Philosophy-as-therapy: good for the person and the community

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    The question of what we want our studies to do is often as old as the studies themselves, and philosophy has given various responses over the millenniums. In this paper, I present the view of philosophy-as-therapy and apply it to research, and researchers, of themes like ADHD, disability, and identity. Wittgenstein portrays philosophers as plagued by itchy questions which need to be soothed and not simply scratched at, and that philosophy, or rather philosophies, are therapies that help soothe the itch. I take part of Wittgenstein’s point as being that many of our philosophical questions and concerns are personal and call out from deep within – they are not abstract puzzles done for their sake, but aches that need attention for our sake. Do the questions that surround researchers of disability, ‘madness’ and identity itch; do they call out in similar ways; do they need to be approached in a therapeutic way where research helps? In answering, this paper explores two overlapping themes: that research needs to be brought back down to everyday life when it is about real-life phenomena, and that itchy questions are symptomatic of an underlying illness which scratching not only makes worse, but causes it to spread and infect others. The paper concludes that the view of philosophy-as-therapy is beneficial for our studies and is helpful for both individual researchers and the broader research community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2023
    EventDoing disorder well: concepts of disorder, divergence and madness - Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, United Kingdom
    Duration: 13 Jul 202313 Jul 2023

    Academic conference

    Academic conferenceDoing disorder well
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • ADHD
    • Wittgenstein
    • Philosophy as Therapy
    • metaphilosophy
    • madness
    • disability


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