Research projects

Practical Wisdom in a Complex World

Man overlooking the water

Making decisions in a complex world is hard.

Whether you’re a butcher, a baker or a policy maker, your decisions are made within the context of a diverse and dynamic socio-economic system. It’s messy. It’s uncertain. And it’s full of other decision-makers whose choices and actions interact with yours.

This project looked at new measures, models and mechanisms that could improve our ability to understand and shape our surrounding socio-economic system towards desirable outcomes. Inspired by the Aristotelian notion of `practical wisdom’—a reasoned and true state of capacity to act with regard to human goods—we seek to explore possibilities for improving effective and cognitively efficient decision making in our complex world.

Drawing on philosophy, economics and complex systems science, this project will advance interdisciplinary approaches to better understand:

  • human purposes and societal value
  • representation systems (e.g. languages, measures, models, stories) for more effective and efficient thinking and communication
  • coordination mechanisms and alternative modes of social organisation for better achieving human purposes

This project was led by Penny Mealy.