Welcome to PHI, an open international movement defending and discussing the idea of philosophical health and philosophical care
The Vision: Meaning is Healing
“Philosophical health will be in the 21st century what physical and psychological health were in the 20th century. At the beginning of the century, it is a luxury for the happy few – by the end of the century, it is a necessity for all.
Philosophical health is a state of fruitful coherence between a person’s ways of thinking and speaking and their ways of acting, such that the possibilities for a good life are increased and the needs for self- and intersubjective flourishing satisfied. Five non-exhaustive principles of philosophical health are mental heroism, deep orientation, critical creativity, deep listening and ultimate possibility. A philosophically healthy individual, group, system or protocol ensures that the goals and purposes of the whole are pragmatically aligned with its highest ideals, while respecting the (re)generative, plural, creal future of the individuals concerned by the processes at stake.”Luis de Miranda
Historians of ideas such as Hadot, Foucault or Nussbaum, have explained how the Ancient Greeks and Romans were concerned with the effects of philosophy upon the subject’s well-being and good life. “A healthy mind in a healthy body”: Plutarch for example considered that philosophy and medicine were a single domain. After a long Christan period during which philosophy became mostly theoretical, a concern for the ideal of philosophical health is slowly re-emerging since the writings of Nietzsche and Wittgenstein among others, and it is applied in the last decades in the practice of philosophical counseling. This transnational movement is part of a contemporary rediscovery or recreation of philosophy as a form of care, sometimes called “therapy for the sane”.
More recently, “good health and well-being” were coalesced by the United Nations into one sustainable development goal for 2030. Health is today one of the main public concerns of humanity. In the last century, physical health and psychological health have been systematised into a societal imperative, sometimes an industry and in some cases a mode of control. In occidental societies, what was a luxury for the few in the beginning of the twentieth century (gymnastics, dietetics, psychotherapy, etc.) became by the end of the same century a necessity or imperative for many, sometimes even an obsession. States are financing and administrating programs of psychological and physical health, in the line of what Foucault called biopolitics, sometimes favouring a modality of therapy grounded on a mechanical, reductionist or dualistic view of the mind and body.
The notion of philosophical health possesses a long genealogy. In The Hermeneutics of the Subject, a seminar Foucault gave at the College de France in 1981-82, its prehistory is located in the Platonic and Socratic notion of epimeleia heautou, the care for the self or soul. For Plato, philosophical self-care was a necessary condition in order to become a good citizen or governing actor of the city: the First Alcibiades indicates that there was a correlation between the collective idea of justice and the individual idea of rational self-care. Moreover, such self-care was ultimately not individual, as it was a reconnection with the divine within ourselves, an idea epitomized by Socrates’ daimonion. The Ancient Greek notion of philosophical health articulated personal growth with a shared cosmology, cosmo-political.
In On the Concept of Creal: the Politico-Ethical Horizon of a Creative Absolute (2017), Luis de Miranda argued that such a bridge between the supra-collective and the infra-individual needs to be reconstructed today via a global social contract, a shared cosmology. The problem with our dominant biophysical or psychological versions of health is that they often implicitly promote a solipsistic and materialist idea of the self, sometimes based on the anthrobotic idea of tech-enhanced standardised bodies, bodies without singular spirit and without the prophylactic aspect of an autonomizing form of collective intelligence or esprit de corps. In the end, mechanistic views, precisely because they might seem efficient in the short-term from a functional perspective, might lead to a general adoption of implicit forms of transhumanism, a constant and anxious management of humanity via chemicals, automation, mimetism and technology that generates guilt and self-hatred among crypto-cyborgs without a deeper purpose other than competition or survival.
In a sort of vicious loop, metaphysical worry is sometimes interpreted as “depression”, “bipolarism” or others form of mental diagnosis promoted by the medication industry. Moreover, the current high-speed development of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics is generating an artificially deterministic society in which existential choices tend to be increasingly supervised by the state or multinational corporations. Once we are statistically told by machines-who-know-better which education, partner, divertissement, profession or workplace to adapt to, the episteme of the modern subject, based on the fabulation of self-determination, might collapse, generating a wave of pathologies of free will, the premises of which are already observable today. Cognitive diversity is under threat, and the rise of a normative form of self-development sends wrong messages about “the right way” to live in order to be successful or happy.
