Jules Evans

Honorary Research Fellow, Queen Mary University of London

Jules Evans is an honorary research fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author of Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations (2013), The Art of Losing Control: A Philosopher’s Search for Ecstatic Experience (2017) and Holiday From the Self: An Accidental Ayahuasca Adventure (2019). He is co-editor of Breaking Open: Finding a Way Through Spiritual Emergency (2020).

Written by Jules Evans

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Is philosophy therapy, or is it simply a search for truth?

Jules Evans

A lot of great philosophers thought of philosophy as therapeutic and conducive to flourishing or an improved life, from Socrates (‘I teach my students how to take care of their souls’) to Epicurus, Diogenes, the Stoics, Aristotle, Plato, Boethius, various medieval mystics, Erasmus, Descartes, Shaftesbury, Kant, Hume, Voltaire, Mill, Bentham, Russell (The Conquest of Happiness), Wittgenstein....they all thought philosophizing made life better. You could make a case that even Nietzsche thought his philosophy, if embraced, would improve a person’s life. Not to mention all the political philosophers who thought their philosophy would improve the body politic - Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, H...

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Bad thoughts can’t make you sick, that’s just magical thinking

Jules Evans

Angela’s wrong, there is *lots* of evidence that bad thoughts and negative emotions affect the body, and vice versa. There is the evidence from placebo and nocebo effects, from hypnosis, from meditation and relaxation techniques, from talking therapies like CBT, all of these affect not just the mind but also the autonomic nervous system - including the immune system and the inflammatory system. Its widely accepted - Angela seems to be making a polemical argument similar to her last book on stress (which argued stress is a made-up phenomenon). Is she arguing there’s absolutely no connection between mind and body, that allillness is entirely physical?

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