ABSTRACTThis paper challenges a frequent objection to conceptualizing virtues as skills, which is that skills are merely capacities to act well, while virtues additionally require being properly motivated to act well. I discuss several cases that purport to show the supposed motivational difference by drawing our attention to the differing intuitions we have about virtues and skills. However, this putative difference between virtue and skill disappears when we switch our focus in the skill examples from the performance to the performer. (...) The ends of a practice can be used to judge not only the skilfulness of a performance, but also the motivational commitment of the performer. Being virtuous requires both acting well and being properly motivated to do so, which can be captured by viewing virtues as the moral subset of skills. In claiming this, though, I resist the idea that there is no element in virtue that is not found in other skills. Virtue requires being practically wise about how practices fit into a... (shrink)
Featuring original essays from leading scholars in philosophy and psychology, this volume investigates and rethinks the role of practicalwisdom in light of the most recent developments in virtue theory and moral, social and developmental psychology. The concept of phronesis has long held a prominent place in the development of Aristotelian virtue ethics and moral education. However, the nature and development of phronesis is still in need of investigation, especially because of the new insights that in recent years (...) have come from both philosophy and science. The essays in this volume contribute to the debate about practicalwisdom by elucidating its role in empirical psychology and advancing important new research questions. They address various topics related to practicalwisdom and its development, including honesty, ecocentric phronesis, social cognitive theory, practicalwisdom in limited-information contexts, Whole Trait Theory, skill models, the reciprocity of virtue, and challenges from situationism. PracticalWisdom will interest researchers and advanced students working in virtue ethics, moral psychology, and moral education. (shrink)
This article echoes those voices that demand new approaches and ‹senses’ for management education and business programs. Much of the article is focused on showing that the polemic about the educative model of business schools has moral and epistemological foundations and opens up the debate over the type of knowledge that practitioners need to possess in order to manage organizations, and how this knowledge can be taught in management programs. The article attempts to highlight the moral dimension of management through (...) a reinterpretation of the Aristotelian concept of practicalwisdom. I defend the ideas that management is never morally neutral and that Aristotelian practicalwisdom allows the recovery of moral considerations in management practice. I analyze the impact and implications that the introduction of practicalwisdom in business schools entails for the conception and objectives of management education. This view reconfigures management education in terms of attention to values, virtues and context. Therefore, management programmes should prepare students to critically evaluate what they hear and to make decisions coherent with their values and virtues. In the final section, I reflect on the pedagogical implications of this approach. I point out that an integrated model of ethics and practicalwisdom promotes education of cognition and education of affect as well. I provide an example to illustrate my perspective and to support my conclusions. (shrink)
What is practicalwisdom? What does a practically wise person know? It is widely held that a person is practically wise if and only if the person knows how to live well, and that a person knows how to live well only if the person knows what is good or important for well‐being. The question is: What is it that contributes to or constitutes well‐being known by a wise person? A theory of wisdom without a substantive answer (...) to this question can never be seriously tested and used in practice. In this paper, I propose a fully articulated theory of wisdom by integrating the skill theory of wisdom with the success theory of well‐being, arguing that practicalwisdom is a skill conducive to well‐being conceived as attitude success. (shrink)
The ancient virtue of practicalwisdom has lately been enjoying a remarkable renaissance in management literature. The purpose of this article is to add clarity and bring synergy to the interdisciplinary debate. In a review of the wide-ranging field of the existing literature from a philosophical, theological, psychological, and managerial perspective, we show that, although different in terms of approach, methodologies, and justification, the distinct traditions of research on practicalwisdom can indeed complement one another. We (...) suggest a conciliatory conception of the various features of practicalwisdom in management. This we take as a point of departure for a discussion of the significant implications of the subject for the theory and practice of management and for the direction of further research in the field. (shrink)
ABSTRACT:Practicalwisdom has received scant attention in business ethics. Defined as a disposition toward cleverness in crafting morally excellent responses to, or in anticipation of, challenging particularities, practicalwisdom has four psychological components: knowledge, emotion, thinking, and motivation. People's experience, reflection, and inspiration are theorized to determine their capacity for practicalwisdom-related performance. Enhanced by their abilities to engage in moral imagination, systems thinking, and ethical reframing, this capacity is realized in the form of (...)wisdom-related performance. This can be manifested either in wise business decisions or through their performance as mentors, advice givers, or dispute handlers. (shrink)