Babies come into the world through a tube which at its origin is a kaleidoscope of infinite possibility, but which ends at its social end in this more limited image called reality. Some souls, however, try to regain some control of the kaleidoscope, by returning mentally and experientially to the creal source and by giving the world the shapes, colours and arrangements their fervour hopes for. All too often the monoscopic imperatives of society lash your faces in denying you an access to your deeper aspiration. The world needs cognitive diversity, an explosion of philosophical colours and a generous palette of ways of doing and thinking. In recurring to a philosophical counselor or autonomous philosophical thinking, human beings are looking anew for deeper, more singular and more sustainable forms of care and cognition, respectful of our natural embodiment and of non-human entities (from animals to ideals). Time is certainly ripe to answer the question What is Philosophical Health? in a programmatic way, and perhaps even more importantly: What can a philosophical belief do?
Do contact us today if you agree that the study of Philosophical Health is to be developed and if, in a way of another, you are part of the informal movement of philosophical care.
Dr Luis de Miranda is the initiator and founder of Philosophical Health International. Author of philosophical essays and novels translated into various languages, Luis is currently an academic researcher at the Center for Medical Humanities (Uppsala University, Sweden) and a philosophical practitioner, the founder of The Philosophical Parlour, where he offers occasional individual philosophical counseling centred around his methodology of crealectics. In the book Being & Neonness (MIT Press), among others, he synthetised his vision of a creative cosmology of cognidiverse health. In the book Ensemblance, he studies the conditions of possibility for “well-belonging” and healthy collective intelligence or esprit de corps. In October 2019, Luis de Miranda gave a presentation at UNESCO Headquarters, in Paris, on “crealectical understanding” where he called for a movement of applied research in philosophical health. Luis also collaborates with some international corporations on philosophical health programs and crealectic innovation, such as Vattenfall or Teaminside.
Meet below PHI advocates working in various parts of the world. You can also join the movement.
Lou Marinoff, PhD, is Professor of Philosophy at The City College of New York, founding President of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association (APPA), and Editor of APPA’s Journal, Philosophical Practice. In addition to several international bestsellers — Plato Not Prozac, Therapy for the Sane, The Middle Way, The Power of Dao — Lou has published dozens of invited books chapters and scholarly articles. APPA trains philosophers and other co-professionals to render services to individuals, groups and organizations, and has certified practitioners in more than 30 US states and 25 countries. Lou teaches world-wide, and collaborates with global organizations that contribute to building cultures of peace, prosperity and harmony. The New York Times called him “the world’s most successful marketer of philosophical counseling.”
Kate Mehuron, Ph.D. is a Philosophical Counselor certified by the American Philosophical Practitioners Association and an Academic Psychoanalyst certified by the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. Her overall focus is the importance of philosophical counseling as both a critique of and alternative to biomedical mental health diagnosis. The autopoetic role of the unconscious is important to Kate Mehuron’s emphasis on the inner vitality and directionality of thinking about one’s life issues. She teaches “Contemporary Philosophical Practices” at Eastern Michigan University and is the author of numerous articles on the practice of philosophical counseling.
Tulsa Jansson is the founder and chairman of the Swedish Society for Philosophical Practice (SSFP). Lecturer in Human Rights at Malmö University, she has a background in moral and political philosophy, with an ongoing PhD in Ethics. She trained as philosophical practitioner in the USA, Canada, France, and Norway. She is the author of the book Du had svaren! Filosofi till Vardags (2013) [You Have the Answer! Philosophy in the Everyday Life]. She also works as a training consultant in analytic thinking and dialogical skills for organisations.
Elliot D. Cohen (PhD Brown University) is one of the principal figures of philosophical counseling in the United States. He is founder and editor of International Journal of Applied Philosophy and International Journal of Philosophical Practice; co-founder and Executive Director of the National Philosophical Counseling Association (NPCA); and President of the Institute for Logic-Based Therapy and Consultation (a method he himself developed). Author of twenty seven books and numerous articles in philosophical counseling, applied philosophy, and professional ethics, his books include, Making Peace with Imperfection, End the Cycle of Criticism, and Embrace Self-Acceptance, translated in several languages.
