Intuitive practical wisdom in organizational life

Social Epistemology 21 (2):195 – 207 (2007)
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Abstract

This article investigates whether Aristotelian practical wisdom could be considered as an advantageous "sense" in management practice and as an alternative rationality to that defended by modern tradition. Aristotelian practical wisdom is re-conceptualised in order to emphasise the intuitive component of practical wisdom, an aspect often sidelined by business ethicists. Levinas' insights are applied to Aristotelian practical wisdom in such a way that the role of emotion in moral action would be reinforced. It is argued that the role of emotion in moral action and wise deliberation requires re-definition in accordance with the indeterminate character of the moral. Moreover, I argue Levinas' approach might be helpful to bring to light the conflictual aspect inherent in being prudential. By reinterpreting the intuitive component of practical wisdom as Levinas' moral impulse, wisdom theory is expanded to include the face, and to better account for the conflictive and the emotional aspects of phronesis. This approach enables practical wisdom to be understood as a human "sense" in ways that assist how we manage and understand contemporary organizations.

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