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Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2010
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Description

We all recognize wisdom, but defining it is more elusive. In this fascinating journey from philosophy to science, Stephen S. Hall gives us a penetrating history of wisdom, from its sudden emergence in the fifth century B.C. to its modern manifestations in education, politics, and the workplace. Hall’s bracing 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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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/09/2010
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307593092
ASIN:
B0036S4DFQ

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APA Citation (style guide)

Stephen S. Hall. (2010). Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Stephen S. Hall. 2010. Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Stephen S. Hall, Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Stephen S. Hall. Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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      • role: Author
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      • bioText:

        For twenty-five years, Stephen S. Hall has written about the intersection of science and society in books, magazine articles, and essays, primarily in The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of five previous critically acclaimed books, including Invisible Frontiers and Merchants of Immortality. He has received numerous awards, including in 2004 the Science in Society Journalism Award for book writing from the National Association of Science Writers and, in 1998, the William B. Coley Award from the Cancer Research Institute. In addition to science, Hall has written extensively about travel, baseball, and Italy. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and two children.
        Visit the author's website at: www.stephenshall.com.

      • name: Stephen S. Hall
imprint
Vintage
publishDate
2010-03-09T00:00:00-05:00
isOwnedByCollections
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title
Wisdom
fullDescription

We all recognize wisdom, but defining it is more elusive. In this fascinating journey from philosophy to science, Stephen S. Hall gives us a penetrating history of wisdom, from its sudden emergence in the fifth century B.C. to its modern manifestations in education, politics, and the workplace. Hall’s bracing 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.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Seed Magazine
      • content:

        "A fascinating attempt to understand one of our most cherished--but least well-understood-aspirations."

      • premium: False
      • source: Nature Neuroscience
      • content: "With the flair of an experienced science journalist, Hall takes us on a rollicking interdisciplinary journey through the ages, blending modern science, history and philosophy. . . . Highly readable."
      • premium: False
      • source: Science News
      • content: "A comprehensive and thought-provoking book that examines the difficult topic of wisdom in a fair--even wise--manner."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Post and Courier
      • content: "Utterly engaging. . . . Hall's work as a translator and intermediary between the humanities and the hard neurosciences is in itself a feat of extraordinary mental balance and understanding."
      • premium: False
      • source: Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma
      • content: "Stephen Hall is not just a terrific science writer, he's a terrific writer, period."
      • premium: False
      • source: David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong
      • content: "Wisdom is a golden-ticket tour of the human mind, in all its dimensions, led by one of the most insightful and trustworthy science journalists we've ever had. This book is a feast, not a snack. Get ready to digest more smart brain science than you ever thought possible."
      • premium: False
      • source: Michael Gazzaniga, author of Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique
      • content: "Astonishingly wise, incredibly well written and most importantly wonderfully synthetic. One can disagree with some of the parts but few will disagree with the whole. Wisdom is still with us."
      • premium: False
      • source: Joseph LeDoux, Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are
      • content: "Steve Hall has done it again. He masterfully explains how 'wisdom' comes out of the brain without oversimplifying this enormously complex topic."
      • premium: False
      • source: Sherwin Nuland, author of How We Die: Reflections of Life'
      • content: "With erudition and literary skill, Stephen Hall brings us a powerful and perceptive synthesis of the contributions made by philosophers, theologians, and 21st century scientists to humankind's ages-old search for the sources of wisdom. As a work of insight and art, this is indeed a wise book."
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 15, 2010
        A veteran science writer delivers a dense but illuminating combination of philosophical ideas and hard research.

        Laboratories study intellect, emotion and ethics, writes Hall (Size Matters: How Height Affects the Health, Happiness, and Success of Boys-and the Men They Become, 2006, etc.), but only recently have scientists turned their attention to wisdom, which may be defined as using all three to make a sensible decision. The author begins by sketching the teachings of history's first great wise men (Socrates, Buddha and Jesus) not forgetting Confucius's admonition that paths to wisdom include reflection (the noblest), imitation (the easiest) and experience (the bitterest). In the pre–CT scan era of the 1970s, a graduate student, Vivian Clayton, published pioneering research. Her first study, aimed at lawyers, attempted to determine if wisdom increases with age. The results were inconclusive; later studies suggested that it's important but not essential. This and her later papers produced a considerable buzz at psychological meetings, but she failed to receive research grants and left academia in 1982. By this time the ball was rolling, aided by swelling scientific fascination with the brain and dazzling high-tech instruments to examine it. It turns out that patterns of knowledge and judgment typical of wisdom appear in adolescence and don't measurably increase over time. Exposure to adversity such as war or personal loss helps, although it's not a good idea to have too much. Those searching for easy tips on achieving wisdom will not find them here, but diligent readers will be rewarded.

        A steady stream of insights into the psychology and neurological mechanisms of wise decision-making and the researchers uncovering them.

        (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 15, 2009
        What is wisdom? Is it the same across cultures and time? Is wisdom too complex a phenomenon for science to investigate? Who in the scientific community has tried? And what does science say about the traits we often associate with wisdom: compassion, humility, patience, and so on? Award-winning science writer Hall ("Size Matters; Merchants of Immortality") investigates these questions and more. Somewhat wordy and digressive, with little in-depth analysis, his book is periodically thought-provoking and offers something interesting in each chapter. VERDICT This is worth considering, especially for the general reader interested in what contemporary neuroscience can tell us about wisdom as a psychological and developmental phenomenon and about its associated mental states and behavioral characteristics. Interested readers seeking a challenge may consider a more academic introduction to neuroscience and philosophy such as "Philosophy and the Neurosciences: A Reader", edited by William Bechtel and others. [50,000-copy first printing.]Jonathan Bodnar, Georgia Inst. of Technology Lib. & Information Ctr., Atlanta

        Copyright 2009 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        March 1, 2010
        Definitions of wisdom abound in Halls exploration of the concept, which he reports is no longer the exclusive domain of theology and philosophy. Clinical psychology and neurobiology have elbowed their way into the subject in recent decades, and their investigations and investigators make up much of Halls work. An author of several books about human physiology (Size Matters: How Height Affects the Health, Happiness, and Success of Boys, 2006), Hall details brain-scan experiments intended to elucidate at a neuronal level components of wisdom such as ethics and also cites studies that rely on interviews with older people about their life experiences. From the authors accounts, it doesnt seem as though the scientist in the lab coat offers better definitions of wisdom than the sage in the toga. An essential ineffability about wisdom dogs both the empiricist and the theorist, according to Hall, but, not willing to concede futility in the hunt for wisdom, he suggests it is to be sought in family life and interpersonal relationshipsa practical proposition on which his readers can reflect.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association.)

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We all recognize wisdom, but defining it is more elusive. In this fascinating journey from philosophy to science, Stephen S. Hall gives us a penetrating history of wisdom, from its sudden emergence in the fifth century B.C. to its modern manifestations in education, politics, and the workplace. Hall’s bracing 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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