Peter Raabe, PhD, is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in the use of philosophy in the prevention and treatment of “mental illnesses”. He received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia for his research in Philosophical Counselling. He is retired Associate Professor of philosophy at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) in Abbotsford, Canada, where he taught a variety of courses including philosophy of mind, reasoning, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and a specialized upper-level course of philosophy for students and practitioners of counselling and psychotherapy. He is the author of Philosophy’s Role in Counseling and Psychotherapy (Jason Aronson) and Philosophical Counseling: Theory and Practice, (Praeger). He is co-editor of Women in Philosophical Counseling (Lexington).
Elisabetta Basso, PhD, is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the École normale supérieure, Lyon and associated member of the Centre d’Archives en Philosophie, Histoire et Édition des Sciences (CNRS-ENS Paris). She is a member of the Michel Foucault editorial board. Her primary research goals are directed toward the relationship between anthropology, phenomenology, and psychopathology. Among her publications is the edition of Foucault’s manuscript Binswanger et l’analyse existentielle (Paris: Seuil/Gallimard/EHESS, 2021).
Balaganapathi Devarakonda is professor of Philosophy at the University of Delhi, India. His research interests include Philosophical counseling, Indian conception of Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Religion, Social and political philosophy. Bala is a Certified philosophical counselor by the American Philosophy Practitioners Association (APPA). He implements philosophical tools from Vedanta and Buddhism from the Indian tradition in his practice. He has edited a special issue of the Journal of APPA, Philosophical Practice on Indian perspectives of Philosophical counseling (2021).
Eeva K. Kallio, PhD, is adjunct professor at the Universities of Jyväskylä and Tampere, Finland. She is a specialist in adult developmental psychology. Founding member and Honorary President of the European Society for Research in Adult Development, and member of the Finnish philosophical practitioners FIVE, she is generally interested in the philosophical Taoist metaphysics. She has experience in participating, facilitating and leading philosophical discussion groups, e.g. contemplative philosophy groups. She is the editor of Development of Adult Thinking (Routledge, 2020).
Richard Levi, MD, PhD (Karolinska Institutet), MBA (Stockholm School of Economics) is professor of rehabilitation medicine at Linköping University and board certified in Neurology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. As practitioner at the Linköping University Hospital, he helps persons with severe mobility impairments regain a certain quality of life, a process for which he believes a philosophical approach is helpful.
Madhulika Sharma is a certified associate in client counseling from the American Philosophical Practitioners Association in New York, USA. She completed her master’s in philosophy from Ramjas College, University of Delhi, India. She is currently working as a philosophical counselor in India, where she conducts individual sessions, group counseling, couples counseling, and also provides training to psychological first aid volunteers.
Michael Loughlin, PhD, is Professor in Applied Philosophy and co-director of the University of West London’s European Institute for Person-Centred Health and Social Care. He has written extensively on the relationship between knowledge, science and value in clinical practice, on the relationship between epistemology and ethics, and analyses of the nature and role of rationality, evidence, judgement and intuition in medicine and health care. In 2014 he was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the European Society for Person Centered Healthcare and awarded the Senior Vice President’s medal for Excellence, for his foundational work in the Philosophy of Person-Centred Care.
Liza Haglund, Phd, is a Senior Lecturer in Education at Södertörn University in Stockholm (Sweden). Haglund has managed several “philosophy with children” projects since the middle of the 90s. Her philosophy books for children and teenagers have been translated into Arabic, Korean, German and Persian. She is a member of the board for Filosofiska, a non-for-profit organisation that runs one primary school, two pre-schools in Sweden with philosophy as the core tonality, and a school for children in need in Nepal.
Dr. Eli Kramer is an assistant professor at the Department of Ethics of the Institute of Philosophy, University Wrocław. His work explores philosophical health from the perspective of philosophy as a way of life research and practice. He also explores the limitations and challenges of promoting philosophical health within professional philosophy. He co-edits a new book series with Brill, “Philosophy as a Way of Life: Text and Studies.” His first single authored monograph is on the nature and role of the associated philosophical life (as distinct from philosophy as a discipline), and is entitled Intercultural Modes of Philosophy, Volume One: Principles to Guide Philosophical Community (Brill, 18 November 2021).020).
Salim Mokaddem, PhD, is Professor of Philosophy at Montpellier University, France. He is also a counselor in education and a specialist of medical epistemology. He believes that healing arises from philosophical attention and from the ethopoietic practice proper to the activity of judgment. Philosophy cures the will of its procrastination in history and becomes a process of self-care analogous to therapy.