IntroductionRecent work in virtue theory has breathed new life into the analogy between virtue and skill.See, for example, Annas ; Bloomfield ; Stichter ; Swartwood . There is good reason to think that this analogy is worth pursuing since it may help us understand the distinctive nexus of reasoning, knowledge, and practical ability that is found in virtue by pointing to a similar nexus found outside moral contexts in skill. In some ways, there is more than an analogy between (...) skill and virtue. Clearly, both are what might be called ‘practical states,’ that is, conditions of agents with regard to action. For some virtue theorists, the analogy is superseded in favor of a claim to identity. As Paul Bloomfield puts it:… adopting the thesis that virtues are skills hands us a viable moral epistemology by reducing the problem of moral epistemology to the analysis of the epistemology of diagnosis and problem solving employed by doctors, navigators, and .. (shrink)
In recent times, daily, ordinary medical practices have incontrovertibly been developing under the condition of complexity. Complexity jeopardizes the moral core of practicing medicine: helping people, with their illnesses and suffering, in a medically competent way. Practicalwisdom has been proposed as part of the solution to navigate complexity, aiming at the provision of morally good care. Practicalwisdom should help practitioners to maneuver in complexity, where the presupposed linear ways of operating prove to be insufficient. (...) However, this solution is unsatisfactory, because the proposed versions of practicalwisdom are too individualistic of nature, while physicians are continuously operating in varying teams, and dealing with complicated technologies and pressing structures. A second point of critique is, that these versions are theory based, and thus insufficiently attuned to the actual context of everyday medical practices. Now, our proposal is to use an approach of practicalwisdom that enables medical practices to counter the complexity issue and to re-invent the moral core of medical practicing as well. This implies a practice oriented approach, as thematized by practice theory, qualitative empirical research from the inside, and abduction from actual performed practicalwisdom towards an apt understanding of phronèsis. (shrink)
The revival of virtue ethics in contemporary moral philosophy had a major impact on business ethicists, among whom the virtues have become a staple subject of inquiry. Aristotle’s phronēsis is one of those virtues, and a number of texts have examined it in some detail. But analyses of phronēsis in business ethics have neglected some of its most significant and interesting elements. In this paper, I dissect two neglected components of practicalwisdom as outlined in Book VI of (...) the Nicomachean Ethics: sunesis, a capacity to perceptively evaluate testimony, and gnomē, a capacity to rightly discern exceptions to ‘universal’ moral rules. Practicalwisdom is a product of experience, so I examine the role that experience plays in the development of these deliberative capacities, asking what it is that the practically wise will have taken away from their experiences. It is, in particular, everyday, ‘mundane’ experience that begets these excellences, so I concentrate specifically on that kind of experience in the domains of sunesis and gnomē as I search for insights about how we develop phronēsis and how we might better do what is right. (shrink)
The Heart of Judgment explores the nature, historical significance, and continuing relevance of practicalwisdom. Primarily a work in moral and political thought, it also relies extensively on research in cognitive neuroscience to confirm and extend our understanding of the faculty of judgment. Ever since the ancient Greeks first discussed practicalwisdom, the faculty of judgment has been an important topic for philosophers and political theorists. It remains one of the virtues most demanded of our public (...) officials. The greater the liberties and responsibilities accorded to citizens in democratic regimes, the more the health and welfare of society rest upon their exercise of good judgment. While giving full credit to the roles played by reason and deliberation in good judgment, the book underlines the central importance of intuition, emotion, and worldly experience. (shrink)
The prevailing accounts of Aristotle's view of practicalwisdom pay little attention to all the intellectual capacities discussed in Nicomachean Ethics Book 6. They also contrast the phronimos with the wicked, the continent or the incontinent, rather than with those who have 'natural virtue' (innate or habituated), and thereby they neglect the importance of experience, through which those capacities are acquired. When we consider them, we can see what sort of experience is needed and hence what sort aspirants (...) to full virtue should be trying to acquire. It turns out that much of the knowledge such experience yields is just plain worldly knowledge. But it is not to be despised on that account. The phronimos must meet a threshold of knowledge that he will, indeed, share with some of the wicked, but will have a superior version that goes beyond theirs. (shrink)
