By Carlo Basili


The following interview with Ran Lahav was conducted in January of 2013 by Carlo Basili, a prominent philosophical practitioner from Phronesis, the Italian Association for Philosophical Counseling. The interview was published in Italian on the webpage of Phronesis (

The following is a translation from the original Italian text:

Ran Lahav has been one of the pioneers of Philosophical Practice, and is still among the itsmost visible and active exponents on the international scene. Together with Lou Marinoff he organized the first conference of Philosophical Practice (The 1st ICPP, in Vancouver, 1994), and throughout the years has contributed to the development of the field, while engaging in intense organizational and theoretical activity. He is well known in Italy, where he collaborated with Phronesis and with Sicof and where he frequently gives seminars. In Italian he has published two books about philosophical practice: Comprendere la vita [Understanding life] (2004) and Oltre la filosofia [Beyond Philosophy] (2010). Other texts of Ran are available at the website which also contains a section in Italian with texts and videos. On his site one can find a broad collection of videos on philosophical practice.

Carlo: Dear Ran, I want to use this opportunity to take stock of the situation ofthe philosophical practice movement. A lot of water has passed under the bridge from the first ICPP which you organized with Lou Marinoff in Vancouver (1994) to the last one that took place in Korea this year. What is your opinion about the road we have traveled so far?



by Ran Lahav

published in Journal of Humanities Therapy 3:2012

The field of philosophical practice contains a wide variety of approaches, and yet they are all based on one central idea: that philosophy is relevant to the person in the street, not only to professional philosophers. Philosophy can help individuals examine their lives and in this way help them address their personal problems, make decisions, develop themselves, and enrich their lives with meaning and wisdom. The philosophical practitioner is, accordingly, a philosopher who helps people reflect on life and on their predicaments. This can be done in several different formats—in a one-time workshop, in a group that meets regularly, in a reading group of philosophical texts, and so on. But the most popular form of philosophical practice is “philosophical counseling” in which a philosopher meets one counselee for a series of counseling sessions, and the two reflect together on the counselee’s life.

But how can philosophy, especially Western philosophy, be relevant to the person in the street?