Dr Miray Yazgan teaches ethics, applied philosophy, Chinese philosophy and Indian philosophy at Istanbul University in Turkey. She has published two books: Ancient Chinese Philosophy and Science of Logic and Ancient-Medieval Indian Philosophy and Science of Logic. She is interested in applying the knowledge and methodology of Far East Philosophy to Philosophical Counseling. Member since November 2019.
Babette Babich is an American philosopher and author. She is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University, based at the Lincoln Center campus in New York City and visiting professor of theology, religion and philosophy at the University of Winchester in the UK. She has written eleven books, including most recently Günther Anders’ Philosophy of Technology (2021) and several publications on Nietzsche. As a world-renowned specialist of Nietzschean scholarship, she is also executive editor of New Nietzsche Studies, a journal she founded in 1996.
Andrei Simionescu-Panait, Ph.D., is a philosophy Lecturer at the Polytechnic University in Bucharest, Romania. He also works as a philosophical counselor and critical thinking coach, being certified by the Institute de pratiques philosophiques in Paris. His clients include psychologists, teachers, and company employees. He recently published The Reconciled Body (Zeta Books 2021), a phenomenology of elegance. He researches new ways to combine phenomenology and Socratic dialogue techniques.
Dennis Schutijser is University Lecturer in Philosophy at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, with courses mainly in the areas of Practical Philosophy and Applied Ethics. He is also a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Toulouse in France. His research is dedicated to Narrativity as a basis for a Care of the Other. Dennis hold a degree both in Philosophy (France) and in Humanistic Sciences (Netherlands), during which he specialized in Philosophy as a Way of Life. .
Darija Rupčić Kelam, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of J. J. Strossmayer , in Osijek, Croatia. She is interested primarily in bioethics, philosophy of medicine, narrative medicine and how to restore, help and heal “broken life stories” through philosophical and narrative techniques. She is an expert in the bioethical aspects of the status of the human embryo.
Richard Sivil, PhD, is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal University, South Africa. He works in philosophy as practical wisdom directed at bringing about / increasing well-being. His doctoral research focuses on exploring alternative visions of philosophizing as a way of life, in the line of Pierre Hadot and of the Stoics, the Epicureans, Kant, Dewey, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.
Roberta Gucinelli, PhD in Philosophy, University of Geneva, is Member of the Max Scheler Gesellschaft and of the Scientific Committee of the Research Centre “FormaMentis”, University of Verona. She works in Phenomenology, Phenomenological Psychopathology, Aesthetics (Art and Resilience, Axiological Perception, Affective Relevance of Aesthetic Experience), Emotions and Value-Theories.
Md Shahidul Islam is an associate professor of philosophy at Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh. His research interests include Wittgenstein, Nagarjuna, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Religion, Meta-Philosophy, Logic, and Argumentation theory. He is interested in developing the idea of philosophical health in connection with the philosophies of Wittgenstein and Nagarjuna.
Zoran Kojcic, PhD, is a philosopher and author living in Croatia. He has worked as a school teacher and philosophical counsellor and practitioner since 2011. Zoran works as a coordinator on several international projects regarding ethics, philosophical practice and dialogue practices. He received his PhD in philosophy at Sofia University in Bulgaria, with the thesis on performance-oriented philosophical counselling.
Miriam van der Valk studied philosophy at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as well as with the American Philosophical Practitioners Association in New York. Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, she hosts public events, moderates panel talks, organizes courses and workshops, records podcasts, writes, lectures and coaches through her philosophical practice, Filoprax.
Suraiya Luecke is researching Mind, Language, and Embodied Cognition at the University of Edinburgh, and previously studied Neurobiology and Public Health at UC Berkeley. Her current research examines the tightly-coupled relationship between our breath and the quality of our subjective experiences. She is interested in using philosophy as a tool to bring together different sciences and practices around the subjects of mental health, interpersonal health, and ecological health.
Ray Cheung Wai Lok is a PhD student from the Philosophy Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He uses formal theories, such as decision theory, game theory, probability theory, modal logic, computability theory, learning theory, and connectionism, to describe the metaphysics of action. He believes the resultant logic of action shall empower us to understand the failure forms of right acts – be they immoral, or imprudent.
