Philosophical Counselling: Examining the Meaning of Life from a Ricœurian Perspective


In this paper we attempt to present a case that the philosophy of otherness proposed by the French philosopher Paul Ricœur is of great relevance in philosophical counselling. The objectives of the present study are: (1) to hermeneutically survey the question of the self in the writings of the French philosopher; (2) to show that although not explicitly stated, a thesis concerning the meaning of life can be articulated thereof; and consequently (3) to show the practical implications of such a reflexive thought through its application towards a good life. The process by which we approach these issues is to deduce the structure of the Ricœurian texts, namely through hermeneutical analysis and phenomenological description of his concepts, and at the same time to carefully prevent any hermeneutical abuses. The conclusion of the following research is that Paul Ricœur's philosophy of otherness is of value in philosophical counselling because it is a response to the vulnerabilities and sufferings that human beings face in their everyday lives. The aim of philosophical counselling being precisely to overcome or at least to try to overcome these difficulties in order to strive to achieve the good life. And finally, this paper is useful to philosophical counsellors because it illustrates how an author's philosophy can be applied in counselling sessions.

Keywords: hermeneutics, the meaning of life, the good life, Paul Ricœur, philosophical counselling

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