Paper presentation: Modal Logic as a Possible Antidote for Natural Ambiguity in Philosophical Counseling

Abstract: In this presentation I am willing to explore one of the challenges that occur in the field of philosophical practice (and beyond) – the ambiguity of the language as an unavoidable consequence of practicing the language and I wishfully intend to propound a solution – propositional modal logic and its instruments, as an alternative logical apparatus. Philosophical counselors often encounter different cases of faulty beliefs or convictions. What does a counselor do if he discovers that one of his clients feels or believes that the entire world revolves around himself? Some philosophical counselors might employ Logic-Based Therapy. Using this method, the counselor would translate that belief in a practical syllogism, with the purpose of understanding the client’s reasoning and identifying the error behind it. However, practical syllogism is a part of classical logic, which means that it has its limits. One of the limits is the lack of modalities (‘possible’, ‘necessary’, ‘impossible’ ). By utilizing propositional modal logic, which provides a richer set of tools, the counselor could gain a better understanding of the clients’ beliefs and convictions. With this enhanced understanding, a philosophical counselor could reduce the inevitable ambiguity of natural language. Thus, a problem such as egocentrism would be better handled if the counselor had propositional modal logic as an instrument of analysis.

Lidia Istrate, graduated in Applied Ethics (MA) from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest. She is currently a PhD student of philosophy and a teaching assistant at the University of Bucharest. Her research focuses on philosophical counseling and its conceptual and methodological foundations. Her thesis consists of a theoretical proposal for a system of Alternative Instances of Transcendental Virtues in the Logic-Based Therapy Approach of Philosophical Counseling.