This book explores the development of practicalwisdom, or phronesis, within the stories of four mature students studying for degrees in art and design. Through an analysis informed by the ideas of Basil Bernstein and Aristotle, the authors propose that phronesis – or the ability to deliberate well – should be an intrinsic part of a democratic education. As a number of vocational and academic disciplines require deliberation and the ability to draw on knowledge, character and experience, it (...) is essential that no student feels their experience puts them at a disadvantage. The authors argue that democratic education should allow each participant to feel enhanced, included and able to participate in order to create a constructive and reciprocal dialogue. This work will be of value to students and scholars interested in democratic education, the experiences of non-traditional students, and the sociology of education. (shrink)
In an effort to meet growing stakeholder demands for transparency, accountability, and responsibility, many large organizations globally have voluntarily adopted the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines. Moreover, triggered by recent management transgressions, the ancient virtue of practicalwisdom has gained increased attention from management scholars, who argue that the Aristotelian concept, with its interdisciplinary nature, has the capacity of turning management back into a holistic, contextual, and virtue-orientated practice. Especially the fact that practicalwisdom is firmly based (...) on normative values, coupled with the emphasis on experience and practice, makes it well suited as a leitmotif for sustainable and responsible management. This conceptual paper builds on the link between practicalwisdom and sustainability. I argue that the GRI may be regarded as an example of procedural practicalwisdom in the context of sustainability reporting, specifically in terms of its emphasis on the holistic and situational dimensions, articulated through the concepts of materiality analysis and stakeholder dialogue. Practical implications, limitations, and avenues for further research are discussed. (shrink)
Practicalwisdom (hereafter simply “wisdom”) is the intellectual virtue that enables a person to make reliably good decisions about how, all-things-considered, to live and conduct herself. Because wisdom is such an important and high-level achievement, we should wonder: what is the nature of wisdom? What kinds of skills, habits and capacities does it involve? Can real people actually develop it? If so, how? I argue that we can answer these questions by modeling wisdom on (...) expert decision-making skill in complex areas like firefighting. I develop this expert skill model of wisdom using philosophical argument informed by relevant empirical research. I begin in Chapter 1 by examining the historical roots of analogies between wisdom and practical skills in order to motivate the expert skill model. In Chapter 2, I provide the core argument for the expert skill model. I then use the remaining chapters to pull out the implications of the expert skill model. In Chapter 3, I show that the expert skill model yields practical guidance about how to develop wisdom. In Chapter 4, I address the objection, due to Daniel Jacobson, that wisdom is not a skill that humans could actually develop, since skill development requires a kind of feedback in practice that is not available for all-things-considered decisions about how to live. Finally, in Chapter 5, I apply the expert skill model to the question, much discussed by virtue ethicists, of whether a wise person deliberates using a comprehensive and systematic conception of the good life. (shrink)
BackgroundMedical ethics has recently seen a drive away from multiple prescriptive approaches, where physicians are inundated with guidelines and principles, towards alternative, less deontological perspectives. This represents a clear call for theory building that does not produce more guidelines. Phronesis offers an alternative approach for ethical decision-making based on an application of accumulated wisdom gained through previous practice dilemmas and decisions experienced by practitioners. Phronesis, as an ‘executive virtue’, offers a way to navigate the practice virtues for any given (...) case to reach a final decision on the way forward. However, very limited empirical data exist to support the theory of phronesis-based medical decision-making, and what does exist tends to focus on individual practitioners rather than practice-based communities of physicians.MethodsThe primary research question was: What does it mean to medical practitioners to make ethically wise decisions for patients and their communities? A three-year ethnographic study explored the practicalwisdom of doctors and used their narratives to develop theoretical understanding of the concepts of ethical decision-making. Data collection included narrative interviews and observations with hospital doctors and General Practitioners at all stages in career progression. The analysis draws on neo-Aristotelian, MacIntyrean concepts of practice- based virtue ethics and was supported by an arts-based film production process.ResultsWe found that individually doctors conveyed many different practice virtues and those were consolidated into fifteen virtue continua that convey the participants’ ‘collective practicalwisdom’, including the phronesis virtue. This study advances the existing theory and practice on phronesis as a decision-making approach due to the availability of these continua.ConclusionGiven the arguments that doctors feel professionally and personally vulnerable in the context of ethical decision-making, the continua in the form of a video series and app based moral debating resource can support before, during and after decision-making reflection. The potential implications are that these theoretical findings can be used by educators and practitioners as a non-prescriptive alternative to improve ethical decision-making, thereby addressing the call in the literature, and benefit patients and their communities, as well. (shrink)
