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Category: Logic-Based Consultation
Posts about different aspects of the philosophical consultation and philosophical counseling modality (method) known as Logic-Based Consultation or Logic-Based Therapy. This is the method I typically use when doing philosophical consulting, and is standard method of the National Philosophical Counseling Association.
Logic-Based Consultation is a method or framework for individual philosophical consultation. I like to think of it as a unique approach to problem-solving for many of life’s ordinary, but quite real, difficulties, struggles, and concerns. Rather than start by brainstorming swaths of ideas which may or may not work, philosophical consultation begins by constructing an overall picture of the problem, and then by zooming in on the little structural details, the nuts and bolts of the problem, in order to identify precisely the mechanisms of thought/belief/emotion/behavior which may be producing the problem. This is not a matter of digging into the past or speculating about subconscious drives. Instead it’s a close, logical examination of the patterns of practical reasoning that are involved with the problem. The reasoning may be cognitive, emotional, behavioral, or some combination thereof.
(The above is adapted from the “Home/About” page on this site.)
(Here is a post that gives a short general description of the LBC process.)
The theory of
Logic-Based Consultation (LBC) and Logic-Based Therapy (LBT) makes a
distinction between emotional reasoning, behavioral reasoning, and
cognitive reasoning. The decisive factor in separating these three is
But before going any
farther, I just want to make clear that, as a client,
(1) You don’t need to know this stuff in order to meet with a philosophical consultant, and (2) You probably won’t need to learn it as part of an LBC process.
so, it might be interesting to read about, and it
might help clarify how and why individual philosophic consultation
works. So without further ado . . .
Cognitive reasoning is what you probably think of when you think of reasoning. It’s also what we tend to focus on in the study of logic. What happens in cognitive reasoning is that, on the basis of one or more beliefs, called “premises,” you infer another belief, called the “conclusion.” And this inferring of a conclusion from one or more premises is called, somewhat unfortunately, an “argument.” When the conclusion is a belief – or something else highly cognitive such as a thought, opinion, assertion, etc. – then the reasoning is cognitive.
The phrase ‘cognitive reasoning’ is really shorthand for reasoning that’s cognitive only.
In truth, all three types are cognitive. Emotional and behavioral reasoning have cognitive components as well as emotional or behavioral components (respectively). The phrase ‘cognitive reasoning’ is really shorthand for reasoning that’s cognitive only.
reasoning has been defined as “reasoning that can originate
or sustain an emotion.” 
Its premises are
cognitive. For example, the belief: “I failed that exam.” (The
premises might also contain emotional or behavioral components, but
they don’t need to.)
however, will be both cognitive and emotional. For example, the
conclusion may include (a) the belief “I am a failure,” (b) a
strong negative “rating” of oneself, and (c) the psycho-physical
affect of anger.
posts will explore emotions and emotional reasoning in more detail.)
reasoning might be defined analogously as “reasoning that
can originate or sustain a behavior.” It has also, perhaps more
informatively, been defined as reasoning “that prescribes behavior
and is linked to action.” 
As with emotional
reasoning, behavioral reasoning’s premises are cognitive. (Again
like emotional reasoning, the premises might also contain emotional
or behavioral components, but they don’t need to.) For example, the
belief that “I am going to fail this exam.”
The conclusion is
both cognitive and behavioral, containing (a) a belief that
prescribes some course of action, and (b) an impulse or motivation
toward taking that action. For example, the behavioral prescription
“I shouldn’t both to study,” along with an impulse or
motivation not to study.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the prescribed action will in fact be taken.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the prescribed action will in fact be taken. Other behavioral prescriptions and impulses/motivations may override it. The same student might also believe that if she doesn’t study, she will forever worry that maybe she would have passed the exam after all, and this may lead her to study despite the prescription and impulse not to.
(Other posts will
explore behavioral reasoning in more detail.)
“I failed that exam.” So, “I am a failure” + [negative rating of oneself] + [mental-physical experience of anger]
“I am going to fail this exam.” So, “I shouldn’t both to study for it” + [impulse/motivation not to study]
“Socrates is a
man.” So, “Socrates is mortal.” (I know, this is a silly
example. But it’s a silly classic.)
By the way . . .
All the examples in this post have “hidden” or “suppressed” premises. I’ll discuss that important topic in other posts.
 Elliot Cohen, Logic-Based Therapy and Everyday Emotions, p. 4.
 Elliot Cohen, Logic-Based Therapy and Everyday Emotions, p. 83.
Logic-Based Consultation (LBC) typically requires at least two, but not more than six, meetings. It depends on the complexity of your life issue, and perhaps on other factors such as how thoroughly you wish to explore it, how many “fallacies” we discover, how interested you are in exploring new perspectives, et cetera.
can think of the LBC process as having six steps:
In Step 1, we work on identifying the “logical structure” of the patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting that are involved in your concern. First, I need to gather information, so we have a good conversation about the larger picture and the relevant small details. Our first one or two meetings will likely be dedicated to this. After those meetings, I attempt to work out a logical analysis of the patterns. I also begin the work of Steps 2 through 6.
If I was able to learn enough from our first meeting, then at our second meeting, I can present you with my findings, to see if it seems right to you. If this account of your reasoning pattern is right, you’ll recognize it. (These are not “repressed” things, only “suppressed,” or unnoticed and unexamined.) If it’s not right, we’ll fix it. This is all still Step 1.
that, we move to Step 2, which is to locate any logical errors in
these patterns. I look for such errors in advance, between sessions,
so when we meet it’s more a matter of pointing out to you where
Step 3 is to “refute” these errors. This really means two things. One is just seeing that the errors are errors. The other is to really understand how and why they are errors. This part can be quite interesting (in a good way).
Step 4, which is fairly simple, involves identifying a “guiding virtue” or “guiding excellence” which corresponds to each error we found and refuted in Steps 2 and 3. I usually explain what this means once we get to Step 4.
In Step 5 we find a philosophical perspective you can use to replace the error. It’s important that this perspective resonates with you. These perspectives can be ideas taken from specific philosophers, or they can be ideas we invent.
6 is action-planning and taking action. This can mean different
things depending on what your goals and concerns are. Maybe it’s
some course of action, or change in behavior, that you want to
implement in your life. Maybe it’s a philosophical exercise to
integrate your new perspective into how you think and feel. It
depends on your specific goals.
These steps aren’t necessarily carried out in strict sequence. Often we’ll cycle back through some of them, especially if your issue is complex, or if we need to revise something.
If you’d like to know more, have any comments or suggestions, or wish to arrange a session, please get in touch by phone (text, call) or email.