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Why Philosophy Practice isn’t so Philosophical?

Yeah, that seems weird but absolutely right. We believe that practice is replica of theory, and so we want the practical methods to fit ditto with theoretical lessons. Sure, both practical and theories will match in the case of certainties. The ideas would be precisely expressed in the methods of chemistry and mathematics. But there is something interesting about philosophy practice. Here, it’s alright to have a different theory and practical rules. This is because there are no parallels between the theory and reality. And thus, philosophy practice couldn’t always be said philosophical. To bring more clarity, let’s understand the following points- 

  1. Performative philosophy or practical philosophy is about a philosopher who works in circumstances that are not so philosophical. For example, Socrates is questioning the passers-by about the weather. In this, he is pretending totally ignorant of the effect, to learn cause in a person’s attitude or beliefs(effect is weather; and cause is a person’s analysis of it).
  2. Philosophical practice is an organization in which it expresses itself in realistic and performative terms(which could be performed).
  3. Philosophers discuss the lived reality which isn’t always philosophical in nature.
  4. The conversation language with the client is not a philosophical one.
  5. Only some aspects of the discussions are philosophical statements, for the purpose of challenging assertions of reality.
  6. Throughout the philosophical practice, the most important approach is intention and disposition, which essentially varies from one person to another.
  7. The words used in philosophical counseling are also correlated with concepts that are commonly accepted like love, anger, beauty, justice, etc.
  8. As, truth & justification is not feasible, at the same time. And so, the application of theory and practical justification does not exist concurrently.
  1. The Dialogic encounter is unique, in a manner that does not entirely embody in reality the existing views and thinking(of philosophers).
  2. Practitioners should cultivate self-consciousness and demonstrate objective, open-mindedness, and readiness to perceive a situation.
  3. Practitioners should be free from all cognitive biases and pre-formed judgment(so mostly they should keep their practice aside during counseling).
  4. In reality, the philosophy practitioner normally chooses his best solution rather than retaining the philosophical essence of the discussion. 

If you enjoyed this concepts, and are grateful that the profession of philosophy is free from too many theoretical or scientific facts. All Thanks to Leon de Haas who has transformed the nature of the practice of philosophy. The unfortunate thing is that he isn’t with us anymore. A month before, we lost an important soul.  A short introduction to him informs us that Leon J.M. De Haas Bronkhorst (Amsterdam, 1949) studied philosophy (MA, 1977) and mass psychology & -communication at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He used to run his own philosophical practice since 2007, called PlatoPraktijk, often within the framework of professional coaching and counseling.

His contributions to philosophical practice stimulated interest in this culture from all backgrounds. He has genuinely affected people’s perceptions and views on philosophy. The most important aspect of his practice reveals that he used to counsel usually in exciting and friendly places- the park, forest, or empty streets were some of them. 

Nowadays, people are talking philosophy in daily life, and so it’s really not that challenging & boring. Surprisingly, my friends would previously tease my level of curiosity in philosophy. Now that they are knowing about philosophical counseling methods. And so, they are even more excited to learn about various problems. I hope you too are feeling the same. If yes, feel free to share your opinions with us. 

Author: Madhvi

A philosopher, Writer, Traveler, PhD Scholar, Vegan and pet-lover.

7 thoughts on “Why Philosophy Practice isn’t so Philosophical?”

  1. Well, I reposted this post. I am in a masters program for counseling. I would say that I’m a philosopher also and indeed it functions to situate how I approach counseling. But I would not consider myself involved with “philosophical counseling”, in fact , you might be interested in an essay I wrote which was published in the journal for counseling and family therapy, it’s called “an essay concerning a unitive theory of counseling”. I put it on Acadamy EDU and research gate if you’re interested. And I made a link of it in one of my posts.

    For me, this is the best application of philosophy to counseling. I’d say the most direct.

    But maybe we could have a discussion about that?


    1. Thanks for reposting. It’s amazing to hear that you’re actually getting trained in the art of counseling. And I would definitely read your essay. And about discussion, I always welcome all this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am liking that there is actually a “philosophical counseling” thing out there. A friend of mine even pointed me to, I forget exactly what it’s called, but some sort of organization of philosophical counseling. So that’s kind of cool. I would say I’m pretty philosophical in my approach to things, but I feel that methods should be applied to the clients. Rather than having a counselor who specializes in one particular method that they try to apply to everyone.

        But I’m really not sure how practical that is. lol


      2. There are many organizations of philosophical counseling running either paid or free all across the world.

        I agree. This is one of the benefit of philosophical counseling that there is no specific root. You could choose your own style of practicing.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I couldn’t find the research paper on ‘an essay concerning a unitive theory of counseling’. Would you please share the link?


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