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Sapience is often defined as wisdom, or the ability of an organism or entity to act with judgment. Judgment is a mental facility that is a particular form of intelligence or may be considered an additional facility, above intelligence, with its own properties. Robert Sternberg [1] has segregated the capacity for judgment from ordinary meanings of intelligence, which is closer to the sense of clever than to wisdom. Good judgment in making decisions about complex life or social decisions is a hallmark of being wise.

The word sapience is derived from the Latin word for wisdom, sapientia.[2] Both are related to the Latin verb sapere, which means "to taste, to be wise, to know ;" the present participle of sapere forms part of Homo sapiens, the Latin binomial nomenclature created by Carolus Linnaeus to describe the human species. Linnaeus had originally given humans the species name of diurnus, meaning man of the day. But he later decided that the dominating feature of humans was wisdom, hence application of the name sapiens. His chosen biological name was intended to emphasize man's uniqueness and separation from the rest of the animal kingdom.

See also


  1. Sternberg, Robert J. (2003). Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity Synthesized. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-80238-5.
  2. Lewis, C.T. and Short, C. (1963). Latin Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Unknown parameter |ISBN-13= ignored (help)

External links