Monday, 16 February 2015 19:00

5. Questions about method invite us to justify our practice

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We can consider 'Method' as an answer to the question, “What is happening in a philosophical conversation? How do you do it?”

And if you don't want to generalize the way you are present and active in philosophical conversations, we can talk about a specific conversation, and ask, “What is happening in this conversation? How do you do it? Can you tell us why you are acting as you are acting right now?” Etc.

It makes sense to ask methodological questions, because they ask to be explicit about the way you practice philosophy. They are invitations to justify one's philosophical practice. Answering those questions, you are explicit about the way you are taking part in the conversation with the guest, and about why you think the conversation can be called philosophical.

How a philosophical practitioner answers the methodological question, tells a lot about his method. If he or she presents a generally applicable procedure, we might suppose that his behavior in a philosophical conversation is more or less predefined and directing. If the method describes not so much a procedure as an attitude and a way of being attentive etc., we might suggest that his behavior is more or less open and flowing.

For the sake of the professional quality of philosophical practice, we need (more) explicit descriptions of the way philosophical practitioners do what they do - i.e., of their (our) methods.

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Leon de Haas

I practice philosophy as a counselor and trainer in the Netherlands and Germany. I am a board member of the German professional organization of philosophical practitioners (BV-PP, daughter organization of the IGPP). I am currently doing research on the consequences of Wittgenstein's later philosophy for philosophical practice.