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What actually wisdom in philosophy? Wisdom means insight. Having a deeper understanding of certain things. Wisdom has different meanings. It means intelligence, smartness, or the ability to differentiate right from wrong. Wisdom is a virtue and it is put to action in our everyday lives.


We know those we go to when we need a piece of advice because we know they are wise and there are some people we ignore when we need a bit of advice because we consider them unwise. Or peradventure, a friend or colleague who does not have the knowledge about plagiarism and therefore, copy other people’s work without giving them credits. Meanwhile, plagiarism is a critical offense that is punishable but not limited to schools like colleges, universities, and organizations. 

Therefore, many schools and organizations are strict when it comes to plagiarism because it is a breach of academic honesty. We can consider such a friend or colleague unwise. It takes some requirements to be wise, the first one is having enough knowledge about plagiarism, knowing what it means, and avoiding it through a plagiarism checker. There are many platforms and apps in checking the originality of our works. Being wise is advisable in order not to face consequences as a result. 

Wisdom in Philosophy debated upon

When we talk about wisdom in philosophy, “the word “philosophy” literally means the “love” (Philo in Greek) of “wisdom” (Sophia). So, a philosopher is somebody who loves wisdom”. (Buckingham 2020, para 4). Philosophy helps people think, thereby opening us to new understanding and bringing positive solutions that are helpful to us and to the people around us. Philosophy incorporates all systems of understanding and knowledge. 

Wisdom in philosophy has a high moral standard which makes it stand out among other virtues. Aristotle a Greek philosopher talks about virtues that include but are not limited to patience, courage, temperance, liberality, generosity, modesty, and friendliness. In all the virtues listed, wisdom is the greatest virtue because it is needed. Aristotle made it clear in his explanation of wisdom in philosophy that too much of the virtues is dangerous, there should be moderation in all things. Wisdom in philosophy is obliged when choosing friends.


 “There is a saying that friends can make you or mar you”. Friends can make a negative and positive impact in our lives; therefore, wisdom is required in discerning who to be friends with. There is no misapplication in wisdom in philosophy, but other virtues open rooms for abuse. People abuse the opportunity they have, when a person is too courageous, it can cause harm to the person and the people around, it can even lead to destruction. There are cases of people who got killed in the name of bravery. Many soldiers have lost their lives at war because of courage.

However, when a person lacks courage and avoids risks that could cause a detrimental effect on an individual’s health or avoiding risks that could cause death. People see such a person as being a coward. People have choices to decide and run away from situations that are beyond their capacity, and this is where wisdom in philosophy comes in. A wise person will know that certain situation is not worth dying for, there is a time to pause.

Why is wisdom in philosophy important?

Wisdom in philosophy is the most prominent virtue anybody can have. Patience is another case of a virtue that may turn harmful. There are times when too much patience is not seen as a virtue because it can negatively affect our daily activities and cause emotional instability. While waiting for things to work out, a person might miss an important opportunity that will never happen again.

Moderate patience is required for proper well-being because it allows a person to set realistic goals, strategize, think, and develop good planning. Wisdom is needed to achieve all these. According to Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Act V, Scene I),  “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

Surprisingly, wise people know they do not know everything in this world, and they are still able to learn from others. They take every opportunity to learn new things seriously. But a fool thinks he knows all; he trivializes learning from others either because of pride or they think learning more is not for them.

Experienced, well-educated people can still land themselves in great trouble. Not everybody who has experienced is considered wise, although experiences are needed to get through life.


Many people take it as a transgression when they expect someone to handle challenges and situations in a way worthy of emulation. But, they could not because they are taking the wrong lesson from what they have experienced. There is a saying that ‘experience is the best teacher’. Experience makes us wiser. We ought to learn from our mistakes, review where we went wrong, and recognize how to make things better next time. But, some people merely regret their mistakes; this is not a wise thing to do.

Philosophers’ Definitions of Wisdom in Philosophy

Here I’m going to explain Philosophers’ Definitions of Wisdom in Philosophy:


“Through wisdom, we hear not only prudence in business, but a perfect knowledge of all things that man can know, both the conduct of his life by preserving his health and the invention of all arts. ”


“The wise man has the knowledge of all things, insofar as possible”


“I do not think that the last word of wisdom is to surrender to nature, and give free rein to the instincts, but I think that before seeking to reduce and tame, it is important to understand – because many of the disharmonies that we suffer are only apparent and due only to errors of interpretation. ”


“By dint of wisdom, it can be to blame. ”


“Wisdom is one thing. It is to know the thought by which all things are led by all things”.

Practical relations of wisdom in philosophy

Wisdom sits alone. We can rehearse or practice it. We cannot be prompted to assume it—whether for our sake or the sake of others. We cannot expect, should we be in possession of it, to win friends and influence people. Wisdom in philosophy calls into prominence a state of mind rather than a readiness to act in specified ways. As such, its status as a virtue must remain rather aloof.

Knowledge of Wisdom – which one do you prefer?

While all these people claim to be right, we examine some arguments about wisdom in philosophy. Which is the greatest: Knowledge or Wisdom? This is a great question in the hearts of many philosophers today, some have argued that knowledge is greater than wisdom while some have said otherwise. But if we ask ourselves, we will arrive at an answer depending on perspective.

Some other philosophers claim wisdom is a product of age and that wisdom is directly proportional to age. Before delving into that, we must know what both stand for. Knowledge is knowing and understanding something, especially about a particular subject, or having awareness of facts and/or truths. On the other hand, wisdom is a state of being wise and also the ability to use knowledge and/or intelligently to determine what is right or wrong.

Pro’s of knowledge

A knowledgeable person can be said to rival a wise person when it comes to knowing facts and figures. It is often common in our day-to-day activities that a knowledgeable person is more highly respected than a wise person. There are some characteristics that a wise man displays that make him look like a fool or nonentity. For instance, consider a knowledgeable man who is drawn into a contest with a wise man, in open debate.

A knowledgeable man can gain shouts and supporters when he starts offering facts and figures, history, and so forth. But a wise man tells the truth and does not win people to his sides in a cunning way. Can money rival wisdom? Such a great question. During my school days, I had a friend who always talked about having money and buying people’s knowledge to gain his ground. He may be right because many of the rich people today are doing exactly what he said. They tell you that money can do anything. You can hire an intelligent or knowledgeable person to make decisions for you but that doesn’t make you wise.

Pro’s of wisdom

      Oftentimes, we underrate wisdom in society. This is because the wisdom in a piece of advice from the wise takes time to manifest. Wisdom is at times passed down in cultures and traditions, often written inscribes or as proverbs. For instance, there are some wise words that are still relevant today. Examples of such include: “A bird at hand is worth a thousand in the forest”; “A known devil is better than an unknown angel”;  and “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”. If you study these phrases or sentences very well, you will notice that they are still very relevant now and will remain so in the future.

Wisdom, in spite of this delay, allows for actionability, more than knowledge. ‘To know what to do’ is often a result of the attitude of the wise.

Wisdom and thought leadership

Philosopher Minke Tromp is the founder of the Black Sheep Community, aiming to connect Forward Thinkers from around the world in building their thought leadership. To her, it is a way to connect wisdom and impact on a global scale. For – as she sees it – too much valuable knowledge is not acted upon. And the ones who act, and have an impact, often can do with some wisdom. Her definition of thought leadership allows both the action and the wisdom angle. Thought Leadership:

‘Influencing a narrative by understanding what needs to be done’

Minke Tromp
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