Thursday, 05 March 2015 19:00

5. Combining stories and dialogues

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After Plato, almost every philosopher wrote only in myths. They wrote a story about what they believed the world or the universe were composed of, up until today, when academic philosophers write stories about other philosophers' stories and call them original papers or books. So, for the general public, philosophers are usually connected with serious thinking, contemplation, sitting behind large desks and writing.

Can writing a paper be considered as love for wisdom? Can we consider those academics, who write about other philosophers' work, as lovers of wisdom, if they can't produce any wisdom? How can wisdom be produced?

Why can't we see more philosophers today out in the streets, surrounded by people, as the first ones were? And how does it happen that the general public, for the last few centuries, considered philosophers as the smart ones, as those who know all the answers, when, actually, philosophers always were those who asked the questions? If you say to a philosopher that philosophy is love for wisdom, shouldn't he ask you “and what is wisdom?”

If we let our clients use myths in order to explain their entire world, we can get lost in them. We can't allow clients to tell us their myths as they like, there is nothing philosophical about that. We can't call it philosophical counselling, if we engage only in their story or if we compare their story to other stories. Only when we engage in a dialogue, where we ask questions and they provide legitimate and coherent answers, which also makes them think about their story (reevaluates it, questions it, etc.), we can speak of philosophical dialogue, whose goal is the search for wisdom.

We can allow myths to help us getting there. We can listen to them, evaluate them, examine them and see in which ways they affect our clients. Those myths are their own understanding of the world, but we can't allow them to dominate our conversation. Those are the stories our clients tell themselves each day, explaining to them how the world works. As philosophers, we need real wisdom in order to know, how to handle them with care and examine them in a dialogue.

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Zoran Kojcic

I am a philosophical practitioner and counsellor, founding president of Croatian Society for Philosophical Practice, where we organize philosophical cafes and workshops, Socratic walks, dialogues with individuals, and where we strive to develop many other methods in the future. I also teach ethics and literature in schools, write papers, and manage blogs on philosophical practice. I am now looking for PhD opportunities in the field.


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