Plato, Not Prozac! - Applying Philosophy to Everyday Problems
by Lou Marinoff, PH.D.
A book the author dedicates to "those who knew philosophy was good for something, but could never say exactly what".
My son (13 at the time) came home with a copy of Plato, Not Prozac that he had selected for summer reading. Interesting choice.
The book is a good attempt to put a practical spin on philosophy in the context of philosophical counseling and consulting. The excellent first chapters provide an overview of the place of philosophy in everyday lives over the many centuries, including an explanation of why modern philosophy seems more academic and less connected to living than the work of Plato, Aristotle, Lao Tsu, and other sources of ancient wisdom. Marinoff offers a fresh approach where philosophy can be used to help individuals address personal challenges and choices, rather than simply posing more questions than answers.
In my undergraduate days I considered majoring in Philosophy, Psychology, or Literature. Lou Marinoff provides comparisons of Philosophy, Psychology, and Psychiatry that articulate the concerns I had with these academic pursuits. Approaching the great writings as Literature allowed balance.
The book describes the role of the philosophical practitioner, a career option that I new to me. Marinoff describes the PEACE process for using philosophy to increase piece of mind. PEACE stands for Problem, Emotion, Analysis, Contemplation, and Equilibrium. Much of the book explains the process and provides case studies to show the process in practice.
The appendixes provide a Hit Parade of Philosophers with short summaries of prominent philosophers over the ages, a list of Organizations for Philosophical Practice, a Directory of Philosophical Practitioners, recommendations for Further Reading, and interesting instructions for Consulting the I Ching.
My son enjoyed the book but thought I might get more out of it. I think he was right, but perhaps he should give it another read in a decade or two.
See Exploring Philosophy for related reviews.
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Subject keywords: philosphy psychology self-help personal growth psychiatry