Ep. 45 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - The Nature of Wisdom

topic

discussion

my notes

Theory of Wisdom

  • Proposal by Vervaeke and Ferraro. 2013
  • Two competencies:
    • Inferential: propositional knowing -> enhanced and protected from undue influence from S1 processing by active open-mindedness.
    • Insight competence: construal (procedural) - mindfulness foregrounds it
  • How are these coordinated together?
    • One possibility: opponent processing, self-organizing, potentially viable
    • V argued that inferential giving priority to propositional knowledge, insight to do with procedural - cultivating skills of attention
    • Active open mindedness and propositional knowing give knowledge of facts
    • Processes give you knowledge of events
    • Fact: cross contextual patterns
    • Events or processes are things that are unfolding idiosyncratically in time and space
    • Inferential - grasping of principles
    • Insight - grasping of processes
    • Inferential - sophia, insight - phronesis (may not be that clean a mapping)
    • Perspectival: internalization - how do you learn to adopt and take other people’s perspectives and internalize them within own processing so they became metacognitively effective
    • Helps to put principles into process and have processes govern by principles
    • A perspective puts theories and skills together.
    • But more that:
      • propositional knowledge is grounded in but affected by procedural knowledge (your skills, knowing how to interact)
      • your ability to cultivate skills and apply them to propositional knowledge is grounded in perspectival knowing -> gives situational awareness that you need to cultivate the skills and apply knowledge of principles
      • This is ultimately grounded in your participatory knowing the agent arena attunement that affords your being in the world and ability to go through modal transformation existential change
  • Without an account of participatory knowing it can’t incorporate into it’s account of becoming wise - need to connect participatory knowing to this overarching schema or the connection between wisdom, transformative experience, altered states of consciousness will be missing from the theory
  • This needs important development
  • They argued perspectival is set within a cognitive style that will give higher-order way of regulating active open-mindedness and mindfulness
  • Took directly from the philosophical tradition of internalizing the sage
  • Infernential overcoming fallactious reasoning
  • Insight overcoming misframing/misconstrual, perceptual helps overcome egocentrism in powerful way
  • What does internalizing the sage do?
    • Sophrosyne: translated as temperence, moderation but doesn’t capture it
    • Everything in moderation - not quite right. Connected to something like the golden mean, virtual engine that generates enough options so don’t suffer vices of deficit but also generates enough governance there’s enough selective constraints so that also thwarts vices of excess - optimization
  • They argue better way to understand this in enkratia - kratia = exercising power ovre oneself - enkratia = self-restraint, self-control
  • Can practice a virtue in an enkratic manner
  • Ex: Tom trying to become honest, sees the potential to lie and the benefit that wil encrue, exercises self-control and doesn’t lie. Susan sees the opportunity to lie, sees the advantage to lie, but that’s it - but not a viable option to her, can’t get into the existential mode so that draws on her. It is unthiinkable to her. She’s not tempted to lie. Many would say Susan is more honest than Tom, because honesty second nature to her
  • Ex: Paul and agape, now show you the most excellent way, when I was a child thought like a child, when became a man put childish things behind me. Toys don’t tempt me. Sage has a salience landscape where they are not tempted to self deception in the way we often are.
  • Sage’s salience landscape less oriented to our prevalent and pervasive self deception
  • If wise naturally self-organize towards seeing through illusion zeroing in on what’s relevant.
  • Argue deep connection that needs to be explored between wsdom and Sophrosyne
  • Sophrosyne: optimization of perspectival knowing, so it’s always in service of my agent/arena relationship and how it is being developed so I can go through the transformations needed to become a wise person
  • Sophrosyne directed to:
    • Morality: knowing the rules and capacity being virtuous
    • Realizing the meaning in life - self determination theory, needs to be revised
    • Mastery: terrific capacity for coping and caring with reality, sets of skills, psychotechnologies, roles can take. Propositional knowing gives rules, procedural knowing gives routines, perspectival knowing gives roles, being able to use routines and roles with mastery, always guided by Sophrosyne
  • Sports psychology analogy: internalize the coach.
  • Process theory: Cultivate:
    • Active open-mindedness
    • mindfulness
    • Internalize the sage
    • Guided overall by trying to become Sophrosynic
  • Absent: transformationaly experience, participatory knowing missing, gnosis
  • Relationship between different kinds of knowing not well developed
  • All of this about enhanving relevance realization, optimize cognition
  • RR is central in the explicit psychological theories we’ve examined
  • Wisdom has to do with gaining knowledge in the best way.
  • Wise person knows how to believe well.
  • Overcoming egocentrism
  • Pauline recommendation best form of Sophrosyne is Agape
  • What’s missing is theory of understanding

