Jessa Crispin reviews Stephen Hall's Wisdom: From Philosophy To Neuroscience:
Wisdom is not the same as knowledge, and so it seems odd it has attracted the attention of science. There is such a thing as "wisdom studies" now, and in his book Hall talks to researchers and neuroscientists in a search for the latest information about wisdom. Scientists treat wisdom the way they treat anything else. They break it down into its smallest components to identify and test, and they attempt to figure out how it works, how to obtain it, and what it is. There are, according to Hall and the researchers he meets, eight attributes of wisdom: Emotional Regulation, Knowing What's Important, Moral Reasoning, Compassion, Humility, Altruism, Patience, and Dealing with Uncertainty. Tests are designed, studies are lined up, and college undergrads short of cash or in need of class credit are recruited as lab rats in our pursuit of wisdom.The problem is that wisdom is elusive, and the act of reducing it down to a binary code seems ridiculous.