Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 21, Number 21
Featured Reviews
 Memory and the Self by Mark Rowlands Memory and the Self
by Mark Rowlands
Tue, Apr 4th 2017
Child Insanity in England, 1845-1907 by Steven TaylorChild Insanity in England, 1845-1907
by Steven Taylor
Tue, Apr 4th 2017
The Mind-Gut Connection by Emeran MayerThe Mind-Gut Connection
by Emeran Mayer
Tue, Mar 28th 2017
Monsters, Demons and Psychopaths
Psychiatry and Horror Film
By Fernando Espi Forcen
Review by Sharon Packer, MD on Tue, May 23rd 2017.
Monsters, Demons and Psychopaths by Fernando Espi ForcenFernando Espi Forcen's monograph about Monsters, Demons and Psychopaths: Psychiatry and Horror Film is so complete that I fear that anything I say will be superfluous. Dr. Espi is a physician and a practicing psychiatrist who holds a Ph.D. in art history as well as an M.D. (although the book's back cover omits these very telling letters and lists his Ph.D. only). His art history doctorate focuses on medieval art, which itself offers an abundance of scary imagery that can complete with the best (or worst) of the silver screen. Dr. Forcen currently resides and practices psychiatry in the U.S, bu
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The Multiple Realization Book
By Thomas W. Polger and Lawrence A. Shapiro
Review by Tuomas K. Pernu on Tue, May 23rd 2017.
The Multiple Realization Book by Thomas W. Polger and Lawrence A. ShapiroWhat is the connection between the mental and the physical? How are the mind and the body related? Is the mental realm reducible to, or identical with the material realm? Or is the mental perhaps subsisting in its own realm of reality, distinct from the physical world? Or maybe the mind is wholly superfluous to the body, a sort of illusion, completely void of any causal influence? Questions like these have been haunting philosophers for centuries.   In the current philosophy of mind, for the past forty or fifty years, one view on these issues has been ruling over the others: nonreductiv
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In His Time and Ours
By Élisabeth Roudinesco
Review by Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Ph.D. on Tue, May 23rd 2017.
Freud by Élisabeth Roudinesco  This is a translation of a book published in Paris in 2014. The author defines her argument as follows: "...what Freud thought he was discovering was at bottom nothing but the product of a society, a familial environment, and a political situation whose signification he interpreted masterfully so as to ascribe it to the work of the unconscious"   (p.   4). The book fails to develop  this  interesting and radical view, and the author is probably less than equal to the task.       The author's aim is to present Freud's ideas and ac
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Universal Harvester
By John Darnielle
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, May 23rd 2017.
Universal Harvester by John DarnielleDarnielle's second novel is more challenging reading than his first, Wolf in White Van. Although there is a mystery, Universal Harvester is better classified as literary fiction. It has a story with central characters, but Darnielle seems more interested in formal aspects of novel writing, the pace of writing, the difference between the perspectives of the various main figures, the task of the reader in piecing together a story, and movies. At various points it seems that the narrator is telling a version of the story, and makes references to other versions, and this heightens the uncertainty
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The Construction of Human Kinds
By Ron Mallon
Review by Rachel Cooper, Ph.D. on Tue, May 16th 2017.
The Construction of Human Kinds by Ron MallonRon Mallon aims to provide an account whereby a human kind can be both socially constructed and real. His book has much to recommend it. It is careful, scholarly, clear and tackles important issues. The book is aimed at philosophers with a special interest in social construction. The text is clear enough to be understood by advanced undergraduates, but an acquaintance with the relevant literature is assumed. Only those who are already familiar with, say Ian Hacking's work on human kinds, or with some of the debates about the social construction of gender and race kinds, will be able to make mu
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Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy
By Patricia Coughlin
Review by Sebastian Petzolt, DPhil on Tue, May 16th 2017.
 Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy by Patricia CoughlinWith her Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy (MEDP), Patricia Coughlin presents an ambitious attempt both to illustrate and justify the practice of short-term dynamic therapy. Integrating research and technique, the volume instructs the reader in a number of clinical skills and presents the empirical evidence that supports their efficacy. As such, MEDP is a comprehensive guide to short-term dynamic therapy, teaching its readers both how and why it works. That said, the book addresses few of the theoretical questions it raises. Throughout MEDP, Coughlin references Intensive Short
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Art and Politics
Between Purity and Propaganda
By Joes Segal
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, May 16th 2017.
Art and Politics by Joes SegalSegal's book has seven largely independent essays exploring the role of art in politics, starting with Europe in the First World War, then covering Diego Rivera in Mexico, the Third Reich, the Cold War, the People's Republic of China, the work of Kara Walker, and monuments in the former Soviet Bloc. It's a short work, with 137 pages of text and 26 of notes and bibliography. Segal is largely enthusiastic about the political use of art and he rejects the common assumption that political art is not pure art. But his work is much more historical than philosophical, so he spends little space worryi
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The Dollmaker
By Mary Burton
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, May 16th 2017.
