What is the other person for me? What does it mean to be authentic? What is true freedom? What is a meaningful moment? In everyday language we use these concepts quite often, but it is precisely because of this that we neglect to think about them, and usually find it hard to fully understanding their meaning. Presumably, freedom is freedom, the other person is the other person, what more is there to say?
But there is much to say. Throughout the long history of philosophy, many thinkers have written about these concepts and have suggested deep analyses of their meaning. Their approaches are different from each other, and so they form a broad spectrum of perspectives. Each approach sheds light on a different aspect of our lives, and together they create a rich symphony of the diverse facets of human reality. We could say that each of those theories expresses a specific meaning, a single ‘voice’ in the human symphony, a voice that touches us and speaks through us in our everyday life.
For philosophical practice, and philosophical counseling in particular, these ‘voices’ are of great importance, because they can help us examine ourselves, and can shed light on the meanings that speak in our lives. It is difficult for an individual to formulate, out of nothing, the meaning he finds in the concept of freedom, of authenticity, etc. It is easier to use approaches developed by other thinkers as raw materials and sources of inspiration for developing self-understanding.
In this series we will examine a number of everyday concepts – the concept of the other person, authenticity, freedom, meaning, the good and the bad, transcending – as well as several approaches to these concepts – or ‘voices’ – which have been developed by prominent philosophers. We will also explore how philosophical practice can use these ‘voices’ for self-examination.