developed after an extensive review of the literature, especially Wisdom and Positive Psychosocial Values in Young Adulthood, Webster, J.D. J Adult Dev (2010) 17: 70.
- Comte-Sponville, André (2002). A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life. Picador. p. 368. ISBN 978-0805045567.
- Comte-Sponville, André (2002). A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life. Picador. p. 368. ISBN 978-0805045567.
- Richard Hawley Trowbridge, The Scientific Approach of Wisdom, Doctoral dissertation, the Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 30, 2005
- Empirical assessment of a three-dimensional wisdom scale, Monika Ardelt, Research on Aging, vol. 25 no. 3, May 2003 275-324
- Orwoll, Lucinda, and Marion Perlmutter. 1990. “The Study of Wise Persons: Integrating a Personality Perspective.” Pp. 160-177 in Wisdom: Its Nature, Origins, and Development, edited by Robert. J. Sternberg. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- ”There is an inner light, an inner peace, that can be found. There is an awakening of your mind possible that will indeed make ordinary conciseness seem like a state of sleep. It will make you more, not less, effective in the ordinary world, and allow you to give more genuine attention, care, and compassion to others.” From: Tart, Charles (2001). Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential. iUniverse. p. 344. ISBN 978-0595196647. Page xvi
- Macdonald, Copthorne (2004). Matters of Consequence. Big Ideas Press. p. 412. ISBN 978-0968961872. Page 39
- For information on Natural Inclusionality, see the website inclusionality.org
- Where's Wisdom, by Leland R. Beaumont.
- Kevin Costner (Actor), Bruce Greenwood (Actor), Roger Donaldson (Director) (2001) (in English) (DVD). Thirteen Days (Motion Picture).