Jongju Kim – Depression and the Neo-Confucian Ethics

THE LETTER 34 (Summer 2005) pages 91-107

…elle est comme une montagne couverte d’arbres. Settlement, des habitants des environs commencent a couper les arbres. Le bienfait de la nuit est d’apporter un nouveau foisonnement de surgeons, mais au matin, les troupeaux viennent, qui les devorent, et finalement, la montagne est une surface chauve, sur laquelle rien ne pousse.

A philosophical disease My heading here is the title of the book by Carl Elliott, an associate professor at the Center for Bioethics in University of Minnesota. He said that many of its central ideas came from Wittgenstein’s later work, Philosophical Investigations. Wittgenstein wrote: ‘A philosopher’s treatment of a question is like the treatment of an illness.’ He saw the questions that troubled many philosophers as symptoms of philosophical confusion,which he likened to a kind of spiritual illness.

Western philosophers liken philosophical problems to a kind of spiritual illness, and they think that the sicknesses caused by philosophical problems are cured only through a changed mode of life, not for example by the medication of the subject with a drug, such as Prozac or other antidepressants. To see spiritual illness as falling within the domain of psychiatry is a distortion that reduces existential problems to configurations of brain chemistry. Therefore, using drugs to alleviate existential angst would be a mistake or misguiding effort. …

 

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