The Philosopher as the Therapist: A Lesson from the Past
This article is about the philosopher as a potential therapist. It starts from tendencies exhibited by a group of contemporary philosophers involved in a so-called human enhancement. Drawing on the newest discoveries of genetics, genetic engineering and pharmacology, they offer a set of therapies aimed at the extensive ‘improvement’ of the human condition. In the second part of the paper, selected ideas concerning philosophical therapy by the Ancient philosophers are presented. They basically employed personal contact, conversation, and wise counselling. Then these two approaches to this kind of therapy are compared and contrasted. The contemporary approaches offer novel, technical ways of intervention but are blind as far as far-reaching goals and the essential goods of human life are concerned. Despite serious cultural differences, the contemporary therapy can learn a lot from the ancients. If the human being is to be treated by philosophers, an integral picture of who the former is must be taken into account. This means that both his interiority and exteriority should be subjects to the therapy.
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