From Philosophy to Neuroscience

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A compelling investigation into one of our most coveted and cherished ideals, and the efforts of modern science to penetrate the mysterious nature of this timeless virtue.

We all recognize wisdom, but defining it is more elusive. In this fascinating journey from philosophy to science, Stephen S. Hall gives us a dramatic history of wisdom, from its sudden emergence in four different locations (Greece, China, Israel, and India) in the fifth century B.C. to its modern manifestations in education, politics, and the workplace. We learn how wisdom became the provenance of philosophy and religion through its embodiment in individuals such as Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus; how it has consistently been a catalyst for social chan≥ and how revelatory work in the last fifty years by psychologists, economists, and neuroscientists has begun to shed light on the biology of cognitive traits long associated with wisdom--and, in doing so, begun to suggest how we might cultivate it.

Hall explores the neural mechanisms for wise decision making; the conflict between the emotional and cognitive parts of the brain; the development of compassion, humility, and empathy; the effect of adversity and the impact of early-life stress on the development of wisdom; and how we can learn to optimize our future choices and future selves.

Hall's bracing exploration of the science of wisdom allows us to see this ancient virtue with fresh eyes, yet also makes clear that despite modern science's most powerful efforts, wisdom continues to elude easy understanding.
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307269102
Branch Call Number: 179 .9 HAL
Characteristics: x, 333 p. ;,25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

dgr Aug 07, 2012

I liked this book. An interesting examination of the subject that, because of Hall's humor, sometimes seemed like it was written by Buddy or Seymour Glass.

Something disturbing, though (and I finished it last week so some of the details are lost to me) but on page 161, Hall refers to expirements by Fehn (?) and something called TMR (?) which inhibits the ability of the subject to respond negatively and/or negotiate.

Hall sort of glazed over it but it seems to me that this is exactly the sort of thing that disturbs people about research, labs, testing- the development of tech or product that can be used to inhibit a person's ability to object and fight.

What exactly is Fehn's primary objective in the lab? Is it mind control? Population control?

Tech is scary and, in the face of it, wisdom is becoming harder and harder to find and/or hold onto.

I like that the book began with 9/11. It's always seemed to me that there was an event that didn't change people as much as it should have,

Nov 21, 2011

An excellent read which takes us to unexpected avenues and provides insights into the nature of wisdom.
Well worth the effort and time to read.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at PMPL

To Top