Phronesis Institute
 Philosophy as a Way of Life for Addiction Recovery 

About Us


The Phronesis Institute collaborates with philosophers, addiction researchers, addiction treatment professionals, and psychologists in the development of the theory and practice of Philosophy as a Way of Life for Addiction Recovery.

We are informed by the premise that "philosophy as a way of life is a compelling and legitimate recovery pathway for individuals in addiction recovery, as one of many pathways" (Du Plessis, 2022, 160). 'Philosophy as a way of life' is an idea and practice that can be traced back to ancient Greece where “philosophy was a mode of existing-in-the-world, which had to be practiced at each instant, and the goal of which was to transform the whole of the individual’s life” and “a method of spiritual progress which demanded a radical conversion and transformation of the individual’s way of being” (Hadot, Davidson & Chase, 1995, 265). Simply put, the notion of 'philosophy as a way of life' is a view that emphasizes philosophy's practical and transformative features - an an art of living and a life guided by reason (ex ducts rations vivre). 

More recently philosophers like Pierre Hadot, Michel Foucault and Elliot Cohen have contributed to a resurgence of interest in the Hellenistic philosophies as arts of living and of 'philosophy as a way of life' as a transformational practice. Our articulation of 'Philosophy as a Way of Life for Addiction Recovery' is informed by Friedrich Nietzsche’s conceptualization of philosophy 'as therapy' (Hutter, 2006; Ure, 2008), Pierre Hadot's (2017) notion of philosophy as 'spiritual exercises' and techniques self-transformation (askesis), and Elliot Cohen's (2003) application of uplifting philosophies and guiding virtues as a rational framework for confronting problems of living.  

Du Plessis, G. (2022). Philosophy as a Way of Life for Addiction Recovery: A Logic-based Therapy Case Study. International Journal of Applied Philosophy. 35(2), 159-170.
Cohen, E. (2003). What Would Aristotle Do?: Self-Control Through the Power of Reason. Prometheus Books.
Hadot, P., Davidson, A. I., & Chase, M. (2017). Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Blackwell Publishing.
Hutter, H. (2006). Shaping the Future: Nietzsche's New Regime of the Soul and Its Ascetic Practices. Lexington Books.
Ure, M. (2008). Nietzsche's Therapy: Self-Cultivation in the Middle Works. Lexington Books.

To read more about 'Philosophy as a Way for Life for Addiction Recovery' purchase this article from the International Journal of Applied Philosophy or download a pre-print of the article.



The idea of self-emancipation through knowledge, which was the basic idea of the Enlightenment, is in itself a powerful enemy of fanaticism; for it makes us try hard to detach ourselves or even to dissociate ourselves from our own ideas (in order to look at them critically) instead of identifying ourselves with them. And the recognition of the sometimes overwhelming historical power of ideas should teach us how important it is to free ourselves from the overpowering influence of false or wrong ideas. In the interests of the quest for truth and of our liberation from errors we have to train ourselves to view our own favourite ideas just as critically as those we oppose.”
                                                                                                                                                                     ― Karl R. Popper