By Pierre Grimes
There are recurring sets of issues that should be explored that are discussed on the APPA website and among our colleagues. They deal with the relationship of the practice of philosophy and psychology/psychotherapy such as the difference between philosophical practice and psychotherapy, the use of the language of the DSMIV, compensation, and the idea of causation in psychogenic disorders.
As numerous as they are and as serious as they seem to be, they are not issues for Dialectical Philosophical Practice; which, of course, is an adaptation of Socratic midwifery. The practice of DPP may benefit both parties in a DPP dialogue, though in different ways.
The reasons for this are that while DPP only explores those problems that subjects admit are their problem and that they desire an insight and understanding into, it also provides the philosopher with an arena within which he can understand how an individual’s problem emerges out of their system of thought/belief.
As a result of engaging in such studies the DPP philosopher can gain insights into (1) what causes false beliefs to become believable; (2) why certain kinds of images are linked to these belief structures; (3) what kind of understanding reduces their influence, or even eliminates them, so that it affords the philosopher the most excellent opportunity to directly study the nature and function of cognitive states of mind; (4) the diagnosis for all our subjects is the same, ignorance; and (5) screening subjects for DPP is self selective in that if subjects can admit to having a problem, are willing to answer questions that follow the DPP guidelines, or protocol, and if the practitioner agrees to take on the subject’s problem for a DPP exploration then the conditions for dialogue are complete.
While there is no doubt that such explorations bring about changes in affect, in behavior, in life style and, indeed, even biochemical/neurological changes, our DPP dialogues are not directed at bringing about those kinds of changes.
Indeed, as it has been said, just because a passenger on an ocean voyage may recover his health doesn’t mean that the captain is justified in charging an additional fee for that recovery. Further, as a philosopher I don’t have to have an opinion about the probable physical causes of these changes that I witness in our dialogues.
But, I can offer opinions about the effects of false beliefs on one’s philosophy and life. Psychology does not offer explorations into the origin and nature of belief systems nor need a philosopher offer explanations into the nature and origin of various psychogenic disorders.
Psychology looks to intra-personal causes to explain and predict human behavior, philosophy to inter-personal and supra-personal causes. Thus, DPP is a philosophical and not primarily a psychological activity.
And, if someone asks a DPP practitioner to examine his or her life problems through DPP, the practitioner may or may not ask for compensation. For, those who possess an art can offer their services either for some compensation or choose not to accept monetary compensation.