Monday, 09 February 2015 19:00

3. Using methods without justifying ourselves

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The main method of philosophy aims to conceptualize the world so that we are able to grasp it. And we have quite a lot techniques to do so and follow different schools and paths in doing so. I think it is a misunderstanding of philosophy and philosophical practice that it does not follow methods. Philosophical practice is not a treatment, it does not presuppose a network of possible pathologies of a client which the practitioner could cure.

The old point of view that philosophical practice does not use methods is an argument out of the big discussion between the differences of psychotherapy and philosophical practice. In the time when this discussion predominated, the position that philosophical practice doesn't have a method was just a (weak) argument to differentiate it from psychotherapy. But this discussion was one of justification of philosophical practice against the main player in the field, psychotherapy. Today philosophical practice is established everywhere in the world and does not need such justifications. But within philosophical practice there are very different understandings of it, different ways how to practice it - and how else should we name this than different methods of philosophical practice?

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Detlef Staude

I am a philosophical practitioner living and working in Berne, Switzerland, and am the head of the Swiss association for philosophical practice. I give counseling and workshops to individuals and groups. I edited the book "Methoden Philosophischer Praxis. Ein Handbuch" (Methods of Philosophical Practice. A Handbook), Bielefeld, 2010.