Epicurean ethics as a foundation for philosophical counseling

Philosophical Practice 8 (1):1127–1141 (2013)
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Abstract

The paper discusses the manner and extent to which Epicurean ethics can serve as a general philosophy of life, capable of supporting philosophical practice in the form of philosophical counseling. Unlike the modern age academic philosophy, the philosophical practice movement portrays the philosopher as a personal or corporate adviser, one who helps people make sense of their experiences and find optimum solutions within the context of their values and general preferences. Philosophical counseling may rest on almost any school of philosophy, ranging — in the Western tradition from Platonism to the philosophy of language or logic. While any specialist school of philosophy may serve valuable purposes by elucidating specific aspects of one’s experiences and directing future action, the more ‘generalist’ the philosophy used as the basis for counseling is, the broader and more far-reaching its potential impact on the person undergoing counseling. Epicurean ethics is a prime example of a philosophy of life that is suitable for philosophical counseling today. Its closer examination reveals that, contrary to superficial opinion, it is not opposed to Stoicism and may in fact incorporate Stoicism and its antecedent virtues (including many Christian virtues) in a simple yet comprehensive practical system of directions for modern counseling.

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Aleksandar Fatic
Australian National University