Indeed, it is possible to state that all philosophical work is a practice, since it is always an exercise of the mind. Nevertheless, the distinction we are introducing tries to distinguish a certain idea of philosophy, where it is not so much the knowledge of the authors, the schools of thought and the tradition that interests us, but rather the activity of thinking as such. Between Socrates and Aristotle was dug an important gap. Philosophy as dialogue became rapidly a lecturing activity, where a teacher gives his students the knowledge they need to assimilate, a form of teaching that is now rather hegemonic in the academy.
By philosophical practice we mean an exercise that is not reserved to an intellectual elite, but is neither a banalization of philosophical culture. The issue is to invite everyone to work through the various constraints of philosophizing. Questioning, arguing, problematizing, conceptualizing, analyzing … So many mental gestures necessary for this martial art of thought. That implies to question and to understand the world, others and oneself, to determine at best our actions, for the simple pleasure of thinking.
Philosophical consultation is about the care of the self, about the “know thyself”, about searching for a “good life”, a quest for wisdom, becoming conscious of oneself and the world. It is not a psychological approach, where one tells his life and his pains, nor a coaching where one seeks to solve the problems of everyday life, but a real philosophical work, where we pose problems, where we produce hypotheses, where we conceptualize the discourse, and we engage in a critique. Certainly, a subject is summoned, but for a mise en abyme, and not simply to express oneself or for an exchange of opinions. The dialogue then becomes the occasion of a close interrogation, the place for a demanding thought.
Philosophy with children
Basically, nothing differentiates philosophy with children from philosophy with adults. But the simple fact of attempting the exercise of philosophy with children from an early age on, invites us to rethink what constitutes a philosophical gesture, establishing the very conditions of possibility of philosophizing. That is to say, endeavoring to closely define what constitutes the substance of this practice, once extracted from its coating of formalism and erudition.