Clinical decision making is a challenging task that requires practicalwisdom—the practised ability to help patients choose wisely among available diagnostic and treatment options. But practicalwisdom is not a concept one typically hears mentioned in medical training and practice. Instead, emphasis is placed on clinical judgement. The author draws from Aristotle and Aquinas to describe the virtue of practicalwisdom and compare it with clinical judgement. From this comparison, the author suggests that a (...) more complete understanding of clinical judgement requires its explicit integration with goals of care and ethical values. Although clinicians may be justified in assuming that goals of care and ethical values are implicit in routine decision making, it remains important for training purposes to encourage habits of clinical judgement that are consciously goal-directed and ethically informed. By connecting clinical judgement to patients' goals and values, clinical decisions are more likely to stay focused on the particular interests of individual patients. To cultivate wise clinical judgement among trainees, educational efforts should aim at the integration of clinical judgement, communication with patients about goals of care, and ethical reasoning. But ultimately, training in wise clinical judgement will take years of practice in the company of experienced clinicians who are able to demonstrate practicalwisdom by example. By helping trainees develop clinical judgement that incorporates patients' goals of care and ethical reasoning, we may help lessen the risk that ‘clinical judgement’ will merely express ‘the clinician's judgement.’. (shrink)
Recent reflection on the professional knowledge of teachers has been marked by a shift away from more reductive competence and skill-focused models of teaching towards a view of teacher expertise as involving complex context-sensitive deliberation and judgement. Much of this shift has been inspired by an Aristotelian conception of practicalwisdom also linked by Aristotle to the development of virtue and character. This has in turn led recent educational philosophers and theorists – inspired by latter-day developments in virtue (...) ethics and virtue epistemology – to investigate the contribution of various forms of virtue to the effective practice of teaching. In this light, the present paper undertakes further exploration of the logical geography of virtue, character and practical deliberation in teaching. (shrink)
This paper maps out various options for thinking about two issues: the structural relationship between practicalwisdom and the moral virtues, and the various functions of practicalwisdom. With the help of a case study of the virtue of honesty, three main concerns are raised for what I call the Standard Model of practicalwisdom. Two other models, the Socratic Model and the Fragmentation Model, are also critically evaluated. I end by taking seriously an (...) eliminativist approach according to which the trait of practicalwisdom does not exist. (shrink)
This article investigates whether Aristotelian practicalwisdom could be considered as an advantageous "sense" in management practice and as an alternative rationality to that defended by modern tradition. Aristotelian practicalwisdom is re-conceptualised in order to emphasise the intuitive component of practicalwisdom, an aspect often sidelined by business ethicists. Levinas' insights are applied to Aristotelian practicalwisdom 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 practicalwisdom 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 practicalwisdom to be understood as a human "sense" in ways that assist how we manage and understand contemporary organizations. (shrink)
Normative reasons for action are facts or considerations that contribute to the justification of an action. Sometimes, normative reasons for action conflict: one reason may favor doing something, while another may favor not doing it. These conflicts can be so radical that it seems difficult, if not impossible, to judge which reason should ultimately guide one’s actions. According to a theory of practical rationality known as reasons pluralism, there are some radical cases of conflict among normative reasons for action (...) in which there can be no fact of the matter about what one ought to do. This is because normative reasons fall into a plurality of types, and normative reasons of different types are incommensurable with one another. However, reasons pluralism is compatible with a principle that would enable us to judge when a normative reason of one type overrides a normative reason of another type. I will argue that this “Override Principle” is a facet of practicalwisdom—an intellectual virtue. Practicalwisdom, as Aristotle construed it, involves the ability to order one’s ends into a coherent system that allows for the attainment of a good life. The Override Principle is sure to be one criterion by which those endowed with practicalwisdom would order their ends. (shrink)
Mentoring is a natural setting for senior employees to render ethics advice and consultation to junior employees. Two studies examined the question of whether those who mentor are more practically wise than those who do not. Although four different measures of practicalwisdom were used, no differences were detected. However, mentors were shown to be more politically skilled than non-mentors.
