Wisdom in the News

Solving the problems of the world through wisdom

Can the problems we face in the world such as pollution, antibiotic resistant bacteria, or climate change be solved through wisdom? Robert Sternberg, Howard Nusbaum, and Judith Glück’s recent book Applying Wisdom to Contemporary World Problems argues that we can tackle these sorts of challenges through wisdom. As prominent scientists studying wisdom, these editors present a collection of scholars and researchers who proffer ideas about how wisdom and wise reasoning can help address some of the critical problems facing the world.

Robert J. Sternberg is a Professor of Human Development at Cornell University. He has  been cited more than 170,000 times in google scholar.  Howard C. Nusbaum, a cognitive psychologist, founded the Chicago Center for Practical Wisdom in 2016 and is the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago. Judith Glück is a Professor of Developmental Psychology at Alpen-Adria University in Klagenfurt, Austria. The newly released volume addresses varying definitions of wisdom and how it can be applied in real world situations.

Dr. Sternberg’s continued stance is

This book touches on different approaches to applying wisdom on these topics addressing areas such as politics, hate speech, healthcare, medicine, wise leadership, social activism, and education. The overarching question, though, is how do we begin to tackle these problems in the absence of wise leaders or wise human capital?

Optimistically, Dr Nusbaum commented,

The chapters delve into these concepts and include contributions from leading wisdom and human flourishing researchers including Ursula Staudinger, Barry Schwartz, Igor Grossmann, Eranda Jayawickreme, Ricca Edmondson, and many more. While most academic articles analyze and explore the nature and development of wisdom, the chapters in Applying Wisdom to Contemporary World Problems go a step further to argue for wisdom as a means to a solution to changing decision making in work contexts, perspective taking in various situations, and the role of media as investigative journalism not propaganda, and even how we use language towards civil deliberation.

Dr. Glück stated.

Glück, Sternberg, and Nusbaum acknowledge the barriers we might face in applying wisdom to solve problems in the final chapter of their book. They focus on two substantial areas of concern., the problems of teaching for wisdom in schools and the current political climate. They also call for individuals to start making wiser decisions in private and in public lives online.

Sternberg noted,

The editors acknowledge humanity can do much better in solving issues and that wisdom may just be one of the keys to fixing the struggles of the world.

Dr. Glück’s final thoughts:

To read highlights of the book, visit:  Sternberg, R. J., Nusbaum, H. C., & Glück, J. (Eds.). (2019). Applying wisdom to contemporary world problems.  London: Palgrave Macmillan.