Cover of International Journal of Philosophical Practice
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symposium: socrates and philosophical counseling
1. International Journal of Philosophical Practice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
James Stacey Taylor The Central Value of Philosophical Counseling
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The title of this paper is deliberately ambiguous. It could refer either to the central val­ue that philosophical counseling has for philosophy in general, or else it could refer to something (such as personal autonomy, or personal well-being) that philosophical counselors believe to be of value, and that they are able to help their clients pursue. In fact, this paper will be addressing both of these topics in order to demonstrate the links that hold between them, and, in so doing, will attempt to further elucidate the nature of philosophical counseling itself.
2. International Journal of Philosophical Practice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Mason Marshall, D. Kevin Sargent A Rhetorical Turn in Philosophical Counseling?: An Invitation
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Far more than the dialectic philosophy of Socrates, the rhetorical humanist tradition avoids objectivist epistemology, charts a traversable path to practical wisdom, and aptly highlights the importance of aesthetic style. In those and other ways, we argue, it offers a preferable historical basis for today’s philosophical counseling. Advocates of that contemporary practice tend to cite Socrates as its historical progenitor and favor the narrow propositional logic that is ascribed to him. Some practitioners, though, have also grown more attuned to metaphorical and narrative elements in a client’s worldview. We aim to supplement their claims by drawing from principles of classical rhetorical theory, showing a way to rethink the practice of philosophical counseling today.
3. International Journal of Philosophical Practice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Peter B. Raabe Philosophical Counseling and the Interpretation of Dreams
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Philosophers are generally reluctant to say much about the meaning of dreams, especially since Sigmund Freud appropriated the interpretation of dreams as part of psychoanalysis. In this essay I will first review some of the theories of dreams proposed by early philosophers that are now considered largely outdated. I will then critically examine the two powerful theories instituted by Freud and Jung by explaining them and then pointing out their flaws and weaknesses. In response to the failings of these theories I offer a lesser known but more recent theory formulated by Ernest Hartman that is supported by both his own empirical research and that of others. And finally I discuss how this intuitively more reasonable approach can be very helpful to the philosophical counselor whose client wishes to discuss the meaning of her dreams.
4. International Journal of Philosophical Practice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Sarah Waller How Does Philosophical Counseling Work?: Judgment and Interpretation
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Hume claims that judgment is the active device through which beliefs influence emotions. Without such a device, Hume reasons that beliefs and emotions would not in­teract at all, because beliefs are always about ideas while emotions are reactions to events in the world. Judgment is the link between the theoretical and the applied aspects of the human being, and is, if Hume is right, crucial for any system of philosophical counseling to be successful. No client would attempt to modify his or her beliefs, or reflect on the thoughts of philosophers, without some expectation of an emotional payoff. The counseling process hinges on a link between reason and the emotions, but what is the nature of this link? Since judgment is itself (if we are lucky) a primarily rational process, the question of the connection between reason and the emotions seems to be left unanswered. The purpose of this paper is to examine the link between reason and the emotions by taking judgment to be judgment of truth or falsity. Once a belief is deemed to be true by the client, an assessment is made as to how this truth will affect the client’s well being. I argue that this is true even if the client is severely depressed or believes that he/she does not deserve good treatment or good fortune, or seems otherwise unconcerned with his/her well being. If the truth is judged to be a threat to the well being of the client, an emotional reaction ensues. Likewise, if the truth is judged to be a benefit to the client, an emotional reaction will occur. I argue further that even though different truths will be taken as either benefits or threats depending on the client, the ultimate interpretation of the true statement as either benefit or threat will automatically generate an emotional response. If this ontology is correct, then the philosophical counselor will take as his/her primary role 1) a practitioner of epistemology (determining when beliefs are justified and true) and 2) a trainer in interpretation (determining when beliefs are to be interpreted as blessings or threats.)
training in the field
5. International Journal of Philosophical Practice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Lou Matz Philosophical Counseling for Counselors
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One promising form of philosophical practice is to conduct workshops on philosophical counseling for counselors. Since licensed professionals, such as Marriage and Family Counselors and Licensed Clinical Social Workers sometimes confront situations that raise philosophical issues and usually have a philosophical perspective that informs their practice, they could profit from a workshop on philosophical counseling; the workshop also qualifies for continuing education units (CEUs) that are typically required to renew their licenses. This paper describes the principal purposes of a workshop for counselors, the structure of two such workshops, and suggestions for improvement of future workshops.