Essays on Philosophy, Praxis and Culture

Essays on Philosophy, Praxis and Culture

An Eclectic, Provocative and Prescient Collection

By Lou Marinoff
Introduction by Rick Repetti

This collection provides a panoramic view of practical philosophical insight, ranging across a spectrum of humanistic themes. These essays cast light on our perennially imperfect human condition.

Paperback, 362 Pages


February 2024

£25.00, $35.00

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About This Book

This collection provides a panoramic view of practical philosophical insight, ranging across a spectrum of humanistic themes. These essays cast light on our perennially imperfect human condition. They are written from the complementary standpoints of a classical liberal scholar with one foot planted in the academy, and of a peripatetic pioneer whom The New York Times called "the world's most successful marketer of philosophical counseling." These writings, therefore, span space in which theory and praxis are mutually informative and seamlessly collaborative.

The collection ranges from Alfred Korzybski's general semantics; Thomas Mann's prognosis for Western civilization; Hume's moral skepticism applied to globalization; Jungian synchronicity and encounters with Irvin Yalom; J.S. Mill's harm principle applied to cyberspace; Ayn Rand's prophetic apocalypse; philosophical practice as Dadaist activism; humanities-based therapies as remedies for culturally induced illnesses; biological roots of human conflict; deconstruction and critique of "sustainable development"; dangers and detriments of over-digitalized and hyper-virtualized lifestyles and learning methods; and calls for the re-emergence of philosophy from inactive academic entombment to pro-active modes of personal guidance, social influence, consumer advocacy, and political engagement. A unifying claim of this anthology is the cautionary tale that humanity's recurrent and conflict-ridden predicaments are only exacerbated by myopic analyses, toxic ideologies, and expedient prescriptions. While philosophy is scarcely a panacea for human afflictions, its proper exercise illuminates our understanding of them, thereby suggesting better as opposed to worse ways forward.

Overall, the thrust of this collection can be viewed as a realization of John Dewey's forthright vision, expressed in 1917: "Philosophy recovers itself when it ceases to be a device for dealing with the problems of philosophers and becomes a method, cultivated by philosophers, for dealing with the problems of men." Indeed, these essays deal with problems of humanity writ large. They also constitute a compelling response to Mortimer Adler's clarion call in 1965, that philosophy "must cease to be an activity conducted by moles, each burrowing in its own hole, and become a public and cooperative enterprise." As these essays reveal, Marinoff has accomplished Adler's mission, transforming and returning philosophy to the agora, which in contemporary parlance amounts to the global village. That his popular books on philosophy for everyday life have sold millions of copies in dozens of languages has distracted some—perhaps too many—philosophers from exploring what he has written for a philosophical audience itself. This book helps remedy that distraction.


“Lou Marinoff is indeed one of a very few true Renaissance men and prophets of our age. His wit, societal
criticism, and sense of humor are on a par with the likes of Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, and Dave Chappelle,
while simultaneously channeling the spirits of the Buddha, Socrates, and Nietzsche.” —Professor Rick Repetti,
Kingsborough College CUNY, USA.

“Professor Lou Marinoff is one of the prominent pioneers of modern philosophical practice.  Marinoff critiques western culture's self-destruction and advocates the importance of philosophy, to individuals and societies, in the modern age. His writing is full of wit, wisdom, and humor.” — Professor Tianqun Pan, Nanjing University, China.

“Lou Marinoff’s books are not only well-known within the field of philosophical practice, but have also attracted citizens from across the social spectrum. This book is an unprecedented opportunity to access his hard-to-find writings. It will be a pleasant surprise both for Marinoff readers and for those who approach him for the first time.” — José Barrientos-Rastrojo, Professor at the University of Seville (Spain) and Director BOECIO (Center for Philosophical Practice with People at Social Risk).

“This unique book consisting of 16 essays characterizes the author as a brilliant writer-publicist, for whom philosophy is a way of life, a sphere of struggle and creativity. The book contains examples of specific cases of philosophical counseling, the author’s lectures given in different parts of the world, and critical and humanistic essays on various aspects of the social and spiritual life of modern society. Reading this book is a fascinating journey into the world of living thought, which helps to discover the ‘inner philosopher’ in every reader and gives faith in humanistic ideals. All this really allows us to consider the philosophical practice that the author actively promotes as the fourth historical phase of humanism (following the Renaissance, enlightenment, and secular phases).” —Professor Sergey Borisov, Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, South Ural State Humanitarian Pedagogical University, President of the Association of Philosophers-Practitioners “Ratio,” Russia.

“Lou Marinoff’s latest book is another germinal on grand precious collection of his intellectually exceptional contributions to philosophy seen as a fundamental aspect of our every day lives. This incisive volume delves into the details of the way in which philosophy, unlike psychiatry or the conventional helping professions, can effectively address our modern existential and identity conundrums—the way of philosophical counseling, of which Marinoff himself is the most widely recognized authority and standard-setter today.”—Professor Aleksandar Fatić, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade, Director of Training, Integrative Counseling, Institute for Practical Philosophy.

“Lou Marinoff draws on a panoramic understanding of philosophy and contemporary culture to present a persuasive argument for philosophical practice. This collection of mostly previously published papers gathers in one place foundational and critical texts underlying the growing movement of philosophical practice. Though an expert in philosophy, Marinoff is also a polymath, as the best philosophers have always been. The way he expertly weaves the threads of his varying subjects is a pleasure to read and scholars of every stripe will find arguments that give pause for thought. Marinoff is often controversial but ultimately affirms the great benefits that philosophy can provide for general well-being.” — Professor Andrew Fitz Gibbon, State University of New York, Cortland, USA.

“Lou Marinoff is a pioneer in his own right, a philosopher with transdisciplinary and trans cultural interests and perspectives, as well as has a unique, independent, striking, even provocative voice. The breadth of his knowledge is impressive and he says new things in interesting ways.” —Professor Michael Picard, Douglas College, Canada.

Author Information

Lou Marinoff is a Professor of Philosophy at The City College of New York, and founding President of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Preface; Introduction; Case Studies, 1995-2000; Essay #1. On the Emergence of Ethical Counseling; Essay #2. What Philosophical Counseling Can't Do; Essay #3. On Virtual Liberty: Offense, Harm and Censorship in Cyberspace; Essay #4. Employment Equity versus Equal Opportunity; Global Essays, 2001-2008; Essay #5. General Semantics and Philosophical Practice: Korzybski’s Contributions to the Global Village; Essay #6. Thus Spake Settembrini: a Meta-Dialogue on Philosophy and Psychiatry; Essay #7. The Matrix and Plato's Cave: Why the Sequels Failed; Essay #8. Ethics, Globalization and Hunger: An Ethicist’s Perspective; Maieutic Essays, 2009-2015; Essay #9. Synchronicity, Serpents, and 'Something-Elseness'; Essay #10. Humanities Therapy: Restoring Well-Being in an Age of Culturally Induced Illness; Essay #11. Biological Roots of Human Conflict, and its Resolution via Cultural Evolution; Essay #12. A Skeptical View of Sustainability; Humanistic Essays, 2016-2019; Essay #13. Atlas Shrugged, Akston Counseled: How Ayn Rand Reinvented Philosophical Practice; Essay #14. Dada as Philosophical Practice, and Vice Versa: Reflections on the Centenary of the Cabaret Voltaire; Essay #15. Doing Good and Living Well: Awakening the Inner Philosopher; Essay #16. Humanities Therapy as a Remedy for the Detriments of Technosociety; Bibliography; List of Tables and Figures; Index


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