Practical Wisdom and the Practice of Wisdom

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.3, 2018


Practical Wisdom and the Practice of Wisdom



Tian Haiping


Practical wisdom is a general concern to contemporary scholars, one not unrelated to its focus on personal happiness, social justice and the improvement of human affairs. The focus of practical wisdom is not on explaining what things are, but on exploring such rational judgments and value concerns as “what to do” or “how to do it.” It stresses the outstanding application of practical reason and gives priority to the rational practice of “changing the world.” Given this philosophical program, the form assumed by practical wisdom defines the direction for “changing the world” through its conformity to man’s human nature, social nature and subject needs. Practical wisdom strives to promote “the practice of wisdom” in the sense of “making the world a better place.” Its four functions of “shelving theory, transforming ideas, creating society, and cultivating human nature” relate to personal happiness, societal development and the liberation of mankind.