Details of Implementation

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The most elementary deontological lucidity requires the avoidance of the trap of private (in the sense of venal) practice. In order to specify the nature of the public philosophical practice, let us peruse the three actors involved: the mother-structure, the visitor, and the philosopher-practioner.

Working within a non-profit organization acting as an interface —the A.S.B.L. Centre de philosophie pratique— allows the philosopher to welcome visitors independently of their budget constraint. Although the commitment to the philosophical dialogue has inevitably to be sealed by a inancial transaction, it should be proportional to the visitor’s income.

The visitor can ask —by email or by telephone— for the institution of the Socratic dialogue on a par- ticular point. By doing so, s/he initiates a short (half a dozen sessions at most) and clearly targetted process. According to James himself, “the problem with the man is less what act he shall now choose to do, than what being he shall now resolve to become.”

The philosopher steers the dialogue (s/he does not direct it) according to two main sets of principles. First, the practice is fundamentally Socratic: the goal is to allow the visitor to become his or her own judge, e.g., to be able to analyze the presuppositions of his or her actions. The visitor is not a vase that should be filled but a fire that should be lit, a spring that should be freed. Second, this broad requirement is specified by the fundamental intuition of Whitehead’s philosophy — the creative advance of nature—, according to which change (or process) lies at the very heart of reality. In the psycholo- gical and spiritual fields, this means that the possibility of an improved life is guaranteed by the structure of reality itself.

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