In _On Human Action and Practical Wisdom_, Yang Guorong offers a description of wisdom and action based on his “concrete metaphysics.” Yang attempts to go beyond the excessively linguistic, logical, and abstract focus found in the American analytic tradition.
In _On Human Action and Practical Wisdom_, Yang Guorong offers a description of wisdom and action based on his “concrete metaphysics.” Yang attempts to go beyond the excessively linguistic, logical, and abstract focus found in the American analytic tradition.
This paper examines the nature of Aristotelian phronesis , how it is attained, and who is able to attain it inside the polis . I argue that, for Aristotle, attaining phronesis does not require an individual to perfect his practicalwisdom to the point where he never makes a mistake, but rather it is attained by certain individuals who are unable to make a mistake of this kind due to their education, habituation, and position in society.
Fowers et al. recently made a general argument for virtues as the characteristics necessary for individuals to flourish, given inherent human limitations. For example, people can flourish by developing the virtue of friendship as they navigate the inherent human dependency on others. This general argument also illuminates a pathway to flourishing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the risks of which have induced powerful fears, exacerbated injustices, and rendered life and death decisions far more common. Contexts of risk and fear call for (...) the virtue of courage. Courage has emerged more powerfully as a central virtue among medical personnel, first responders, and essential workers. Longstanding inequalities have been highlighted during the pandemic, calling for the virtue of justice. When important personal and public health decisions must be made, the central virtue of practicalwisdom comes to the fore. Wise decisions and actions incorporate the recognition of relevant moral concerns and aims, as well as responding in fitting and practical ways to the specifics of the situation. Practicing courage, justice, and practicalwisdom illuminates a path to flourishing, even in a pandemic. (shrink)
This article argues, from a critical realist perspective, that it would be beneficial to extend thinking on how personal and social education could become more central to students’ learning. We explore how constructive-informed arrangements which emphasize cognitive skills and affective qualities could be realized through experiential approaches to learning. Our theorizing is informed by neo-Aristotelian thinking on the importance of identifying mutually acceptable value commitments which can cultivate practicalwisdom as well as generally benefit society. Thereafter, we outline (...) how the recent writings of Tiberius could inform thinking on how, epistemologically and ethically, a first person perspective on learning and personal growth could connect with normative decision making on how to make good life choices. We conclude by briefly highlighting the methodological potential of using outdoor learning environments to help students make informed and wise judgements which show evidence of discernment, deliberation and effective decision making. (shrink)
There are a number of proposals as to exactly how reasons, ends and rationality are related. It is often thought that practical reasons can be analyzed in terms of practical rationality, which, in turn, has something to do with the pursuit of ends. I want to argue against the conceptual priority of rationality and the pursuit of ends, and in favor of the conceptual priority of reasons. This case comes in two parts. I first argue for a new (...) conception of ends by which all ends are had under the guise of reasons. I then articulate a sense of rationality, procedural rationality, that is connected with the pursuit of ends so conceived, where one is rational to the extent that one is motivated to act in accordance with reasons as they appear to be. Unfortunately, these conceptions of ends and procedural rationality are inadequate for building an account of practical reasons, though