Philosopher or consultant philosopher?

What is a philosopher or philosophy for? To many things. The first ones that come to mind are: clarifying thought, defining concepts, establishing the limits of validity of a theory or a concept, establishing whether the things said or written are true and under what conditions, which things are right and the wrong things, clarifying the meaning of things, giving meaning to one's identity… As you can see, nothing smoky or useless, contrary to what some often think. I am writing from the halo of chatter and comments that Andreas Voigt's recent post "We need philosophers" aroused in various places in which the author did me the courtesy of naming myself as philosopher. And therefore I believe it is necessary, before possibly saying how, why and in what way philosophy (or rather philosophical practices, as we will see) can be useful to a company, a topic on which I have written a book together with Neri Pollastri entitled The philosopher in the company of which you can have a presentation in , shed some light on what it means to be a philosopher. For me, being a philosopher means doing philosophy, or rather practicing it: do you understand why I'm talking about philosophical practices? I hope so: it's not a question of administering some philosophy of mine to Tizio or Caio or some Company, even if in part one can never do without it entirely, but more than anything else of helping the aforementioned to be themselves philosophers, or to do philosophy. That is to practice it. The professionalism at stake is that of the consultant philosopher, or philosophical consultant (in English it sounds like philosophical practicioner), which is quite new and dates back to no more than thirty years ago. Since everything is played out from the meaning of this discipline, to put some stakes I think the best thing is to publish here for you the Philosophical Consultancy of the International Dictionary of Psychotherapy curated by Giorgio Nardone and Alessandro Salvini. With Nardone I trained as a Communication and strategic coach (the certification is from the MRI of Palo Alto, of which the CTS of Nardone, a student of Paul Watzlawick, is a kind of branch) and I wrote the entry in question. I give you the original version, I don't know if they made any editing changes. Anyway, it's from my handwriting. Here she is:

Philosophical counseling. Expression born in Germany in 1981, when the philosopher G. Achenbach began to receive "consultants" (that is, in his language, 'guests') in his studio to answer their questions and talk about their problems: from separations to dismay in the face to death, from questions about the meaning of life to a particular moral dilemma, from difficulties in accepting or managing the alienation produced by work to more or less cynical or romantic questions about love. The "method" used by Achenbach - who also denies having a method - is based on an open encounter and openly devoid of preconceptions or prejudices, with a consequent philosophically oriented dialogue from the point of view of the discursive tools and techniques used. Welcoming, respect for the thought and life of others, acceptance of the other, sincerity and equal dignity of saying by both dialoguers, love and the search for truth are part of the approach. From the Achenbachian incipit, the new "philosophical practice" developed quite quickly in all Western countries, reaching as far as China and India. The distinctive characteristics of the discipline, beyond the aforementioned typical features of the Achembachian dialogue, are quite controversial. For example, S. Schuster does not hesitate to define philosophical counseling and the work of the counseling philosopher as a "philosophical cure of the self" capable of inducing effects on well-being and resolution of mental illnesses, while also sharing a very negative view of psychotherapies with Achenbach . For R. Lahav, on the other hand, philosophical counseling is fundamentally a reflection and reconfiguration of people's "worldviews" which can induce therapeutic effects, even without having the intention to do so. Many consultants also insist on an effect or move similar to theepoke Husserlian (suspension), which allows a sort of “lift” or detachment from the «identification with the problem», according to an expression by A. Prins-Bakker. And if many counselors distance themselves from psychotherapy (in particular from therapeutic "intentionality"), there are those who do not hesitate to think of philosophical counseling as close to and intertwined with psychotherapy, as for example L. Marinoff does, who emphasizes the to the problem solving, or the Chinese Chung-Ying Chen, who supports a practice with a strong psychoanalytic connotation. Similar divergences of views also occur with equal problems as regards other aspects, including the consultant's degree of neutrality, the importance of education in philosophizing and the orientation towards the search for wisdom, to mention only the most relevant. Beyond the divergences, however, it is possible to recognize some elements common to all the practices implemented by each consulting philosopher. In the first place, the will to practice that absence of prejudices which on the one hand innervates much of Achenbach's work and on the other constitutes the very soul of philosophy: to philosophize, to be a philosopher, indeed means, in the first place, to interrogate, questioning everything, including the discourse itself; this willingness to place no limits on meta-discourse is probably a distinctive feature powerful enough to separate philosophical counseling (and philosophy) from any other discourse, scientific or otherwise, including psychotherapeutic disciplines. Another characteristic generally shared by all philosophical counselors is a clarifying intentionality, or, to use stronger terms, a regulative ideal that values ​​truth as the norm of belief and action (it must also be said that the idea or the very concept of truth to which we refer are not at all obvious but, on the contrary, always problematic); this clarifying intention is generally valued and seen as an expansion of horizons and potential, as a liberation, ultimately a good (a strong philosophical concept consubstantial with philosophy itself), which would seem to imply a connection, or relationships of mutual implication, between gnoseology and ethics. Furthermore, one cannot avoid noting the importance of the work on the concept and on the productive thought of ideas: the path is in general above all cognitive and the work on emotions and perceptions can only take place through the medium of reasoning and discourse. The practical-operational orientation of philosophical counseling has significant consequences on the importance that the particular has in the discipline - in contrast with the privilege of the universal typical of much traditional philosophy - and in fact the process is always activated starting from a single case, be it a story, a fact, an example, a request or an emotion. This is precisely the reason why in philosophical counseling something of the order of thinking in an ever new, creative way, aimed at the creation of new concepts, seems to always be at stake, as if the understanding of the existing, of experience, had only value when it is included in broader, deeper and more powerful conceptual frames than those from which it started.

Finally, if you really want to know immediately something about what philosophy can be used for in a company, I recommend this article, which has the great advantage of quoting me (eh! eh!):  More philosophy is needed in the company – edited by Sara Malaspina.