Monthly Archives: September 2014

Harvard Business Review Lauds Philosophical Counseling for CEOs

It’s been called “Therapy for the Sane.” It’s definitely therapeutic. But you don’t have to be suffering from any mental illness to benefit. Consider the kinds of questions the following philosophers would counsel you to ask of yourself:

Socrates: What is the most challenging question someone could ask me about my current approach?

Aristotle: What character virtues are most important to me and how will I express them?

Nietzsche: How will I direct my “will to power,” manage my self-interest, and act in accordance with my chosen values?

Existentialists (e.g., Sartre): How will I take full responsibility for my choices and the outcomes to which they lead?

David Brendel, writing at the Harvard Business Review, lauds his professional services as a Philosophical Counselor.

This is no academic exercise, but should have “cash value” in the real world… Like “mindfulness” activities, self-reflection requires time and effort… It requires the leader to think rigorously about profound philosophical issues like value and purpose. The reward of self-reflection is what Aristotle called phronesis (“practical wisdom”). Contemplating timeless philosophical values can fuel timely behavior changes in the service of growth and lasting success.

Adorno and Benjamin in the New Yorker

Alex Ross of the New Yorker writes:

Anyone who underwent a liberal-arts education in recent decades probably encountered the thorny theorists associated with the Institute for Social Research, better known as the Frankfurt School. Their minatory titles, filled with dark talk of “Negative Dialectics” and “One-Dimensional Man,” were once proudly displayed on college-dorm shelves, as markers of seriousness; now they are probably consigned to taped-up boxes in garages, if they have not been discarded altogether. Once in a while, the present-day Web designer or business editor may open the books and see in the margins the excited queries of a younger self, next to pronouncements on the order of “There is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism” (Walter Benjamin) or “The whole is the false” (Adorno).

Well, this present day Web designer recently wrote about Adorno too. My chapter on what Adorno, a great critic of “the culture industry,” would have thought of Lena Dunham’s HBO show Girls is coming out in December. The book is called, “Girls and Philosophy” and it’s in the popular culture and philosophy series at Open Court Publishing.