If i define philosopher as lover of wisdom, how can i be sure that its a rational,critical and systematic investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct(one of nowadays favoured definitions of philosophy, it seems to me)that brings wisdom? It seems quite bit too dogmatic to me. It seems like these epithets are implying the only way through one can gain wisdom, but what if there are others means to gain wisdom?

If word origins were a good guide to the nature of a profession, a secretary would be a keeper of secrets and a plumber would be someone who works in lead. That suggests we have some reason to be suspicious at the outset. Even if we grant that "philosopher" comes from the Greek for "lover of wisdom," that doesn't tell us much about what the discipline of philosophy actually is.

Let's take the philosophers who think of themselves as systematically, critically examining principles of being, knowledge and/or conduct. Do they see themselves as engaged in the pursuit of wisdom? Some might, but I'd guess most don't. They're trying to sort through interesting and abstract questions of a particular sort, but no wise person would think of abstract theoretical understanding as amounting to wisdom nor, I submit, would any wise person think that wisdom requires abstract, theoretical understanding.

I'd side with the wise here. Wisdom isn't easy to characterize in a sound bite, but I think of a wise person as someone who has deep practical insight into what matters for human life, and who is able to align the way s/he lives with that insight. Being good at philosophy is neither necessary nor sufficient for being wise in that way. Indeed, though philosophers are no less wise on average than other people, my experience is that on average they are no more wise either. Some of the least wise people I've known are skilled philosophers, and many of the wisest people I've known have no talent for or training in philosophy. [I'll add a parenthetical remark here, so long as you promise not to tell anyone: I'm not convinced that Socrates himself was especially wise, though he was undoubtedly clever.]

This doesn't mean that there's no connection of any sort between philosophy and wisdom. If wisdom has to do with what matters for human life, it has to do with matters of value on which philosophers sometimes reflect. More generally, the question of how best to analyze the notion of wisdom is a perfectly good philosophical question. But being wise isn't a matter of theoretical understanding, any more than being a good musician is a matter of knowing a lot of music theory. In fact, having theoretical insight into the concept of wisdom is no guarantee at all that one will be wise oneself.

Some people may see the disconnect between philosophy and wisdom as unfortunate; I think that's a mistake. What philosophers do has its own kind of interest and value. That etymology isn't a good guide to the relevant value is neither surprising nor a flaw in the enterprise.

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