Jerneja Rebernak, based in London, has 12 years of international experience in managing Higher Education, Arts and Cultural sectors projects engaging enhance cultural cooperation through artistic programmes on regional and urban levels. She initiated the Planetary Institute to engage with situated practice based research on altered states of consciousness through a philosophical angle to connect our material and imaginal environments.
Dr. Constantinos Athanasopoulos is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) has a PhD from Glasgow University on Wittgenstein and Sartre. He has taught Philosophy in Greece, Italy, and the UK. Currently he is an Associate Lecturer in Philosophy at the Open University in Scotland, teaching a course in Thought and Experience. He has worked in the area of Philosophical Practice for more than 10 years.
Sofia Franzén is a master student in philosophy at the Södertörn University in Stockholm, where she also has studied Existential dialogue at the Center for Studies in Practical Knowledge. She is a member of the Swedish association for philosophical practice, SSFP, and is leading philosophical dialogue at Philosophy cafés. She has been teaching philosophy at high school for several years.
Dominic Garcia, PhD, (Newcastle University) is a teacher of philosophy in Malta within the Department of Education and the author of Rethinking Ethics Through Hypertext (Emerald Publishing Group UK, 2020), in which he proposes a concept of discursive expressions through the use hypertextual writing. His project seeks to create a redemptive technology that may yield a better understanding, interpretation and judgement of ethical issues and actions within a mode of discourse that is more emancipatory.
Andrew Keltner is the Director of the Philosophical Practices Certificate Program and a PhD Researcher in Dublin, Ireland, with the Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS), as well as a philosophical practitioner with the Institute of Philosophical Practices in Paris. He is trained in the Socratic method, and has worked with NGO’s, individuals, academic researchers, and has organized philosophical cafes. Andrew earned his MA in Philosophical Counselling and Consultancy from the West University of Timisoara.
Marsha Burke is an artist and teacher. She studied Fine Art at University of East London, then gained a PGCE from the London Institute of Education (1997). She taught in Secondary Education in Scotland for 15 years, mostly in Special Educational Needs (including a Secure Unit for teenagers with emotional and behavioural difficulties and an Autism Unit attached to a mainstream school). She is now also studying music at the University of Glasgow.
Eleanor Byrne is a PhD researcher in Philosophy at the University of York (United Kingdom) interested primarily in phenomenology and the philosophy of medicine/psychiatry. Her current research focuses on philosophical issues surrounding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and depression.
Abdullah Basaran (Ph.D. in Philosophy at Stony Brook University) is a research associate and philosophy lecturer at Hitit University of Turkey. In 2018, his first book, Postmodern: Felsefe, Edebiyat, Nekahet (The Postmodern: Philosophy, Literature, Convalescence) was published in Turkish. His current research mostly focuses on literary and philosophical hermeneutics, reading theories, and phenomenology of body and place.
Bernhard Geissler is a PhD researcher at the University of Graz, where he also works as an assistant at the department of philosophy. His research focuses on topics related to the fields of theoretical psychology and the philosophy of psychiatry. His methodological approach is strongly linked to the phenomenological tradition. Alongside his philosophical work, Bernhard is a board member of the Austrian Society for Phenomenology and trains as a psychotherapist with a philosophical background (Husserl).
Jarrod Hyam, PhD, teaches philosophy and religious studies at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire (USA). His interdisciplinary research integrates philosophy and the anthropology of religion. He is particularly interested in how philosophical disciplines and praxis may address the ongoing mysteries of health and healing. He completed the PhD at the University of Sydney in the Department of Indian Subcontinental Studies, after conducting ethnographic fieldwork in India and Nepal.
Gianluca Ronca, Ph.D. in Political Philosophy at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, in Spain, worked on the philosophy of care from his research topic on moral responsibility and he applied it as an interpretative key to the practice of transitional justice and public reconciliation. He works on human rights norms and has edited the Italian translation of Critical Theory and Human Rights. Gianluca also works as a philosophy teacher in a high school where he takes care of a group of schoolchildren with disabilities.
Angelos Sofocleous is a PhD researcher in Philosophy at the University of York (UK). His research focuses on the phenomenology of depression. He explores how interpersonal relations are altered in depression and how the depressed individual encounters possibilities in the world as possibilities-for-others, not as possibilities-for-her, in this way becoming a spectator towards the world and other people.
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The Philosophical Health International Movement
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