Wisdom as Expert Knowledge System: A Critical Review of a Contemporary Operationalization of an Ancient Concept (Ardelt, 2004)

In this paper, Monika Ardelt challenges the Berlin Wisdom paradigm, suggesting that ‘Wisdom as expertise in the fundamental pragmatics of life’ doesn’t in fact measure real wisdom at all. She goes on to propose her model of the 3-dimensional wisdom scale as a more meaningful alternative. The model has since gone on to prove very successful in the field of wisdom research.

Abstract: Paul B. Baltes and his colleagues, who are among the most prominent contemporary wisdom researchers, define wisdom as ‘expert knowledge in the domain fundamental pragmatics of life.’ By contrast, this article argues that the definition, operationalization, and measurement of wisdom should not be reduced to expertise and that the term wisdom should be reserved for wise persons rather than expert knowledge. In fact, evidence from their research confirms that Baltes et al. primarily assess expert or intellectual knowledge in the wisdom domain ‘fundamental pragmatics of life’ rather than how wise people are. As an alternative, a model of wisdom is presented that defines, operationalizes, and measures wisdom as an integration of cognitive, reflective, and affective personality characteristics.

Click here to read the original paper

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