From Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution in the Aims and Methods of Science

Basil Blackwell, Oxford

From Knowledge to Wisdom argues that there is an urgent need, for both intellectual and humanitarian reasons, to bring about a revolution in science and the humanities. The outcome would be a kind of academic inquiry rationally devoted to helping humanity learn how to create a better world. Instead of giving priority to solving problems of knowledge, as at present, academia would devote itself to helping us solve our immense, current global problems – global warming, war, poverty, population growth, pollution of sea, earth and air, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, proliferation of armaments, conventional, chemical, and nuclear, tyranny and injustice. The basic intellectual aim of inquiry would be to seek and promote wisdom – wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides.

 

“Maxwell is advocating nothing less than a revolution (based on reason, not on religious or Marxist doctrine) in our intellectual goals and methods of inquiry ... There are altogether too many symptoms of malaise in our science-based society for Nicholas Maxwell's diagnosis to be ignored."
Professor Christopher Longuet-Higgins, Nature

 

“a strong effort is needed if one is to stand back and clearly state the objections to the whole enormous tangle of misconceptions which surround the notion of science to-day. Maxwell has made that effort in this powerful, profound and important book.”
Dr. Mary Midgley, University Quarterly

 

“The essential idea is really so simple, so transparently right ... It is a profound book, refreshingly unpretentious, and deserves to be read, refined and implemented.”
Dr. Stewart Richards, Annals of Science

 

“Maxwell's book is a major contribution to current work on the intellectual status and social functions of science ... [It] comes as an enormous breath of fresh air, for here is a philosopher of science with enough backbone to offer root and branch criticism of scientific practices and to call for their reform.”
Dr. David Collingridge, Social Studies of Science

 

"Maxwell has, I believe, written a very important book which will resonate in the years to come. For those who are not inextricably and cynically locked into the power and career structure of academia with its government-industrial-military connections, this is a book to read, think about, and act on."
Dr. Brian Easlea, Journal of Applied Philosophy

 

“This book is a provocative and sustained argument for a 'revolution', a call for a 'sweeping, holistic change in the overall aims and methods of institutionalized inquiry and education, from knowledge to wisdom' ... Maxwell offers solid and convincing arguments for the exciting and important thesis that rational research and debate among professionals concerning values and their realization is both possible and ought to be undertaken.”
Professor Jeff Foss, Canadian Philosophical Review

 “Wisdom, as Maxwell's own experience shows, has been outlawed from the western academic and intellectual system ... In such a climate, Maxwell's effort to get a hearing on behalf of wisdom is indeed praiseworthy.”
Dr. Ziauddin Sardar, Inquiry
 

 



(My publication)Posted:Apr 01 1984, 12:00 AM by NickMaxwell
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