Can philosophy cure depression ?

Can philosophers help resolve the real problems that people have in their lives?

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duszek
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Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by duszek » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:38 pm

Modern literature has become so ugly and disgusting that it can depress you even more.

I wonder if philosophical writings of a person full of life energy would not have a positive effect on one´s psyche.
Not someone like Sören K. or Nietzsche.
Perhaps a friendly teacher of philosophy ? His kindness will express itself through the way he explains.

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The Voice of Time
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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by The Voice of Time » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:24 pm

Aye, I think so, but I don't know any writer in particular. Remember philosophers tend to doubt a lot, and doubt is usually the seed of depressive thinking. Of what positive philosophy I've read it has mostly been either talk of little importance or spiritualistic/new age wannabe philosophy.

I think that getting rid of doubt is not an option for anyone seriously considering to pursue philosophy, instead, they should try to remove themselves from the question they are asking, and look at all their actions from a grander scheme, in a way "zooming out", until all their doubts become petty and meaningless to the quality of their lives, they become in effect kind-of "disaffected", or unaffected, by it.

And then, they should pursue with tactical naïvety, their acquisition of knowledge, and as they play their naïve role, they should enjoy it as if they were naïve themselves, and as such take pleasure in ignorance they do not have but can fully pretend to have.

duszek
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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by duszek » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:06 am

But how about areas of philosophy where doubt is not common.

If one complares Kripke to Russell to Mill to Frege there is not much doubt involved.

Analytical philosophy, maths, logic, do not they have some sort of therapeutic effect ?

John Nash was not well, but perhaps he would have been even worse without his theories.

Impenitent
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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by Impenitent » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:57 pm

Descartes claimed that he doubted but he never really did...

-Imp

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Arising_uk
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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by Arising_uk » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:58 pm

duszek wrote:Not someone like Sören K. or Nietzsche.
Have you read Kierkegaard? Very positive and if you are Christian and depressed then "The Sickness Unto Death" is the book for you. It's also a great read if you just substitute "depression" for "sickness" all the way through.

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The Voice of Time
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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by The Voice of Time » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:54 am

duszek wrote:But how about areas of philosophy where doubt is not common.
There are no areas where doubt is uncommon. Doubt is the very fabric of philosophy, if you don't doubt: how are you gonna be able to rethink anything? You must first take the solid thing off balance, before you can start pushing it into a place. Unless a person is only repeating what others have said, it will always be soaked in doubt somehow as it creates a philosophy or makes their own version of a philosophy.
duszek wrote:If one complares Kripke to Russell to Mill to Frege there is not much doubt involved.
Writing doesn't see the thoughts of people, people write instrumentally always, writing is a tool. You don't see the thoughts of a carpenter by looking at the way he swings his hammer, even if you might be seduced to think you can see them, either in part or full.
duszek wrote:Analytical philosophy, maths, logic, do not they have some sort of therapeutic effect ?
They are all prime examples of studies of philosophy with doubt. Mathematicians are masters of doubt, they doubt everything except when they get a result which is so strong it is virtually unassailable. In fact, I think many mathematicians would find their minds crippled by all the doubt they experience all the time in their research, as they work very hard only to get very little result: it is a slow-moving discipline. Might be why a stereotypical mathematician is so unsocial: their thinking melts their brain into instability.

So I'd give the same advice to the analytic philosopher, the philosopher of mathematics and the logician: "zoom out" and be tactically naïve.

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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by John Romeo » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:24 am

I think in order to be cheered by philosophy one must first be willing to suspend skepticism and accept that other's viewpoints could be a more accurate version of reality than the one the reader is clinging to. The problem is that one has to have a reason for being skeptical of the more dour takes on reality other than because they are just depressing. Some of the positive thinking and self-esteem ideologies out there strike me as implausible as those that are obsessively negative.

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The Voice of Time
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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by The Voice of Time » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:28 pm

John Romeo wrote:The problem is that one has to have a reason for being skeptical of the more dour takes on reality other than because they are just depressing.
No, that is not the problem, people don't become sceptical in order to depress themselves. Being sceptical can accidently make you depressed, but that is a whole other kind of problem, it's not intended.

I think you start with a bad assumption to the subject.

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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by John Romeo » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:23 pm

I think you misunderstood me again. Try to follow...I'm not suggesting that people have to become skeptical to depress themselves (that makes no sense, actually). I'm saying that one has to approach philosophy with a sense of skepticism in order to recover from depression...in other words, unless I am skeptical of the Schopenhauers of the world, how can I possibly find good news in philosophy. I have to be willing to think that what everyone says is crap...otherwise I'll be blown around by every new idea that comes down the pike.

reasonvemotion
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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by reasonvemotion » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:36 pm

Modern literature has become so ugly and disgusting that it can depress you even more.
There is nothing more depressing (or exhilarating) than Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot.

duszek
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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by duszek » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:50 am

reasonvemotion wrote:
Modern literature has become so ugly and disgusting that it can depress you even more.
There is nothing more depressing (or exhilarating) than Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot.
Would you bother to say in a few words why ?

I wanted to read "Brothers Karamazov" in this life, I have only read "Crime and Punishment" so far.

duszek
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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by duszek » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:54 am

Voice of Time:

I did not envisage to do pioneer work in maths, I thought rather of keeping the mind busy by immersing oneself in math problems which have be solved already and whose results are unassailable.

Such occupation keeps one from brooding.

Math instead of drugs like alcohol or worse.

duszek
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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by duszek » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:56 am

Mr. Arising:

What´s positive and uplifting about critisizing Christianity ?

The act of criticism is an act of aggression, of taking sides.

People who are depressed are not feeling like fighting or struggling.

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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by The Voice of Time » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:25 am

John Romeo wrote:I think you misunderstood me again. Try to follow...I'm not suggesting that people have to become skeptical to depress themselves (that makes no sense, actually). I'm saying that one has to approach philosophy with a sense of skepticism in order to recover from depression...in other words, unless I am skeptical of the Schopenhauers of the world, how can I possibly find good news in philosophy. I have to be willing to think that what everyone says is crap...otherwise I'll be blown around by every new idea that comes down the pike.
You could had contracted that to one sentence which would've been understood instantly without the need for all the extra talk:

"One should be sceptical about the individual profitabilities of ones own applications of scepticism".

No doubting the meaning of that sentence.

reasonvemotion
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Re: Can philosophy cure depression ?

Post by reasonvemotion » Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:38 pm

Would you bother to say in a few words why ?

I wanted to read "Brothers Karamazov" in this life, I have only read "Crime and Punishment" so far.
A few words? Nothing Fyodor Dostoyevsky writes could be described in a few words.

I always favoured The Idiot and to do a review of it justice I think Hermann Hesse does it admirably.

http://www.gss.ucsb.edu/projects/hesse/works/idiot.pdf

It was a magnificent read.

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