• Wallows
    For those interested, the founder of REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy), Albert Ellis, was heavily indebted to the writings of Epictetus as a foundation for his body of knowledge that is REBT, and then eventually Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is an offshoot of REBT.

    One of the main assumptions of CBT is that we all have cognitive distortions that influence our thinking and how we feel. The list of the most common cognitive distortions follows:

    • All-or-Nothing Thinking / Polarized Thinking. ...
    • Overgeneralization. ...
    • Mental Filter. ...
    • Disqualifying the Positive. ...
    • Jumping to Conclusions – Mind Reading. ...
    • Jumping to Conclusions – Fortune Telling. ...
    • Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization. ...
    • Emotional Reasoning.

    Now, I'm interested in what can be said about CBT in regards to philosophy. It seems to point towards the Aristotelian conception of mankind being rational beings in the world. And, since Stoicism has its roots in Aristotelianism, then does this imply that if one wants to get a better understanding of the techniques and philosophical conception of CBT and REBT, that they should read about Stoicism, and then Aristotelianism?

    However, even going further back, I can see some similarities with Platonism. In that, why do we live in a mad world? Because we aren't concerned with 'the good'.

    Part of this post is a form of complaint against psychology for not promoting that good that Plato describes as essential to a meaningful life. However, that would be itself an overgeneralization of sorts due to the fact that there exist logocentric therapies like logotherapy.


    I'm trying to synthesize a conceptual schema based on my superficial familiarity with CBT and logotherapy. I guess I'm unhappy that CBT lacks the intuitive meaningfulness of logotherapy, and can be enhanced by it to a large degree.
  • Wallows
    I guess another way of asking the above, is that if the good is to be rational, according to Aristotle, along with a disinterested concern with the good itself, according to Plato, then why is there so much confusion about what a person should do?
  • Dfpolis
    There is confusion because ethics is not about convincing people what to do. It is about deciding what is the right thing to do. Plato believed that if a person knew the good, that person would invariably do good. There is no evidence that this is so.

    Every person's fundamental option is between seeking the good and and being free from the constraint of good and evil. Aquinas speaks of it as a commitment to God. To be committed to God, one does not need to know that it is God that one is committed to. This distinction is made in the judgement story of Matthew 25, where many of those judged did not know who they "served." (I'm not making a faith claim, but citing a historical example of the distinction.)

    A second problem is the contemporary belief in Hume's, or in G. E. Moore's, "Naturalistic Fallacy." Hume believed that one could not conclude what "ought" to be from what "is." Moore believed that "good" could not be defined in terms of what is. This effectively disconnects morality from cognition. Since we can only know what is, we can't know what is good.

    A third problem is the prevalence of irrational ethical theories. I am thinking specifically of various forms of utilitarianism and consequentialism. Utilitarians insist on optimizing some utility function, assuming without warrant that it is meaningful to speak of optimizing something that cannot be measured, or in many cases, even rank-ordered. Consequentialists want to judge moral decisions on the basis of consequences that, in many cases, are unknowable at decision time.

    Our concern for the good need not be "disinterested." For one who has chosen the fundamental option of seeking the good, seeking it is the essential to self-realization.
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