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Thoughts on Wisdom and Its Relation to Critical Thinking, Multiculturalism, and Global Awareness

Author(s): Jeremy Barris | Jeffrey C. C. Ruff

Journal: Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis
ISSN 0890-5118

Volume: 31;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 5;
Date: 2011;
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We want to propose a conception of wisdom with a view to exploring what insights it can give us into some basic dimensions of teaching in contemporary higher education. We hope to show that this conception allows us, on the one hand, to see some crucial inadequacies of existing approaches to critical thinking, multiculturalism, and global awareness or internationalism. On the other hand, we believe that it also gives us some insight into the existentially or spiritually meaningful dimensions of learning. In this way, it bridges the most contemporary and practical foci of teaching and its most fundamental and timeless concerns. In the later part of the paper, we shall explore some of the characteristics of this conception further through the teachings of some of the longstanding wisdom traditions, including what they say about teaching itself.Our conception of wisdom involves several very sharp, related paradoxes, which will emerge in the various stages of our discussion. We will show in each case that these paradoxes actually make an easily grasped kind of sense, and we ask the reader’s forbearance with each apparently nonsensical initial presentation. The initial paradoxes are, in fact, nonsensical: but, as we hope will become clear, this is not all that they are.
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