Doing philosophy


Here you can find out what it is to start doing philosophy in a practical way. Doing philosophy will help you think about things philosophical—thoughts we have that at the time we think them leave us confused or without an acceptable answer. We can do philosophy by ourselves (by reflecting or meditating on the question that concerns us), with one other person (taking to a friend to try and work out a particular question of concern) or in a group (perhaps as part of a Cafe Philo).

Philosophy can be practical. It has always been concerned with matters of utility: science, ethics, religion, psychology; but it has also been concerned with abstract ideas: what we know and how we come to know it, the logic of argument, whether or not the world we live in is truly real. For me modern Practical philosophy is concerned with things that effect us as human beings in our everyday lives: our happiness, our fulfillment, our sense of right and wrong, our feelings of fellowship with others, our fears and anxieties, how we view ourselves. Modern Practical Philosophy has a number of strands: Philosophical Counseling, Socratic Dialogue, Philosophy with Children, Personal Reflective Practice. Here you will find something on all of these topics and links to help you pursue any of them further. For me practical philosophy has a particular rationale, it demands that we have an understanding of life itself—what it is to ‘be’?, that we know how we can alter our own lives—how we can change ourselves, that we know what has meaning to us, that we know what freedom to choose is, what action is and how we should act in relation to it, and ultimately how we can come to understand a philosophical life. I believe an understanding of these can be had by personal Reflective Practice and that out lives can be enhanced and indeed fulfilled by an understanding of what I call Practical Metaphysics.

We can all do philosophy and our lives can be enhanced by it. It is not difficult

and there are a set of tools which philosophers use that are readily available. The main tools are logical ones. There is nothing mysterious about logic, it is part of our nature to act logically and to know when something is illogical. Philosophers also understand that in order to work out questions they must test their ideas against the ideas of others. This method is used throughout science and the humanities. That is why students and academics write essays and books and go to conferences. When we philosophize we must not be afraid to say what we think. But we must think carefully, we must consider what it is we are thinking about and respect the ideas of others in the same way. When we do philosophy we must not think of ourselves but of the general case, we must move from the particular to the universal.

A good way to start is to expose your ideas to the ideas of others.

If you want to experiment with thinking about things go here.

My ideas for how to do philosophy are found in my book Doing Philosophy.

If you want to find out how I think we can attain a good life for ourselves by self reliance look at my essay Self reliance not counseling--a contemporary perspective on practical philosophy and its relationship to the individual.

If you are interest in or have been affected by grief try my two books Goodbye: grief from beginning to end and Goodbye II: later reflections and a conclusion. Details of my other wrk including fiction can be found in the Select bibliography.

I give a bibliography of all references cited as well as an annotated booklist suggesting further reading. For interest I also include a picture gallery of some of the more well known philosophers and thinkers in history. If you want an impression of what a philosophical idea can look like as an image, in this case my idea of what is both beyond and within, go here.


What Doing philosophy means