The Dollmaker by Mary BurtonA detective procedural with a psychopath who prepares his victims as dolls.  The murder rate mounts quickly as both men and woman are killed, bit it's the women who are captured with the hope that the killer can win them over to be his possessions. It's small town suburban America in Virginia. Agent Dakota Sharp is the detective, and his estranged wife is Tessa McGowan, a forensic pathologist. Sharp had been a sharp shooter in Iraq when his sister had died of a drug overdose 12 years ago, and he joined the police to solve murders. He and McGowan have a powerful chemistry between then, but
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Sex Addiction as Affect Dysregulation
A Neurobiologically Informed Holistic Treatment
By Alexandra Katehakis
Review by Anna Westin on Tue, May 9th 2017.
Sex Addiction as Affect Dysregulation  by Alexandra KatehakisWith insight that can only be developed from years of professional experience and detailed research, counselor and clinical director Alexandra Katehakis provides a comprehensive account of sex addiction from a neurobiological perspective. Dr. Patrick Caines hails the book as a 'touchstone…for understanding addiction', and the detail and depth with which it provides an overview of the field leaves me in no doubt that he is correct.  In Sex Addiction as Affect Dysregulation, Katehakis suggests that sex addiction needs to be understood in detail as an addiction that can be engaged w
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Learning from Baby P
The politics of blame, fear and denial
By Jessica Kingsley
Review by Wendy C. Hamblet, Ph.D. on Tue, May 9th 2017.
Learning from Baby P by Jessica KingsleyLearning from Baby P is Sharon Shoesmith's detailed and comprehensive account of the media-driven witch-hunt that followed the 2007 rape and murder of a 17 month old child, Peter Connelly or "Baby P," at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and her brother. Media and politicians stirred up a frenzy of public hostility that blamed care professionals for the tragedy, letting loose a watercourse of vengeance that culminated in Shoesmith's termination as Haringey Council's Director of Education and Children's Social Care Services. The whole affair had far-reaching effects on social care services
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Speech Matters
On Lying, Morality, and the Law
By Seana Valentine Shiffrin
Review by Bob Lane on Tue, May 9th 2017.
Speech Matters by Seana Valentine ShiffrinLong before I studied philosophy my father taught me a profound lesson about speech. He was a proponent of the old observation that one should "say what you mean and mean what you say". One day as he left for work he asked me, a boy of six, to pick up some trash from the back yard. "I will, Daddy!" said I with enthusiasm. Upon returning that evening he asked if I had completed my chore. Having completely forgotten about my promise, I nevertheless responded "Oh, yes, Daddy!" not even considering that he would have seen the back yard when he drove his pickup into the back. "Good boy," he said.
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Always Too Much And Never Enough
By Jasmine Singer
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, May 9th 2017.
Always Too Much And Never Enough by Jasmine SingerJessica Singer grew up in the 1980s in New Jersey. She had issues with food fairly early on and they got worse. She got bigger and became very self-conscious about her body. Puberty started early for her and that also caused problems for her. She had difficult relationships with men. She was unhappy. She went through a lot of bad experiences. Eventually, she became a vegan and sometime after that she started eating more healthily. She also realized that she was a lesbian and she found a stable long term relationship. She and her partner have created a non-profit organization to promote animal
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This Close to Happy
A Reckoning with Depression
By Daphne Merkin
Review by Jennifer Radden, Ph.D. on Tue, May 2nd 2017.
This Close to Happy by Daphne MerkinIn her memoir This Close to Happy, Daphne Merkin further develops on her several earlier essays describing the experience of her illness: the depression, the hospitalizations, the suicidal thoughts, and lasting, tearful moods of unhappiness and apathy. For those familiar with this earlier writing, the book was slow in coming and anxiously awaited, its long delay suggestive of further trouble, perhaps another painful interruption to Merkin's difficult life. That wait raised the stakes: this had to be good. And it is, an absorbing, candid, and wry account, taking us from Merkin's privileged if
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The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience
Revised Edition
By Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch
Review by Lachlan Douglas Walmsley on Tue, May 2nd 2017.
The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience by Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch Cognitive-neuroscience explains agential behaviour in terms of information processing realised physically in biological mechanisms. As scientifically rigorous as these explanations may be, they do little to elucidate our every-day conscious experience as agents. In 1991, Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch (VTR), published The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (Varela, Thompson, & Rosch, 1991). There, the perception scientist (Varela), philosopher (Thompson), and psychologist (Rosch) proposed to bridge this gap between our science and experience of the mi
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The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece
By Josiah Ober
Review by Lars Aagaard-Mogensen and Wassard Elea on Tue, May 2nd 2017.
The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece by Josiah OberIn 1901 a C.A. Andrews could write that The Middle Ages had fixed institutions, blind faith, and acceptance of authority that "is characteristic of a period in which there existed no true idea of human progress". ("Introduction", Two Classic Utopias, Dover reprint, NY 2003.) Josiah Ober dismissively states that "an expanding common culture cannot at once be an adequate cause and a primary effect of Hellenic greatness", (p. 14), to explain the world of the Greek poleis we need to move forward in time to the contemporary world of self-consciously knowledge-based enterprises. Apart from a vague
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