Saturday, 15 August 2015 20:00

3. Togetherness in the philosophical companionship

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What is a philosophical companionship?

For now, it is a small group of philosophical practitioners meeting on a regular basis, with a common goal: to create a new format of philosophical practice. A format that allows the participants to experience "a free and open exploration in order to cultivate new depths of understanding and enrich our attitude to life".

Fine. In theory. But, how is this supposed to work, in practice? By "contemplating philosophically in togetherness". Wonderful. But, then, does this mean that philosophy can help to create togetherness? Also: does this mean that a contemplative attitude can be shared or – even more – can be experienced in togetherness? And, last but not least, if togetherness is intended "as opening ourselves to our companions and resonating with them", then, what does it mean to say, exactly, that philosophical companions resonate to each other?

In order to formulate an acceptable answer to the main question, I need to answer these three deriving questions first. I will start form the end: I will answer the last of the three.

What does it mean that companions resonate to each other?

It means that the philosophical companions' aim is to enter and enlarge the perspective and the interpretation of a given philosophical issue, rather than to discuss its being right or wrong. Which means that the intention of each participant in a companionship is not to convince the others of the rightfulness of his/her own vision or position. Rather, the intention is to offer a personal vision, freely, as a kind of gift. A gift that can be accepted or refused, with no harm to the pursuit of the common goal of "cultivate new depths of understanding".

So, does this mean that philosophy can create togetherness? Well, if with the word "philosophy" we intend the process of philosophising, the answer is "yes"; because the act of philosophising implies an open dialogue, implies the other(s). And if, while philosophising, we look for common grounds to explore and enlarge, rather than for logical fallacies to highlight and banish, then we resonate rather than discuss. This, however, doesn't mean that discussion never enters a philosophical companionship. This only means that discussing is not its focus.

So, it seems to me that a philosophical companionship is something that tends to create togetherness while aiming at "new depths of understanding". But how can those new depths of understanding not just be aimed at but actually reached? By contemplating. Which leads us again to the question: can a philosophically contemplative attitude be shared, be experienced in togetherness?

I say it can. Because I have experienced it. But here I have no words to further explain how and why it can.

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Laura Capogna

I am a philosophical practitioner living and working in Rome. I am a member of Phronesis, the Italian Association for philosophical counselling (

I entered Phronesis (in 2011) for two reasons: to learn if and how it was possible to put philosophy into practice again, at the service of common people in everyday life, like Socrates and the ancient Greeks did; and to meet, and become part of a community of modern, living philosophers, with whom I could share, compare, and “put on trial” my vision of the world. I accepted Ran Lahav’s proposal to work on the Agora project for these same reasons.