Practical wisdom (phronèsis) is an ancient, enigmatic and intractable notion that fascinates, yet the manner of its workings and its influence on public life, professional practice and civil society remains ever elusive. At times it is reminiscent of that proverbial enigmatic, shadowy and elusive nocturnal creature that appears only fleetingly for us to catch a glimpse of before it disappears mysteriously back into the darkness and beyond. Despite its profound effect on virtually every aspect of modern life, full understanding and comprehension of practical wisdom eludes us at every turn. Its reticence in revealing itself fully to our scholastic gaze may have something to do with our academic temperament, our motivations and the overly deliberate nature of our method of inquiry. In this chapter we propose a more oblique and circuitous approach for understanding practical wisdom and its inner workings. We call it strategic indirection. We maintain that true practical wisdom cannot be grasped directly but must be approached elliptically so that its hidden nature, its inner workings and its indirect influence on our lives can be fully appreciated. Instead of associating practical wisdom with the high-profile, spectacular and heroic actions of significant individuals, we should look elsewhere to the mundane and the everyday to find that which we seek.
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- In Praise of Strategic Indirection: Towards a Non-instrumental Understanding of Phronèsis as Practical Wisdom
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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