Friday, 20 February 2015 19:00

4. Seduced by undressing

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Philosophical practice for me is not a therapy, even though people who ask for this service, have, for sure, felt some sort of lack. They have been, in one way or another, uncomfortable with their situation, or otherwise they wouldn’t be ready to pay money to someone just because he or she is talking to them. The really hard thing is to make them understand why spend time with philosophy, if, as I think, this activity could be advertised with a slogan like: “Is your life too simple? - I will make it complicated!”

If we have to find the motive behind philosophical practice, we have to ask for the motive behind philosophy itself. One very nice definition, which I heard on YouTube, comes from the Brazilian philosopher Paulo Ghiraldelli Jr. He says, the aim of philosophy is “desbanalizar o banal”, which means something like “de-trivialize banal things”. This signifies for me, to remove the veil of habits and routines off the face of reality, to let us see again the strangeness and beauty of things, and – something which is also of high practical and ethical value – to avoid or dissolve metaphysical boredom, which may be one of the roots of evil in the world.

Joined with this sort of unveiling activity is the insight that some philosophers, like Aristoteles and Hegel, who are not usually mentioned in connection with philosophical practice, proudly proclaimed: What is the purpose of philosophy? Philosophy itself is the highest form of activity, of human practice.

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Albert Hoffmann

My name is Albert Hoffmann. I was born in Prague (Czech Republic), and studied philosophy at the University of Zürich. For about five years I was organizing philosophical discussions with retired people under the roof of SAV (Stiftung Alterswohnungen der Stadt Zürich / Foundation apartments for elders in the city of Zürich). In the past ten years I have been hosting a Café-Philo in Zürich. Since 2013 I have my own philosophical practice. (www.sophonautik.ch)