From Knowledge to Wisdom
- The Basic Argument
- What Needs to Change
- My Work
- About Me
- Videos & Broadcasts
- Global Philosophy: What Philosophy Ought to Be, Imprint Academic, October 2014.
This book is about education, learning, rational inquiry, philosophy, science studies, problem solving, academic inquiry, global problems, wisdom and, above all, the urgent need for an academic revolution. Despite this range and diversity of topics, there is a common underlying theme. Education ought to be devoted, much more than it is, to the exploration real-life, open problems; it ought not to be restricted to learning up solutions to already solved problems — especially if nothing is said about the problems that provoked the solutions in the first place. A central task of philosophy ought to be to keep alive awareness of our unsolved fundamental problems — especially our most fundamental problem of all, encompassing all others: How can our human world — and the world of sentient life more generally — imbued with the experiential, consciousness, free will, meaning and value, exist and best flourish embedded as it is in the physical universe? This is both our fundamental intellectual problem and our fundamental problem of living.
The essays in this volume seek to provoke a concerted effort to transform our institutions of learning so that they become rationally and effectively devoted to helping us learn how to create a wiser world.
- How Universities Can Help Create a Wiser World: The Urgent Need for an Academic Revolution, Imprint Academic, January 2014. In this book I argue that, in order to create a wiser world, it is essential that we bring about a revolution in universities around the world so that they become rationally devoted to helping us solve problems of living, above all our grave global problems.
|Four Endoursements that Appear on the Back Cover of the Book|
Thirty years ago, Nicholas Maxwell first
argued that our universities must be rationally designed and devoted to
helping us learn how to solve our problems of living. In the intervening years
it has become more, not less, urgent that we take up his challenge.
Julian Baggini, editor-in-chief The Philosophers’ Magazine
This book begins by acknowledging that today
most people lead longer and healthier lives than previous generations,
primarily as a result of “knowledge-inquiry”, mainly in universities. Perversely, the result is ever-expanding
populations, pressing against the limits to growth on a finite planet. Maxwell gives a good case for addressing
these problems by universities putting much greater emphasis on
“wisdom-inquiry”. It is a timely and
interesting idea. I think the book
deserves a wide readership.
Professor Lord Robert May, Oxford University
ideal matters more to us, knowledge or wisdom? Nicholas Maxwell has long fought
staunchly for wisdom in this debate, and in this book he once more points out
shrewdly how much our universities need to learn this lesson. It's to be hoped
that this time they are listening!
Mary Midgley, Philosopher
Nicholas Maxwell argues that in order to
address the problems of global society, we must transform our
universities. At UCL we fully agree and we have already made such changes
central to our 2011 Research Strategy "Delivering a Culture of
Wisdom". Our UCL Grand Challenges programme, which has so far involved
more than 250 academics, is putting these ideas into practice.
David Price, Vice-Provost of Research, University College London
- An account of the UCL launch of the book, including comments by Alan Sokal and Philip Ball
Extracts from Reviews
- It is ... heartening to see [Maxwell's] work being taken more seriously in recent years... The message of Maxwell's How Universities can Help Create a Wiser World is both urgent and wise ... Maxwell is to be praised for putting the task of seeking 'wisdom' on the agenda of universities again. As an introduction to Maxwell's project, and as an inspiring vision of a higher education worth fighting for in our era increasingly beset by marketization, Maxwell's book is a breath of fresh air. While the book is aimed at university staff and policy-makers ... [it] could usefully be read by anyone interested in the future of higher education. Jonathan Coope, Metapsychology, 17 June, vol. 18, issue 25, 2014
- [Maxwell] is an interesting, metaphysically minded, serious thinker in philosophy of science whose analysis of this wonderful achievement of the human mind is masterful ... It is high time to start taking Nicholas Maxwell seriously, not just as a regular philosopher of science developing the ideas of Karl Popper but first and foremost as an academic revolutionary in the best sense of the word who cares deeply about the future of the whole mankind. Rationality, constantly aimed at acknowledging and solving problems is the most important capacity our species possesses. We have to make proper use of it. Nicholas Maxwell is able to tell us how to get started. Peeter Müürsepp, Dialogue and Universalism, 2014, no. 2, p. 247
- Cutting God in Half - And Putting the Pieces Together Again: A New Approach to Philosophy. Pentire Press, March 2010. Tackles our fundamental problem: How can our human world, imbued with perceptual qualities, inner experiences, consciousness, free will, meaning and value, exist and best flourish embedded as it is in the physical universe?
- What's Wrong With Science? Towards a People's Rational Science of Delight and Compassion, Pentire Press, 2nd ed., September 2009. This second edition has a new Preface explaining how the book both exploits and develops Karl Popper's philosophy.
- From Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the Humanities, Pentire Press, 2nd edition, 2007. New material, a new introduction and three new chapters.
- Is Science Neurotic?, Imperial College Press, London, December 2004.
- The Human World in the Physical Universe: Consciousness, Free Will and Evolution, Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland, 2001.
- The Comprehensibility of the Universe: A New Conception of Science, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998, pp i-xv + 316, paperback edition, 2003. Available online: click here.
- From Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution in the Aims and Methods of Science, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1984, pp. viii + 299, paperback editions, 1987, 1988.
- What's Wrong With Science? Towards a People's Rational Science of Delight and Compassion, Bran's Head Books, Frome, England, 1976, pp. xi + 260.
- R. Barnett and N. Maxwell, eds., Wisdom in the University, Routledge, 2008, pbk. 2009. Includes my "From Knowledge to Wisdom: The Need for an Academic Revolution".
- Leemon McHenry, ed., Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom: Studies in the Philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell, Ontos Verlag, February 2009. Contains two chapters by me, How Can Life of Value Best Flourish in the Real World? and Replies and Reflections, and twelve chapters discussing my work by various authors.
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