Carmen Zavala is a philosopher and philosophical practitioner with a doctorate in philosophy. She lives in Lima were she runs a Philosophical Cultural Centre and organizes philosophical cafés every Saturday since 1998. She also participates at and organizes various other philosophical activities.

Philosophical Practice, the limits of language, Plato & birds

Pigeonparrots
Most philosophical practitioners seem to mistrust language. They don't accept at face value what people say, and they try to understand what stands behind the words. The philosophical counselor - the maieutic questioner - tries to “read” what the other (the guest, counselee, participant) is saying “beyond” words, and "through" the ideas he expresses in words.  Since it is easier to note inconsistencies between what another person says and how he acts, than noting this in relation to ourselv...
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Philosophical Practice and social violence

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ESPAÑOL What should we do as philosophers when we encounter violence? Should we address the issue or should we avoid it in order to avoid a trivial exchange of opinions? Should we intervene or should we rather try to stay neutral, since presumably wise people should keep their hands clean of stain? Should we limit ourselves to reflecting on the effects of violence on our emotions, feelings and inner thoughts? Lima is surrounded by high hills that turn green during the winter time. At the top of ...
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Plato and Pericles: How can philosophy change our lives?

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Español. How can philosophy change our life? How strong are the influences of our social habits and personal psychological tendencies and of concrete external limitations and threats? I sit in our apartment at the window and watch our parrot Pericles. Sometimes like today he stands outside his cage and watches the world outside the open window. If he would be a mainstream parrot he would fly outside the window to some tree and gather other parrots who live nearby. This is what we imagine birds w...
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Sophia reflects about Camus after a philosophical café

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S ophia is lying in her bed. The kids and her husband are sleeping, and finally she has a moment to think in peace without interruptions. Last Friday she went to the philosophical café. They discussed about the meaning of life. Everybody expressed his ideas and opinions freely and some argued against each other about what meaning and a meaningful life might mean. Sophia participated enthusiastically. She felt free and alive. She loved it. Nevertheless, she wondered whether it is meaningful to ju...
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Sophia on her way to Camus

Sophia on her way to Camus
Sophia is sitting again in the kitchen preparing a cup of coffee after work. Today again she talked to her friend Miranda, who is now regularly meeting her two philosophical companions. Sophia feels that Miranda is not any more interested in talking to her. That does not matter because she can read philosophical texts by herself. Besides she has heard that there is a philosophical café in town. Maybe there she can meet people eager to think together with her and discuss philosophical topics. But...
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Sophia returns to philosophy

Sophia returns to philosophy
Sophia is sitting in the kitchen preparing a cup of coffee after work. Today again she talked to her friend Miranda. Usually they just worked and worked together day after day and they seldom talked. But now Miranda has started something she calls her philosophical trio and she has been sharing this experience with Sophia. The idea of a philosophical trio has caught Sophia´s interest and she has asked Miranda to e-mail her the philosophical texts they are reading. When Sophia was in school she w...
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Marcel in Philosophical Practice: a proposal

Marcel in Philosophical Practice: a proposal
How can we use the ideas of a philosopher as a starting point for our own thoughts? In the spirit of philosophical practice I am sharing here some personal thoughts that this text of Gabriel Marcel provoked in me. “We must therefore focus on the condition of a person who isn’t fully identified with his actual surroundings. Some coincidence has exiled him to where he is now, and his place is his place only by chance. In the current conditions to which he must submit, this real place can only be s...
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Do good arguments lead to good actions?

Do good arguments lead to good actions?
Is it possible that also our feeling of what is right and wrong is part of our animality? In this sense our sense of morality is not learned by culture nor reason, but it comes from the depth of our beings. If good actions are not the result of good reasoning (rationalising interests) and in general if reasoning is not the main factor of our decision making and acting, why should philosophy focus so much on analyzing good arguments? We should perhaps instead look closer into what really makes us...
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Pascal: Sobre los peligros de aspirar a la perfección en la virtud /About the danger of too much virtue

Pascal: Sobre los peligros de aspirar a la perfección en la virtud /About the danger of too much virtue
Blaise Pascal decía que el exceso de virtud es dañino para el hombre. En relación a esta idea de Pascal, a modo de broma, en la foto de la izquierda uno de estos trabajadores que descansa plácidamente en su horario de trabajo, en vez de producir más dice: "Quiero ser una buena persona. Por eso no quiero trabajar demasiado." Muchos critican que en muchos países de América Latina la gente no se toma muy en serio ni los horarios, ni el trabajo, ni otros compromisos.  Pero esto que puede parece...
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Posts List - Carmen Zavala

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