Philosophical Consulting


Mentoring is intended for those either wishing to prepare for a degree in philosophy (or in any field requiring critical thinking especially) at an accredited institution of higher learning or wishing help if already enrolled in one.  Sessions are usually conducted by Dr. Scott.  Areas not within his expertise will be taken by other specialists, through referral.


Institutional clients of Philosophical Consulting or of Dr. Scott have included (in alphabetical order):

  • Ballet Hispanico (New York City)
  • Brookdale Center on Aging/The National Elder Hostel (New York City)
  • Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company (New Jersey)
  • Harlem School of the Arts (New York City)
  • Montclair Board of Education (Montclair, NJ)
  • The New School University (New York City)
  • New York University (New York City)
  • University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ONT)


Consulting pertains typically to group situations, for example, a seminar at a corporation on business ethics or a workshop at a high school on applied ethics. Sample questions that supplement at least some of those mentioned above and that might be addressed, depending on the needs or level of the group, are:

  • What is the difference between ethics, legality, and morality?
  • Can ethics result in more profits? How far must businesses go to be ethical?
  • What should standards be in international dealing?
  • What precisely is sexual discrimination or the right to privacy?
  • Is force or violence really ever ethical? If so, precisely when and to what extent?
  • Is abortion ever justifiable?
  • What is a human being? A person? How does the answer affect one's view of the legitimacy of abortion


Counseling pertains typically to individuals. It may be for the resolution of mental conflict or of confusion, whether or not it is leading to emotional difficulties, or "merely" for the enrichment of one's view of existence. Although philosophical counseling is not appropriate for severe psychiatric disorders (which usually require medical intervention), it may well be a substitute for psychological counseling if the cause of any relevant issue is related to one's beliefs, values or general understanding of existence.  Hence, someone ready actually to commit suicide should contact a medical practitioner without hesitation; someone who is merely contemplating the conceptual issues pertaining to suicide, such as whether it is ever justified, is a potential candidate for philosophical discussion and counseling.
Sample questions that are often brought up by clients or that may require discussion because of derivative matters are:

  • Does God exist? If not, how does one find meaning in life?
  • Are there solutions to the debate between Creationism and Big Bang Theory? How could the universe come from absolute nothingness? Is this any better than, say, Hinduism or magic?
  • Could reincarnation really occur? Why or why not?
  • What is ethics?
  • Why do good people suffer tragedies? What, if anything, can be fruitfully done afterwards?
  • What does happiness precisely mean?
  • Is suicide ever justified? If so, under what conditions?
  • How does one settle the conflicting claims of religion, science, and philosophy?  Is, e.g., religion simply complementary to science and philosophy when it comes to the question of God?
  • What precisely is promiscuity and what exactly, if anything, is wrong with it?
  • How does one acquire new romantic ideals?
  • Should monogamy be the only form of marriage? Why or why not?
  • Is it always wrong to have (secretive) extra-marital affairs? What about open marriages?
  • Is homosexuality or bisexuality wrong or unnatural (even if now legal)?  If so, for what reason(s)? If not, what might or might not still follow?
  • What is art or good art or culture? How important are they in one's life? For example, how important are looks, or fitness, or grace (in the traditional sense aligned to dignity) to a hard-working, "successful" man

Counseling sessions -- no matter what the topic -- are absolutely confidential.



(links are provided in alphabetical order for information only - no recommendation of any sort is necessarily implied)

American Philosophical Practitioners Association

Canadian Society for Philosophical Practice

Guide to Philosophy on the Internet

The Journal of the Society for Philosophy in Practice

Society for Philosophical Praxis, Counselling and Spiritual Healing

You might also find the following article helpful, or at least slightly amusing:
" I Bill, Therefore I Am..." (New York Times, March 8, 1998, Joe Sharkey)
(this can only be accessed via the NYT's Web page)

For even greater comic relief, try:
" The Philosopher is in" (New Yorker, May 1998, Lawrence Douglas & Alexander George)