Paul B. Baltes

Paul B. Baltes

Paul B. Baltes on wisdom as collective knowledge

Another feature of wisdom that could be considered for inclusion in the category of universals is that wisdom has a strong foundation in the social and the collective, that wisdom is collective knowledge. Thus one could make the point that wisdom is the hallmark of cultural evolution and collaborative production associated with cooperation and discourse. Furthermore, one can extract from historical work the argument that wisdom is a body of knowledge that is not located in individuals (Baltes & Smith, 1990; Staudinger, 1996). On the contrary, one could argue that individuals are but weak carriers of wisdom. Rather, wisdom is collective knowledge about the conduct and meaning of life; and as a body of collective knowledge it includes multiple facets and styles of knowing and acting. Yet to include this view of wisdom in the category of universals would violate another part of the widom literature, namely the strong emphasis placed on the existence of so-called sages or wise persons such as Solomon.
Paul B. Baltes in Wisdom as Orchestration of Mind and Virtue (PDF), p. 21.

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"Wisdom and the social-interactive foundation of the mind"