Philosophy as Practice of Intersubjective Care in Contemporary Societies
Video 1: Philosophical Health Research
The Ancient Greeks and Romans were concerned with the effects of philosophy upon the citizen’s well-being. “A healthy mind in a healthy body” meant that Plutarch for example considered that philosophy and medicine were a single domain. Foucault locates the prehistory of the notion of philosophical health in the Platonic and Socratic elitist notion of epimeleia heautou, the care for the self or soul. For Plato and Aristotle, philosophical care was a necessary condition in order to become not only a magnanimous person, but also a sovereign citizen and political actor; the First Alcibiades indicates that there was a correlation between the collective idea of justice and philosophical health.
A concern for the ideal of applied philosophical health is slowly re-emerging since the writings of Nietzsche, Wittgenstein or Binswanger, and more recently, since the 1980s, within the practice of philosophical counseling, a transnational movement sometimes called “therapy for the sane”. The ideal of philosophical health wishes to de-diagnose and de-objectify the subject; its paradigm is a priori not one of adaptation, but rather one of critical singularity, self-possibility and even neurodiversity. In recurring to a professional protocol of philosophical dialogue, one is looking for meaning but also for more holistic forms of practice or being in the world.
My research is both theoretical and empirical. I am performing myself dialogic interventions as philosophical practitioner in medical or psychotherapeutic context as well as in corporations such as Vattenfall. Simultaneously, I am developing both an open research network called Philosophical Health International (PHI) and a theoretical approach to philosophical health I call crealectics. Can philosophical counseling today contribute to open healthier avenues in less normative democracies, by diminishing mimetic behaviour and favouring more comprehensive, more singular practices of care?
Video 2: Is Philosophy Useful in Medical Practice?
About the Project
Kjell och Märta Beijers Stiftelse