Call for Chapters for a collective book (including a symposium)
Possibility, (Re)Generation, Care: Perspectives on Philosophical Health
Edited by Luis de Miranda and Elisabetta Basso
This book is the first of its kind to explore the emerging concept of philosophical health in contemporary contexts of care as distinct from, yet complementary to physical and psychological forms of health. We envision a prioriphilosophical health as a state of fruitful coherence between a person’s ways of thinking and speaking and their ways of acting, such that the possibilities for a good life are increased and the needs for self- and intersubjective flourishing satisfied. This is however an open, emerging concept, and the present book is dedicated to exploring its full potential.
The question of care has today become a central philosophical issue. Most researchers have emphasized the relational and intersubjective character of the experience of care (care can be defined as a relationship with oneself, the others, and the world), thereby turning to the investigation of our pre-intentional or pre-reflexive experience of the world, its nature and genesis. Over the past decades an original dialogue has been, for instance, launched between the phenomenological tradition and research on cognition, in order to address issues such as intersubjectivity, self-awareness and self-experience, emotion, corporeality and the “sense of the real”. This research field implies also reflections on the meaning and aims of therapy: in the phenomenological agenda, in particular, a special emphasis is placed on the philosophical concept of “possibility”, which is considered crucial since it defines the space of action of both the patient and the caregiver within the clinical or counseling relationship. In the field of psychopathology, the psychiatrist-phenomenologist, thanks to her/his intuitive ability to grasp the rules or “directions of meaning” (Bedeutungsrichtungen) structuring the patient’s “world-project,” is supposed to question the style according to which the patient exists (that is, the way in which the patient relates with a world, the others, oneself) in order to intervene in the structuration of this world. Thus, far from imposing itself with its own interpretative system, therapy in the context of philosophical health is conceived of as a co-creative, (re)generative or (re)possibilizing act.
The fields of care and health are privileged sites of possibility. While, when considering the latter, we usually focus on the arts, science or the future, healing and regeneration are also paradigmatic examples of phenomena that expand the possible and the new in our lives and in the lives of others. Regeneration is itself an act of transformation and, to some extent, of re-creation. Beyond reifying diagnoses, philosophical-mental health in particular depends on our relationship with the possible as a category that reveals human existence as multiple, open-ended, agentic and generative, and this seems compatible with the scientific discoveries regarding the plasticity of the brain, lifelong neuron regeneration, resilience, neurodiversity or multiple realizability. Without a sense of self-possibility and openness to the future, we could not talk about health and, conversely, pathologies are defined by various kinds of impossibilities as they effectively shut down our imagination for what could be and what could still become. In this context, care can be reconceptualized as a process of cultivating or pruning the possible in embodied, psychological and social terms, of allowing things to take a new turn, to re-generate or in some cases to vanish. Studying this dynamic is central for philosophical practice and for interdisciplinary explorations of care and health. Philosophical reflection enables a deeper engagement with various dimensions of the possible, including “what is not”, “what could be”, “what could have been” and “what can or should never be”. Philosophy is (re)generative when it carefully projects another world as a potential to be enacted within our very world. Explorations of such dimensions play an essential role in human relationships based on offering and receiving care, grounding them in the fundamental recognition of human possibility, notwithstanding one’s contextual, physical, psychological or social challenges.
Nietzsche was perhaps the first contemporary to re-establish a central connection between philosophy and (“great”) health (1882). After Binswanger’s Daseinsanalysis in the 1920s with its concept of repossibilization (Wiederermöglichung), and since Frankl’s logotherapy of meaning in the 1950s, philosophy is slowly re-emerging as the practice of intersubjective care it was originally known for in Antiquity (Foucault and Hadot). From Koestenbaum’s “Clinical Philosophy” (1978) and Achenbach’s Philosophical Praxis (1984), a new meta-therapeutic practice labelled “philosophical counseling” has been emerging sporadically in several parts of the world. Devoid of standardized diagnoses, chemical prescriptions, or normative psychologies, the philosophical health paradigm puts emphasis on an embodied idea of meaning-making, self-determination, the modernity of which could be traced back to Kant’s ethics.
