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HOW TO PRACTISE PHILOSOPHY AS THERAPY: PHILOSOPHICAL THERAPY AND THERAPEUTIC PHILOSOPHY

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Abstract

Abstract: The notion that philosophy can be practised as a kind of therapy has become a focus of debate. This article explores how philosophy can be practised literally as a kind of therapy, in two very different ways: as philosophical therapy that addresses “real-life problems” (e.g., Sextus Empiricus) and as therapeutic philosophy that meets a need for therapy which arises in and from philosophical reflection (e.g., Wittgenstein). With the help of concepts adapted from cognitive and clinical psychology, and from cognitive linguistics, the article shows that both philosophical projects address important and literally therapeutic tasks and explains how they can do so with genuinely philosophical argument and analysis. This brings into view new applications for philosophy, a need for therapy in core areas of the subject, and the outline of a new approach to meet what will be shown to be a central need.

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