Aristotle’s phronesis: putting some meat on the philosophy of innovation

Costello, Gabriel J. (2018) Aristotle’s phronesis: putting some meat on the philosophy of innovation.


This paper investigates Aristotle’s ethical writings, especially examining his synthesis of the ideas of knowledge and wisdom and their application in practice. This he achieved through the concept of phronesis (phronēsis) variously described as practical wisdom with connotations of intelligence and soundness of judgement. The paper argues that the management and teaching of innovation requires a bottom-up approach to “put some meat” on the recent theoretical examinations of responsible innovation. In particular, it addresses the following research question: How can phronesis be developed in educational practice? The paper makes a novel contribution by describing an empirical case study of embedding Aristotle’s phronesis in the curriculum of Engineering and Business students, working in cross-functional teams. A philosophical schema was developed and summarized in tabular form, which can be used to phronetically examine the outputs from educational projects in the area of innovation. Furthermore, these guidelines provide suggestions for the development of phronesis in the formation of professionals and managers.

View Item