Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 23, Number 26
Featured Reviews
Understanding Mental Disorders by Daniel LaFleur, Christopher Mole and Holly OnclinUnderstanding Mental Disorders
by Daniel LaFleur, Christopher Mole and Holly Onclin
Tue, Jun 4th 2019
The Way We Eat Now by Bee WilsonThe Way We Eat Now
by Bee Wilson
Tue, Jun 4th 2019
Categories We Live By by ÁstaCategories We Live By
by Ásta
Tue, Jun 4th 2019
The Dark Side of Shame and Moral Life
By Krista K. Thomason
Review by Max F. Kramer on Tue, Jun 25th 2019.
Naked by Krista K. ThomasonShame was an important emotion in Christian religious morality, where it played the epistemic role of signaling when one had transgressed by sinning. In contemporary moral philosophy, shame no longer has the same shine to it and has lost out to guilt as the self-referring negative emotion of choice. In Naked, Krista K. Thomason attempts to reclaim shame’s status as a moral emotion, with potentially far-reaching consequences for philosophical accounts of moral emotions in general. The monograph is divided into an introduction, five chapters, and a conclusion, and the discussion is i
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Medical Reasoning
The Nature and Use of Medical Knowledge
By Erwin B. Montgomery
Review by Max Hughes on Tue, Jun 25th 2019.
Medical Reasoning by Erwin B. MontgomeryThis rather unusual book is essentially an introduction to the Philosophy of Medicine. More specifically, it is an account of Medical Epistemology. Its aim is to elucidate the philosophical underpinnings of both clinical reasoning and biomedical research. The author is a philosopher in addition to being an eminent neurologist, and the book reflects both elements of the author's background. Right from the beginning, the author makes no attempt to hide the fact that he considers much of medical reasoning to be based on shaky logical foundations. He illustrates the problem by showing how many co
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Sex in Antiquity
Exploring Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World
By Mark Masterson, Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz, James Robson (Editors)
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 25th 2019.
Sex in Antiquity by Mark Masterson, Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz, James Robson (Editors)Published in 2014, with 30 academic papers, and at 588 pages, Sex in Antiquity is a major collection of new ideas by respected scholars. It's striking that it has only garnered 2 reviews so far in academic journals. It doesn't even have any reviews on Amazon!  The reviews it has had have been very positive. I am not an expert in history and so my main interest in the book is philosophical. History and philosophy are often interconnected, and at least since Foucault's work on sexuality, they are especially close in the examination of sexuality. This volume is striking in its embr
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The Quiet Room
A Journey out of the Torment of Madness
By Lori Schiller
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 25th 2019.
The Quiet Room by Lori SchillerI first read The Quiet Room soon after it was published in 1994, now 25 years ago. It has been released as an audiobook in 2018, performed by Brittany Pressley, Gregory Abbey and Cheryl Smith. Listening to it now, it is notably a product of its time and place, and being more familiar with both the places it talks about and the problems it discusses, I found it a curious experience to go through the story again. Schiller is from a wealthy family who when she was a child moved to the exclusive suburb in Scarsdale in Westchester, New York an easy commute to Manhattan. She went to
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Bowen Theory's Secrets
Revealing the Hidden Life of Families
By Michael E. Kerr
Review by Roy Sugarman, PhD on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
Bowen Theory's Secrets by Michael E. KerrMost of us trained in the late 70's and early 80's would have encountered General Systems Theory and the Family Therapy movement that emerged, partly as a reflex response to the individual focus on pathology begun by Freud. Some, like myself, wrote critiques in our Master's theses of the idea of Freudian biological determinism from the family therapy perspective, or even from the Feminist view in my case. Family therapy saw the patient as a presenting patient, presenting the family or systemic pathology to the public eye, as an identified patient rather than a person with purely intrapsychic i
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Never Enough
The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction
By Judith Grisel
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
Never Enough by Judith GriselJudy Grisel is a researcher in neuroscience at Fuhrman University, South Carolina. Her specialty is in addiction. She also tells her own story of her relationship with drugs, which she used heavily in her youth and then completely stopped using. She tells us a little about her family but not a lot. She gives some comments on her experiences with different drugs but does not say much about how she came to take them or what happened to her when she did. So this is a long way from being a memoir, and Grisel tends to be terse about most of her topics. Never Enough is a fairly short book and m
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A Novel
By Robin Molineux
Review by Bob Lane on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
Faces by Robin MolineuxThere are many reasons to read a novel: enjoyment, character development, instruction, learning something new, plot line, images, ideas, stretching the imagination, and, of course, enjoyment. "Faces" does a good job of offering all of these reasons. The characters are interesting, the plot line is coherent over time, the ideas are interesting, the writing is clear and concise, powerful at times; and it is an enjoyable read. "When Dominic was five, his home exploded." That event, so quietly reported, brings about the movement of Dominic and his brother Emmett from Manchester in the UK to Canada
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Vacuum in the Dark
By Jen Beagin
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
Vacuum in the Dark by Jen BeaginVacuum in the Dark is the new novel by Jen Beagin, and is a sequel to her acclaimed Pretend I'm Dead published in 2018. The lead character is Mona, in her mid-twenties. Mona cleans people's houses and that lets her see their lives and learn their secrets. This novel does not explicitly rely on its predecessor, and we learn about Mona's past life as the story proceeds. It's an episodic novel that doesn't have a strong narrative arc. Mona is funny but she also has a troubled history, and she has an unconventional life. She is also unhappy, even suicidal, but she leads a frantic li
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Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind
By Joshua May
Review by Michael Klenk on Tue, Jun 11th 2019.
Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind by Joshua MayTimes have been challenging for optimists about reasonable, altruistic, and moral human conduct. Events and developments in the public sphere, think of fake news and populism, suggest to many that reason and morality are decaying. Worse still, empirical investigations of moral judgment and behaviour seem to support such pessimism about morality (or sober realism, depending on your view). Several lines of research in psychology and sociology have been taken up by philosophers to suggest that moral judgment is grounded in emotions, not reason, or incapable of being justified in the first place.
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By Lee McIntyre
Review by Tuomas Manninen on Tue, Jun 11th 2019.
Post-Truth by Lee McIntyreLee McIntyre's Post-Truth is a timely analysis of the status quo of contemporary political discourse which has obviously become increasingly unfettered from commitment to truth.  McIntyre acknowledges President Donald Trump as a poster child for post-truth, what with him having made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims during his first 827 days as a President (Kessler, Rizzo, and Kelly 2019).  However, McIntyre's analysis shows how Trump is not a cause for this, but an effect of trends that have been laid out in decades before.  McIntyre uses 'post-truth' "to in
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US of AA
How the Twelve Steps Hijacked the Science of Alcoholism
By Joe Miller
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 11th 2019.
US of AA by Joe MillerThe thesis of US of AA is that Alcoholic Anonymous is not based on credible scientific theories and it does not provide the only or even the best treatment for alcoholism. It gained its dominance in the US not through scientific and medical evidence but through chance and politics. The forces that keep it in its predominant position are also political and social rather than scientific. The subtitle of the book uses the emotive word "hijacked" which is also misleading in implying that there was a plan to carry all this out. Indeed, it is reminiscent of those who say that in addiction,
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Nietzsche and Psychotherapy
By Manu Bazzano
Review by Finn Janning on Tue, Jun 11th 2019.
Nietzsche and Psychotherapy by Manu BazzanoIt looks like the 21st century will become one of philosophical therapy. Philosophy has moved out of the ivory tower and back into the public sphere from where it began. At times, this trend enhances the public debate and, at others, only populates philosophy to make it more marketable. The latter is often disguised self-help literature. Another, more important reason for the awakening of philosophy is that many of today's illness cannot be graphed using psychology. Stress, burnout, borderline, and depression can no longer be regarded as individual diagnoses. Rather, they are symptoms of a s
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Why We Disagree About Human Nature
By Elizabeth Hannon & Tim Lewens (Editors)
Review by R.A. Goodrich, Ph.D. on Tue, Jun 4th 2019.
Why We Disagree About Human Nature by Elizabeth Hannon & Tim Lewens (Editors)Why We Disagree about Human Nature is a tightly interwoven ten-chapter anthology of debates over the nature of and rationale for concepts of human nature drawing upon the fields of philosophy and psychology, biology and anthropology. Pervading the volume as an intellectual springboard for the vast majority of its contributors are two contrasting approaches. These seminal approaches are associated with the earlier work of the philosophers David Hull, notably his 1986 "modern classic 'On Human Nature'" (1) and Edouard Machery, particularly his 2008 "nomological" account "A Plea for Human Na
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Understanding Mental Disorders
A Philosophical Approach to the Medicine of the Mind
By Daniel LaFleur, Christopher Mole and Holly Onclin
Review by Jennifer Radden on Tue, Jun 4th 2019.
Understanding Mental Disorders by Daniel LaFleur, Christopher Mole and Holly OnclinTo use words like "accessible" or "readable" of this small book, would be analogous to calling a typhoon a rainstorm: not wrong, just wildly insufficient. By interspersing short chapters, equally short endnotes and incisively-curated follow-up readings with a mix of illustrations, the three authors, a psychiatrist, a philosopher, and (for our purposes) a visual artist, have produced a veritable page-turner. This has been achieved, moreover, without compromising by one wit most of the important philosophical ideas at stake in attempts to understand mental disorder: the separate, puzzling and f
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The Way We Eat Now
How the Food Revolution Has Transformed Our Lives, Our Bodies, and Our World
By Bee Wilson
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 4th 2019.
The Way We Eat Now by Bee WilsonThe Way We Eat Now takes a sociological and anthropological approach to trends in modern eating. Bee Wilson, a British food writer who performs the audiobook version of her book herself, combines a personal approach with an awareness of modern culture and recent scholarship. There is a 16 page bibliography and 20 pages of notes. It is a book that could be used in an undergraduate course and might spark the interest of students. Wilson addresses a variety of aspects of modern food, and there's a great deal of overlap between chapters. The central theme comes from the Nutrition T
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