Featured Scholar: Regev Ben Jacob

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Featured Scholar: Regev Ben Jacob
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida
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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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University Scholars Program

Undergraduate Research


Featured Scholar:
Regev Ben Jacob

2005 - 2006 University Scholar
Mentor: Leslie Paul Thiele
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Practical wisdom, or prudence, was a concept first explored by Aristotle in ancient
Greece. Terming it "phronesis," the great thinker argued moral thought was an essential
trait for those hoping to achieve a good life. Cicero later explored the same idea, which
he called prudential. " As a University Scholar, Regev Ben Jacob has spent a year
investigating how this old world value can be applied to modern times.

"In Athens, it was considered important for political life," he says. "Aristotle considered
this a critical intellectual virtue. If you had it, all the ethical virtues would come to you
because you knew the right thing to do in differing situations."

For his University Scholars Program project, Ben Jacob looked at the works of
contemporary philosophers, searching for affirmation of the relevance of practical wisdom
in today's society. He explored "Truth and Method" by Hans-Georg Gadamer, "Making the
Social Sciences Matter" by Bent Flyvbjerg, and works by various other thinkers. In
particular, Ben Jacob focused on how practical wisdom can be gained through power

"By analyzing how modern thinkers have re-imagined phronesis," Ben Jacob says, "I
hope I have contributed to a greater understanding of practical judgment both as a
central classical virtue, and as a vital human faculty for the modern citizen who is
continually challenged by an increasingly technological and bureaucratic society."

Ben Jacob graduated with honors from UF in May with a BA in political science and
English. As an undergraduate, he served as president of Golden Key International Honors
Society and sat on the Board of Directors for The Children's Table, a Gainesville charity
serving the needy of North Central Florida. Ben Jacob was also selected as a Reitz
Scholar and worked as a research assistant in the Department of Political Science for
Assistant Professor Patricia J. Woods.

Now that he is out of college, Ben Jacob plans to take a year off from school and move to
Los Angeles to do non-profit work and study for the GRE. He then plans to return to
graduate school and earn a PhD in philosophy. He had originally hoped to go to law
school, and even served on as mock trial chair in the pre-law society Phi Alpha Delta, but
after his USP experience decided he wanted to continue studying philosophical theory.

"This project will definitely be helpful for my graduate studies," he says. "This was a good
starting point to ground my ideas and delve deep into key texts that sparked my
interests in philosophy. After doing this project, I now know this is something I want to
continue doing."


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