“What philosophy is and what it is worth”, says German-Swiss philosopher Karl Jaspers in one of his books, which is “controversial.” However, since I offer philosophical advice, lectures, and workshops, it is evident that I believe that philosophy is of great value — in the more concrete sense that dealing with it can lead to an increase in the quality of life.
Philosophizing as a wellness measure?
Suppose we do not want to understand by “wellness” the short-term success of a spa weekend that needs to be repeated soon. Instead, there is an approach to philosophy and philosophizing that involves long-term and sustainable change.
A fascinating, new, and permanent clarity is on the horizon.
Logic And Philosophy of Existenz
Being able to think and communicate these two areas of philosophy, traditionally considered almost opposites, in great proximity and sometimes even as one, is one of my specialties. I do not share the view that the philosophy of Existenz demands the exclusion of logic and sometimes of all rationality. Rather, I see the logical and the existential both as realms of reason — “reason” in a broad sense, as Kant, for example, understood it.
However existentially motivated the desire to eat the cake and at the same time to have it may be, it cannot be realized for logical reasons. The example may be a little trivial now, but less trivial instances of this structure are much harder to spot.
We can give it a try.
Detecting contradictions takes up a particular part of the philosophically motivated discussion. “What is so bad about contradictions?” asks British-Australian philosopher and logician Graham Priest provocatively in the title of one of his essays. I would like to answer him: Almost everything!
Because a contradiction, in theory, makes the theory useless in a logically demonstrable sense. And a contradiction in practice always causes at least a profound discomfort and can be highly harmful to almost all areas of life.
Finding contradictions and rethinking the underlying conflicting assumptions is a rewarding result of philosophical efforts.
I'm happy to help.
“Sense Designs Without a Guarantee of Safety”
The buzzword coined by the German philosopher Hans Lenk is a good outline of what philosophy can offer to the individual if they engage in it — whether by drawing upon the repertoire of previous thoughts, or by suddenly finding something new in a moment of realization.
We can see meaning as what is grasped when a person understands something. Finding and creating meaning are essential functions of philosophical counseling, when something previously opaque is illuminated by recognition and/or understanding.
And those who, in all this talk about meaning, continue thinking until the limit that seems to be drawn by the question of the “meaning of life”, so often quoted and rejected as hopeless — the form of this meaning can be explained in a few sentences. And it is not the end, but only the beginning.
Ascension to The Meta-level
Philosophy is repeatedly, and not wrongly, attributed to the function of being able to take a “second look” from a higher-level perspective. With a foreign word, the higher-level level one climbs to for such a consideration is called the meta-level.
Philosophical reflection is an extremely frequent ascent to such a meta-level. You are no longer just in a situation but above it: seeking a position in which you can be confidently above things and do not have to remain hopelessly entangled in them.
The search for a meta-position, i.e., a superordinate position from which things can be seen better, is a style of thinking that can be learned.
Learn with me!
Thus, philosophical education (not: training, therefore better try studying at a university) is a path that a particular person can decide to go. One of the most important milestones on this path — and it may very well be necessary to pass this milestone several times — may be the realization of one’s own, enlightened will as a final reason.
Not defiant or hostile, but the peaceful, clear, and encouraging “I want it this way” is one of the crucial contributions of a human being to reality. To quote aforementioned Jaspers again, the meaning and aim of philosophy are “the growing aware of being, the enlightenment of love, the perfection of tranquility.”
In this sense, and in other senses that we are happy to explore in a conversation or in one of the different forms of interaction offered (lecture, workshop, ...), the philosophy that Michael Matzer represents is undisputedly a philosophy of realism.
I look forward to exploring with you!