I try to explain why it is that the rational pursuit of ends generates intuitive but misleading accounts of genuine normative reasons. The crux of the problem is an insensitivity to an is-seems distinction, where procedural rationality concerns reasons as they appear, and what we are after is a substantive sense of rationality that concerns reasons as they are. Based on these distinct senses of rationality, and some disambiguation of what it is to have a reason, I offer a critique of internalist analyses of one’s reasons in terms of the motivational states of one’s ideal, procedurally rational self, and I offer an alternative analysis of one’s practical reasons in terms of practicalwisdom that overcomes objections to related reasons externalist views. The resulting theory is roughly Humean about procedural rationality and roughly Aristotelian about reasons, capturing the core truths of both camps. (shrink)
I The existence of the legal profession is something most lawyers take for granted. Lawyers of course do many different things, and lead different sorts of lives, but those who make their living in the law tend to assume, without much reflection, that they have a bond or association of some sort with others who do the same and believe they share something important in common with them. It is not at all clear, however, what this common element is, and (...) the great diversity of tasks that lawyers perform – representing litigants, counseling clients, advising legislators, administering government programs, and deciding cases – can easily make one doubt whether the search for a link leads to anything but empty generalities. One may, of course, conclude that the main law jobs, as Karl Llewellyn called them, have nothing important in common, and that the legal profession is only a name for a disconnected collection of pursuits with no substance or reality of its own. This is not, however, a very satisfying view, to lawyers at least, and is likely to provoke the quick reply that what lawyers share in common is after all quite easy to discern. All lawyers, regardless of the nature of their work, possess a general knowledge of the law which they have acquired through a specialized program of instruction; laypersons lack such knowledge and it is this, one might argue, which marks the line between those who are lawyers and those who are not and, thus, defines the scope and nature of the profession. (shrink)
ABSTRACTWisdom, long a topic of interest to moral philosophers, is increasingly the focus of social science research. Philosophers have historically been concerned to develop a rationally defensible account of the nature of wisdom and its role in the moral life, often inspired in various ways by virtue theoretical accounts of practicalwisdom. Wisdom scientists seek to, among other things, define wisdom and its components so that we can measure them. Are the measures used by (...) class='Hi'>wisdom scientists actually measuring what philosophers have in mind when they discuss practicalwisdom? I argue that they are not. Contemporary measures of wisdom and its components may pick out some necessary prerequisites of practicalwisdom, but they do not measure a philosophically plausible practicalwisdom or its components. After explaining the argument and defending it against objections, I consider its implications. Should wisdom scientists ignore the philosophical conception of practicalwisdom in favor of other conceptions, revise their methods to try to measure it, or continue the interdisciplinary study of practicalwisdom without expecting to measure it? I make a preliminary argument for the third option. (shrink)
THEOLOGICALLY CONSIDERED, THE VIRTUE OF PRUDENCE OR PRACTICALwisdom disposes a moral agent to "reason rightly about things to be done" insofar as the acts of counsel, judgment, and command enable both the discernment and the embodiment of moral reality in the world created and redeemed by God in Jesus Christ. In that world, Christians live and act as both sinful and righteous, and they find their integrity and maturity in an ongoing practice of repentance, renewal, and perseverance.
