Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Philosophical Papers: Philosophy’s Therapeutic Potential
Guest Editor: Dylan Futter (University of the Witwatersrand)
One difference between ancient and contemporary philosophy centres on philosophy’s capacity for bringing about moral and psychological improvement. Philosophy is today a theoretical discipline; philosophers do not, as a rule, think that they will become better people by doing philosophy. But such was the view of the ancient Greek philosophers, for whom the goal of philosophy was nothing less than moral goodness or an enlightened state of being.
Contemporary philosophy is an activity of rigorous, reasoned analysis and argumentation in an attempt to build a systematic body of knowledge. By contrast, ancient philosophers adopted a more expansive conception of philosophical practice, into which they incorporated various kinds of spiritual or contemplative exercises (Hadot 2002). Even when ancient philosophers employed techniques recognisably similar to those of contemporary philosophy, they seem to have rationalised the use of such techniques by markedly therapeutic goals. For example, the Socratic Method involves the analysis of concepts; but, strikingly, Socrates links such “conceptual analysis” with the moral improvement of himself and his interlocutors (Apology 38a). This point generalises to all philosophers in the Socratic tradition: philosophical analysis was regarded as a necessary element in the morally worthwhile life.
Aside from a few relatively isolated examples, belief in philosophy’s moral and therapeutic significance has been lost. The aim of this special issue of Philosophical Papers is to explore the idea that philosophy is or could be a component in the good life.
Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to: – The nature of the distinction between theoretical and therapeutic philosophy – The goals of therapeutic philosophy – The role of theory in philosophical therapy – Techniques for practicing therapeutic philosophy – Modern attempts to work within a broadly therapeutic framework. – The modes of communication appropriate for therapeutic philosophy. – Genres of philosophical writing in relation to the distinction between theoretical and therapeutic philosophy
The deadline for receipt of submission is 1 October 2013.
This special edition of Philosophical Papers, which will contain both invited and submitted papers, will appear in March of 2014. Authors should submit manuscripts electronically, prepared as a PDF or Word document attachment, and emailed to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Authors should include their full name, affiliation, and address for email correspondence with their submission.
Further enquiries can be addressed to Dylan Futter (Dylan.Futter@wits.ac.za) or Ward Jones, Editor, Philosophical Papers (email@example.com).