I am asking this question here because wisdom is related to philosophy. I want to know, is wisdom the same as seeing things clearly? Or is there a difference between wisdom and clarity? If so, what is the difference?

  • A smart person learns from their mistakes. A wise person learns from the mistakes of others. Wisdom is not required to achieve clarity but it's less painful. Commented Jan 9 at 18:45

2 Answers 2


Clarity is an easier concept to define. It means seeing things clearly, distinctly and accurately. Wisdom is more ambiguous. One useful gloss on the idea is that if knowledge is knowing "how" to do things, wisdom is knowing "why" to do OR not do things. Wisdom is considered as good judgement, making good decisions, acting in ways that are effective and beneficial.

Clarity is a great support to wisdom, and wisdom can bring clarity. But they are distinctly different things. You can have clarity without wisdom (you can understand a situation, but still make the wrong decision) or wisdom without clarity (as when you need to make a good decision in an unclear situation). Similarly, clarity can help build knowledge, and knowledge can help bring clarity, but they are not the same as each other, nor is knowledge the same as wisdom (the well-educated person can still make bad mistakes in judgement).

In the Platonic/neo-Platonic cosmology, Wisdom is one of the Greater Forms, along with Love, Truth and Beauty, which are all variants on the greatest form, the Ideal of Good.


The history of philosophy does not provide a unique, sharp definition of wisdom (Greek: sophia). See an overview of several meanings of wisdom.

IMO wisdom may be considered the capability to reflect his/her experiences in life. So the concept makes two presuppositions:

  • The person has reached a certain age and made a series of experiences.
  • The person reflects and assesses these experiences.

A wise person searches for clarity about his/her experiences and their importance in his life. But wisdom covers more than clarity and also more than knowledge.

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