Wisdom

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Wisdom

Stephen S. Hall

Publisher:University of Queensland Press

In this fascinating journey from philosophy to science, Stephen S. Hall gives us a dramatic history of wisdom, from its sudden emergence in the fifth century BC to its modern manifestations in education, politics and the workplace. We learn how wisdom became the provenance of philosophy and religion; how it has consistently been a catalyst for social change; and how revelatory work in the last fifty years by psychologists, economists and neuroscientists has begun to shed light on the biology of cognitive traits long associated with wisdom and, in doing so, begun to suggest how we might cultivate it. Hall explores the neural mechanisms for wise decision-making; the conflict between the emotional and cognitive parts of the brain; the development of compassion, humility and empathy; the effect of adversity and the impact of early-life stress on the development of wisdom; and how we can learn to optimise our future choices and future selves. Hall's riveting exploration of the science of wisdom allows us to see this ancient virtue with fresh eyes, yet also makes clear that, despite modern science's most powerful efforts, wisdom continues to elude easy understanding.

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