Monika Ardelt's Model of Wisdom
An Overview by Copthorne Macdonald
Monika Ardelt is Associate Professor of Sociology at The University of Florida, and is one of the leading wisdom theorists and researchers. Unlike Paul Baltes and his colleagues in the "Berlin Group" who consider wisdom to be an "expert knowledge system," Ardelt considers wisdom to be a "combination of personality qualities" that "cannot exist independently of individuals."
Ardelt notes that:
"The moment one tries to preserve wisdom (e.g. by writing it down),
it loses its connection to a concrete person and transforms into intellectual
(theoretical) knowledge. I propose that even the most profound 'wisdom
literature' remains intellectual or theoretical knowledge until its inherent
wisdom is realized by a person." She contends that "wisdom is
in fact a property of individuals," and has proposed a model of wisdom
as a three-dimensional personality characteristic. The three dimensions
are Cognitive, Reflective, and Affective and the model is summarized in
the table below:
The above quotes and the table are from Ardelt's paper in the journal Human Development entitled "Wisdom as Expert Knowledge System: A Critical review of a Contemporary Operationalization of an Ancient Concept."
At Monika Ardelt's Web site you can find links to many of her publications. Of special interest to those interested in her work are the paper above, her response to comments on that paper, and an article in ReVision: Journal of Consciousness and Transformation entitled "How Wise People Cope with Crises and Obstacles in Life."
Richard Trowbridge's doctoral dissertation, The Scientific Approach to Wisdom, is a comprehensive review of the scholarly research on wisdom from 1980 to 2005 and a useful overview of the history of wisdom.