Edward Spence’s colloquim: Collective Wisdom, Technology and Wellbeing: the Very Idea

Prof. Ed Spence’s presentation at UT Department of Philosophy colloquia series:

Collective Wisdom, Technology, and Wellbeing – The Very Idea.

Thursday, 12 June 2014: 15.45-17.15, C238, Cubicus.


A common notion of wisdom, and western wisdom specifically, which we have inherited from the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistic philosophers including the Stoics, the Epicureans and the Sceptics is that it is a special type of knowledge or understanding whose possession enables one to (a) conceive and (b) actively pursue a good life for (c) the attainment of eudaimonia. Eudaimonia is a broad term for of a flourishing life that includes such notions as happiness, wellbeing and self-fulfilment.

Wisdom as this type of special knowledge at least until now has always been thought of traditionally as an individual state of mind and achievement (katorthoma according to the Stoics). As such a notion of collective wisdom would seem to be incongruous and an oxymoron. The very idea of it might seem at first to be the fallacious conclusion of an argument ad absurdum, which we should not take seriously…



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