Some of the questions raised by a health philosopher are: In what sense can meaning be healing? Can the generation or regeneration of meaning allowed by philosophical practice be healing beyond psychological nomenclatures? If mental and cognitive health can be improved via philosophy, could it be because theory becomes therapy by impregnating a praxis, not only the praxis of the counselor or caregiver, but the actions and decisions of the counselee, whose cognition is enacted in a lifeworld and embodied in intuition, emotion, physicality, but also thought? Why is philosophical health an important complement to issues of physical and psychological health, shedding new light on the third sustainable development goal of the United Nations in the 2030 horizon, “health and well-being”?
Our volume explores the intrinsic possibility for philosophical practice to be creative and to give birth to life-affirming worlds via the kind of transformations mental and ideational processes are capable of. By investigating the philosophical dimension of the care relationship, and the understudied health and generative dimension of philosophising, this book promotes a broader historical, epistemological and anthropological questioning of the multifarious field of “philosophical practice” in relation to health research. We present interdisciplinary and original perspectives in order to explore, in particular, how the concepts of “possibility” and “regeneration” may impact contemporary debates on practices of care and the socio-political future of well-being.
 Corresponding editor.
We expect original work written specifically for this book project. Each article can focus on one or more of the four key notions of the title (1. possibility, 2. (re)generation, 3. care, 4. philosophical health). All of the four signifiers need to appear in each chapter and be connected together at least minimally for the sake of the general coherence of the book.
We welcome work from various disciplines and approaches, such as philosophy, intellectual history, history of ideas, psychology, philosophical counselling, health and medical humanities, etc.
An extended abstract of 1500 words shall be sent by 15 July 2021.
We will use the Chicago author-date style.
Each final submission should be 5000 words long, with a variation of 500, submitted as follows: a full pre-review version by 15 January 2022, which shall circulate among all authors (no more than 18 chapters, plus an introduction and a conclusion by the editors), then a post-symposium final version by 30 June 2022. The final version of the chapters should at least minimally echo some other chapters, for the sake of coherence and internal dialogue between perspectives.
In April 2022 (precise date to be determined), a symposium will take place at Uppsala University, Sweden, for all authors to meet and discuss the chapters before they are finalised.
A contract with an academic publisher shall be signed in September 2021, and the book is expected to be published between December 2022 and March 2023.
Please contact the corresponding editor Luis de Miranda: email@example.com.
Luis de Miranda, PhD, is researcher at the Center for Medical Humanities and Social Sciences at Uppsala University. A latecomer to Academia, he was previously the author of a dozen novels and philosophical literary essays in French, since then translated into various languages, among which Who Killed the Poet (Max Milo, France, 2011; Galata, Turkey, 2012; Snuggly Books, USA, 2017; Haitian, China, 2018; Palaver Press, Sweden, 2019). He is the founder of The Philosophical Parlour in Stockholm, where he offers philosophical counseling sessions since 2018 both to individuals or corporations such as the energy multinational Vattenfall. His work is mostly philosophical, with a focus on applied philosophy and process philosophy. He is an elected practicing member of SSFP, the Swedish Society for Philosophical Praxis. In 2019, he was invited by Unesco Headquarters in Paris to present his vision regarding philosophical health and subsequently inaugurated the open network PHI (Philosophical Health International: https://philosophical.health). In terms of scholarly books in English, he is the author of Being and Neonness (MIT Press, 2019), and Ensemblance(Edinburgh University Press, 2020).
Elisabetta Basso, PhD, is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the École normale supérieure, Lyon (UMR 5206 Triangle), and associated member of the Centre d’Archives en Philosophie, Histoire et Édition des Sciences (CAPHES UMS 3610), CNRS-ENS Paris. She is a member of the editorial board for the publication of the series Cours et travaux de Michel Foucault avant le Collège de France (Paris: Seuil/Gallimard/EHESS). Her primary research goals are directed toward the relationship between anthropology, phenomenology, and psychopathology in the Continental philosophical thought of the 20th and 21th century. Among her publications is the edition of Foucault’s manuscript Binswanger et l’analyse existentielle, Paris: Seuil/Gallimard/EHESS, 2021.
A non-exhaustive bibliography
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