Some have tried to make the pursuit of wisdom a “scientific” endeavour. That is not going well:
A curiosity of our age is the effort to “naturalize” traditional values, to treat them as an outcome of evolution. Evolution we are told, took us in a slightly different direction from that of the apes but it did not put us in contact with a wisdom beyond this world. There is no such thing.
That conflicts with traditional accounts of wisdom. Wisdom has been seen as different from “knowledge,” “intelligence” or “street smarts.” They are all very useful, of course. But wisdom is a view of the world from a great distance, which enables clarity about the big issues.News, “Why wisdom is not and cannot be a “science”” at Mind Matters News
And when we ignore that, we end up with appalling clunkers:
Thus, we are informed by Igor Grossmann, associate professor of psychology and director of the Wisdom and Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo in Canada, that “Psychological science can now measure and nurture wisdom, superseding the speculations of philosophy and religion.”
As he says, Grossmann wants to “deconstruct wisdom.” And how is that working out? He organized the Toronto Wisdom Task Force, which resulted in a typical academic thinkfest.News, “Why wisdom is not and cannot be a “science”” at Mind Matters News
It appears that a lot of molecules got moved around in the air in the conference room.
The problem with naturalizing wisdom is that wisdom isn’t natural. It necessarily comes from a perspective beyond our own troubles in our own time.
See also: Why does “evolution theory” trivialize everything it touches? A pair of evolutionary anthropologists try their hand at dealing with existential grief, anxiety, and depression. Probably, any perspective that sees humans as merely evolved animals will offer platitudes and prescriptions for suffering, rather than insight or inspiration.