Theory of understanding

  • V working on this, not complete
  • Distinguish understanding from knowledge, beyond possessing an explanation
  • Kekes: grasping the significance - construal and RR
  • Grasping the significance of the knowledge - many converging on this idea
  • Construal: understood in terms of problem formulation
  • V argues that what talking about is really good construal
  • Notion of “optimal grip”
    • Structural functional organization
    • Sized up the situation well
    • Know the feature/gestalt get the tight degree of transparency opacity
    • What it does is afford me to grasp what’s relevant in the situation, \
    • affords good problem formulation
    • Connection to good problem finding
  • Standard of effectiveness:
    • Can’t say understanding = grasping the truth, because most things believe are false so would have to say no one’s ever understood something
    • Tie understanding to rationality - use the best methods for getting out the truth
    • We use things that aren’t true to understand things: ex: drawing of atom is false
    • Helps zero in on the relevant information in the right way. Most scientific diagrams not aimed at truth but at relevant implications and connections
    • Understand means can apply knowledge, open up new domains, areas of research
    • Capacity for problem finding - good understanding can motivate need for good cognition
  • Contextually sensitive, context relative
  • Argue that one more thing needed: convergence so construct trustworthy
  • If basic understanding is to grasp the significance, profound understanding when basic understanding generates plausibility (?)
  • Profound understanding also aligns and optimizes relationship propositional knowing, procedural, perspectival, participatory
  • Knowing through transformation, transformative experience - can be sudden, so has important features of insight.
  • Agnes Callard: Aspiration: argued also instances where people go through transformative knowing that are more incremental
    • Join music appreciation class
    • Goal to come to value music for its own sake
    • If good student would appreciate music for own sake but then wouldn’t need the class
    • Process of trying to acquire: aspiration
    • Sudden insight - inspiration
    • Proleptic rationality: trying to encourage people to cultivate certain values
    • Person who is trying to become someone other than they are, to go through transformational experience, wouldn’t say it’s irrational. Don’t say it’s irrational to aspire to rationality
    • Loving of wisdom cannot itself be irrational, must be rational
    • V argues also should include inspiration in rationality
    • Process of identity change, transformative experience, participatory knowing - but doesn’t give much to a psychology of aspiration
    • Need to get a value that will get me currently engaged, but will be able to give up that value when achieve goal
    • I may go to the music class because I have the value of making myself do things I find difficult, do that with the understanding that is temporary, try to get me to a liminal place, start to play with what it’s like to value music for its own sake
    • Gnosis bound up with aspiration
    • She doesn’t talk about wonder
    • Wonder gets you to question your worldview, sense of self, motivates you to go through aspirational change
  • Account of wisdom: wisdom is an ecology of psychotechnologies, styles, that dynamically and reciprocally constrain and optimize each other such that there is an overall optimization enhancement of relevance realization, within inference, within insight and into intuition, internalization, understanding, gnosis, transformation and aspiration
  • Wisdom is an ecology of psycho technologies and cognitive styles that dynamically enhance RR in inference insight and intuition, internatilization,understanding and gnosis transformation and aspiration and that sense what’s happening is something overlapping with machinery of enlightenment. Dynamical system. Counteractive to the machinery of self-deception and that helps to afford the self-organized transformation into the life of flourishing, a life that is deeply meaningful