cqu_3941+SOURCE4+SOURCE4.2.pdf (22.97 MB)

An exploration of the question "What is wisdom?": With particular reference to aspiration in teaching: a practical-philosophy paradigm

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posted on 2017-12-06, 13:14 authored by G Arnold
Investigates one teacher's reflections in order to "ascertain possibilities for informing the question of what it means to 'be wise' or 'act wisely' in an educational setting". The study involves 'hermeneutic inteviews' and the philosophical approach of the research is articulated as a 'Practical-Philosophy Paradigm'.. In the progress of human lives, matters of choice and action are negotiated on a daily basis. The thesis takes this observation as its point of departure for a philosophical exploration of the question 'What is wisdom?'. After consideration of particular challenges that can be associated with wisdom inquiry, the contextualisation of the wisdom question as a practical concern is further developed by attending to the field of education. Here the wisdom question is investigated in a context where teaching is considered as an aspirational endeavour. The so-called problem of 'the gap' between aspiration and experienced reality in the practice of teaching is presented as a more specific context or point of reference for the exploration. A study of one teacher's reflections is conducted in order to ascertain possibilities for informing the question of what it means to 'be wise' or 'act wisely' in an educational setting. The study involves 'hernleneutic interviews' and the philosophical approach of the research is articulated as a 'Practical-Philosophy Paradigm' . It is proposed that the wisdom question can be usefully explored by developing a 'conversation' which draws upon two primary sources in this process of contextualisation. These two sources consist of the theoretical-philosophical perspectives contained in the literature and the 'voice' of the teacher with specific or extensive experience of the relevant concerns. The thesis accordingly aims to contribute a formulation, or way of considering the wisdom question more carefully, based on the transdisciplinary implications of the theoretical perspectives and the richness of practitioner-derived knowledge. This formulation, introduced n the opening chapter, proposes that wisdom is the balanced integration or 'nexus' of two contexts: a Context of Profundity where hermeneutical reflection is drawn towards the deeper meanings of human experience, and a Context of Practicality where wisdom is associated with the resolution of problems or the progress of human lives. The themes of profundity and practicality are found to be useful in the analyses of both the wisdom-related material in the literature and the teacher's articulation of his approach. In general, the wisdom question is encountered in the exploration as a challenge to learn a dynamic, creative and reflexive approach. For both the teacher and the researcher, the challenge is understood to be implicated in the deeper questions of the meaning of lived experience and in the practical concerns that accompany such experience.



Central Queensland University

Open Access

  • Yes

External Author Affiliations

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Education;

Era Eligible

  • No


Dr John Watts

Thesis Type

  • Doctoral Thesis

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