The Cognitive Science of Wisdom (video)

Wisdom as Rationally Self-Transcending Rationality that Enhances Relevance Realization

by John Vervaeke


Wisdom involves the enhancement of cognition (broadly construed). Cognitive science is converging on the conclusion that the central process of cognition that makes us intelligent agents is the ability to realize relevance. Therefore, a powerful way to enhance cognition is to enhance the process of relevance realization. Yet intelligence, although necessary, is not sufficient for wisdom. This makes good sense because there is good evidence that intelligence is not sufficient for rationality. Rationality involves the recursive application of intelligence to the problem of using intelligence well. In a similar manner, wisdom is the recursive application of rationality to the problem of developing good use of rationality. Wisdom is a process whereby rationality transcends itself in a rational manner so as to greatly enhance our central abilities of relevance realization. In particular, people who engage in this development should have enhanced abilities of active open-mindedness, insight, self-regulation, and perspectival knowing.