International Journal of Philosophical Practice

Volume 2, Issue 3, Summer 2004

Kate Mehuron
Pages 13-31

The Depathologization of Everyday Life
Implications for Philosophical Counseling

Philosophical counseling offers a depathologizing practice that can benefit both the practitioner and the client. Philosopher Michel Foucault’s account of biopower is a useful analytic of the psychopathologization of everyday life, and can show the social signif­icance of philosophical practice. This essay critiques the conflation, by some philosophical practitioners, of the medical disease model and all psychotherapeutic methods. Foucault’s conflation of human normativity and normalization is also critiqued. Historian of science Georges Canguilhem’s alternative account of human normativity within the medical disease model is offered as an antidote to the conflations by these philosophical practitioners and Foucault. Philosophical practitioners ought to give up objectivist claims to value neutrality and acknowledge that the interventions of philosophical counseling in clinical diagnostic discourses are normative, theory-laden, and politically significant.