Thursday, 03 September 2015 20:00

6. In the footsteps of Husserl

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Contrary to the current "in vogue" tendency in academic philosophy which tends to emphasize that we can only think through language, most approaches of Philosophical Practice focus on our actions and inner reactions rather than on our words. Discourse may often distort or even hide our thoughts. When we are at work as philosophical practitioners in any of its forms, we compare the other's practice/actions with his discourse. It is the actions that reveal the real thoughts of a person, not his discourse.

Once we are more aware of this insight, it becomes clear that there are serious limitations for philosophy in theorizing.

In our philosophical companionship sessions we try to use only few words, the necessary to communicate, so that words do not interrupt the process of philosophical thinking. Instead they become a precious tool to express thinking in all the interrelations and dimensions in which it actually appears to us in practice.

When we look into ourselves when dealing with different topics in a companionship, we become more aware of our longings and of what we consider great and valuable. This is very important in order to understand our thoughts, since these yearnings might color and direct all our practice without us being aware of this in its fullest extent (while we think that we are being objective). We are here entering in the realm of what Husserl would call the intentionality of sense perception and its inevitable influence on our worldview. By combining introspection with our yearnings and focusing on issues of our everyday life with inter-subjective feedback, philosophy is returning to the things that matter, as Plato would say, and leaving behind the tendency of getting trapped in the discussion about words.

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Carmen Zavala

I am  a philosophical practitioner with a PhD in Philosophy by the National University of San Marcos . Since 1998 I co-organize a philosophical café in Lima every Saturday evening. I also organize philosophical workshops, retreats, and individual counseling sessions. Together with Ran Lahav I adminstrate the Agora Webpage  since 2014. My personal website is