Confucianism, since the time of Confucius, emphasizes the significance of “practicalwisdom” as the realization of philosophy. This approach accentuates the practical aspects of wisdom rather than the analytical rationale of the intellect. Emphasis on practicalwisdom persistently reinforces a moral foundation that is not differentiated from personal virtue. At the same time, practicalwisdom in Confucianism stresses self-cultivation, or the complete transformation of the self, derived from the internal state of the (...) heart/mind. (shrink)
To create an ecologically literate, motivated, and engaged citizenry, environmental education must help students develop practicalwisdom. We discuss three elements of teaching central to this task: first, greater emphasis on contextualized knowledge, grounded in particular places and cases; second, multi-modal learning that engages students as whole persons both cognitively and affectively; and third, stronger connections between knowing and doing, or between knowledge and responsibility. We illustrate these elements through our experience teaching field-based environmental studies courses, but also (...) emphasize ways in which practical environmental education can be effectively incorporated into campus-based classes. (shrink)
Earth may now be moving into a new epoch, the Anthropocene, in which human activities have become a significant geological force altering the planet’s life-sustaining systems. In this context, Thomas Berry suggests that humanity’s key task is to create a viable niche for itself that simultaneously enables the Earth community as a whole to thrive, effectively inaugurating an ecological epoch. Stephen Scharper proposes that this transition entails a shift from anthropocentrism to anthropoharmonism. Anthropoharmonism recognizes the unique perspective of humans, but (...) also recognizes that humans are wholly dependent on the wider Earth community and need to act in harmony with it. Moving from ethics to practice requires an ecological wisdom that enables humans to discern actions that are mutually enhancing for ourselves and Earth’s ecosystems. Building on Arne Naess’ idea that ecosophia must be “directly relevant for action” as well as Aristotle’s understanding of phronesis or “ethical know-how,” this kind of wisdom can be understood as an anthropoharmonic phronesis that focuses on healing the Earth community, using sustainable practices and technologies appropriate for specific contexts. Such a phronesis can be found in permaculture, a design system founded by Bill Mollison and David Holgrem which provides a concrete set of guidelines for discerning ecologically appropriate actions in specific contexts based on an ethic of care of Earth, care of people, and fair share. Key principles include using small and slow solutions, designing from patterns to details, and creatively responding to change. Like anthropoharmonism, permaculture envisions a role for humans as responsive participants in ecosystems who must first engage in protracted observation and only intervene with the minimal change necessary to achieve a goal. Permaculture can therefore be understood as a way to embody a practical, anthropoharmonic wisdom that could facilitate a shift toward an ecological epoch. (shrink)
Abstract In this paper, I ask why Aristotle thinks that ethical virtue (rather than mere self-control) is required for practicalwisdom. I argue that a satisfactory answer will need to explain why being prone to bad appetites implies a failing of the rational part of the soul. I go on to claim that the self-controlled person does suffer from such a rational failing: a failure to take a specifically rational kind of pleasure in fine action. However, this still (...) leaves a problem: could there not be someone who (unlike the self-controlled person) took the right kind of pleasure in fine action, but who failed to be virtuous on account of bad appetites? If so, would such a person be practically wise but not virtuous? I end with some suggestions about how Aristotle might answer this. (shrink)
Aristotle took practicalwisdom to include cleverness, and something more. The hard question, that he does not explicitly answer, is what this something more is. On my interpretation, the practically wise are not merely more knowledgeable about what is good for people. They are also better able to discern all the values at stake, in whatever circumstances they find themselves. This is an ability that good people develop, typically rather late in life, provided they are masters of their (...) own affairs. According to Aristotle, this development is stunted by wickedness and also by wretchedness. It follows from his account that attempts to teach this virtue are not likely to succeed unless teachers have opportunities for developing practicalwisdom through their work. Aristotle’s arguments give us reasons to doubt that teachers can help their students to become virtuous and wise, if their own way to earn a living is not conductive to human flourishing. If we take his message to heart, we should, first and foremost, think about how to steer clear of wretched work conditions, where teachers’ moral agency is narrowly circumscribed. (shrink)
I began teaching business ethics over 20 years ago in the hope that I would be out of business in 10 years. Scandals and poor decision making have only continued, most recently with the financial crisis of 2008. The context for ethics and morality is decision making. Those who teach business ethics in this challenging century will be well served to consider the purpose and pedagogy of ethics in a business curriculum. I assess and discuss the purpose of business ethics (...) in a business curriculum. I argue that business ethics education can be conceived as strengthening skills for making good decisions. I relate this to the Greek conception of practicalwisdom . I propose a method for achieving this purpose, based on a flight simulation model, a method that hassignificantly reduced pilot error caused accidents. The characteristics of this program are decision making practice, exhaustive debriefing, and creating an environment for engaging diverse perspectives on problems and solutions. (shrink)