Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement


The Philosopher as Pathogenic Agent, Patient, and Therapist: The Case of William James

Logi Gunnarsson

One way to understand philosophy as a form of therapy is this: it involves a philosopher who is trying to cure himself. He has been drawn into a certain philosophical frame of mind—the ‘disease’—and has thus infected himself with this illness. Now he is sick and trying to employ philosophy to cure himself. So philosophy is both: the ailment and the cure. And the philosopher is all three: pathogenic agent, patient, and therapist.


Logi Gunnarsson is Professor of Philosophy at TU Dortmund University, Germany. He is the author of Making Moral Sense: Beyond Habermas and Gauthier (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and Philosophy of Personal Identity and Multiple Personality (Routledge, 2010).