Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 18, Number 30
Featured Reviews
Ethics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about Children by Timothy F. MurphyEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about Children
by Timothy F. Murphy
Fri, Jun 27th 2014
Brain and the Gaze by Jan LauwereynsBrain and the Gaze
by Jan Lauwereyns
Fri, Jun 27th 2014
Brain on Fire by Susannah CahalanBrain on Fire
by Susannah Cahalan
Fri, Jun 27th 2014
Beyond Loss
Dementia, Identity, Personhood
By Lars-Christer Hydén, Hilde Lindemann, and Jens Brockmeier (Editors)
Review by Jennifer Radden on Tue, Jul 22nd 2014.
Beyond Loss by Lars-Christer Hydén, Hilde Lindemann, and Jens Brockmeier (Editors)This collection is particularly timely. There is a widespread and growing interest in dementia today, in part because, as the editors note in their introduction, the coming decades will see a dramatic increase worldwide in the number of those suffering aged-related dementias. At the same time, neuroscience has invited new philosophical analyses of cognition, embodiment, social relationships, and personal identity.  The book's purpose, suggested by the "Beyond" in its title, is to break free of the usual ways of thinking about dementia, where the sufferer is first and foremost a patient, a
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Hard Luck
How Luck Undermines Free Will & Moral Responsibility
By Neil Levy
Review by Jonathan Matheson on Tue, Jul 22nd 2014.
Hard Luck by Neil LevyHard Luck is a challenging, provocative, and engaging book that wrestles with a number of key issues in metaphysics, epistemology, and moral psychology.  In it, Levy advances a sophisticated argument that there is no such thing as free will.   However, rather than presenting another argument about the incompatibility of free will and determinism Levy's claim is that "it is not ontology that rules out free will, it is luck." (2) While luck objections to free will are not new, Levy provides a novel and detailed account while engaging a great deal of the contemporary lite
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The Art of Medicine
Over 2,000 Years of Images and Imagination
By Julie Anderson, Emm Barnes, and Emma Shackleton
Review by Jacob Stegenga on Tue, Jul 22nd 2014.
The Art of Medicine by Julie Anderson, Emm Barnes, and Emma Shackleton Art has long played a role in representing aspects of medicine. The Art of Medicine is a coffee-table book which presents highlights from one of the world's great holdings of medical art, from the Wellcome Collection, a museum founded in 2007 in London. This museum is part of the Wellcome Trust, originally founded by Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome in 1936, now one of the world's largest non-governmental providers of funds for biomedical research. Sir Henry (1853-1936) collected a massive number of artworks, including books, sculptures, prints, and paintings, and the Wellcome Collection h
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A Life Worth Living
Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning
By Robert Zaretsky
Review by Finn Janning, Ph.D. on Tue, Jul 22nd 2014.
A Life Worth Living by Robert ZaretskyThe French writer, Albert Camus was 'a moralist who insisted that while the world is absurd and allows for no hope, we are not condemned to despair.' Like this, the historian Robert Zaretsky presents Camus in the book, A Life Worth Living -- with the subtitle, Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning. Camus was a moralist, but not a moralizer. He did not judge from a higher or more lucrative position, but tried to grasp what took place. He tried to create meaning where none was given. Zaretsky organizes his portrait of Camus around five key-concepts: Absurdity, Silence
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Seeds of Hope
Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants
By Jane Goodall
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 22nd 2014.
Seeds of Hope by Jane Goodall In Seeds of Hope, Goodall combines new age tree hugging with powerful political criticism of multinational corporations for their exploitation of agriculture and the developing world.  She starts off discussing her close relationship with trees from the days of her youth.  Not only do they hold great meaning for her, but she also talks to them and envisions them talking back to her. She continues that theme with a full embrace of spirituality, the wisdom of nature, and our need to be respectful of the plant and animals worlds.  It is a very personal form of expression
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Finding Meaning, Facing Fears
In the Autumn of Your Years
By Jerrold Lee Shapiro
Review by Lynne Trevisan, D. C. on Tue, Jul 15th 2014.
Finding Meaning, Facing Fears by Jerrold Lee ShapiroIn Finding meaning, facing fears in the autumn of your years author Jerrod Lee Shapiro, Ph. D. addresses the 45-65 years of life, where we are no longer "young" nor are we "old" by Western society's definition. This book takes a look at some of the more common experiences that occur during this age-range and how individuals can grow through the period in order to have a more fulfilling and meaningful life overall.  The book is divided into four parts: the basics; challenges and characteristics; planning for retirement; and realities and opportunities. Each section has exercises
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American Modernism and Sexual Life
By Benjamin Kahan
Review by Hennie Weiss on Tue, Jul 15th 2014.
Celibacies by Benjamin KahanIn Celibacies: American Modernism & Sexual Life, Benjamin Kahan develops the idea that modern celibacy is a distinct form of sexuality, rather than simply the lack of sexuality, as is often stated. Kahan argues that celibacy is a coherent sexual identity, one that takes multiple expressions, forms or identities and that celibacy as a crucial social identity emerged in the 1840s. By using various examples of people and their expressions of celibacy Kahan describes how celibacy can be viewed as reform,  as predicated by economic motives, as a way of protecting oneself in times of f
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Would You Kill the Fat Man?
he Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong
By David Edmonds
Review by Eli Weber on Tue, Jul 15th 2014.
Would You Kill the Fat Man? by David EdmondsMany philosophers will recognize David Edmonds as one of the voices of Philosophy Bites, a popular podcast that engages with a variety of different philosophical topics.  However, Edmonds is also an expert in the sub-field that has come to be known as "trolleyology."  This somewhat derisive term refers to an interdisciplinary field of study that seeks to utilize intuitive responses to various moral dilemmas to identify substantive moral principles and draw conclusions about human moral psychology.  Edmonds does an outstanding job of introducing the reader to the historical
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The Birth of Intersubjectivity
sychodynamics, Neurobiology, and the Self
By Massimo Ammaniti and Vittorio Gallese
Review by Christophe Al-Saleh on Tue, Jul 15th 2014.
The Birth of Intersubjectivity by Massimo Ammaniti and Vittorio GalleseIntersubjectivity is a process of "continuous and reciprocal interactions and exchanges typical of humain beings from their first days of life" (p.xv), in which humans come to know each other's mind, after Bruner's phrase. The authors (a developmental psychoanalyst and a neurobiologist) insist on the necessity to adopt a multidisciplinary anti-reductionistic approach: "The progress of research in molecular genetics, endocrinology, and neurobiology will be integrated and confronted with psychological and psychopathological research. In a number of research domains, multidirectional and intera
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Gone Girl
A Novel
By Gillian Flynn
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 15th 2014.
Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnThis review will contain spoilers, so don't read it if you intend to read the book.  Gone Girl has won high praise and has been a best-seller.  It is true that it is memorable in the way that it derails the reader's expectations.  The plot starts out with a married couple, transplanted from Manhattan to small-town Missouri, celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary.  Husband Nick tells the story in the present while we see Amy's diary entries from selected days, from the time she first met Nick to the time close to the present when she writes about she is scared for
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On Depression
Drugs, Diagnosis, and Despair in the Modern World
By S. Nassir Ghaemi
Review by Helga Meier on Tue, Jul 8th 2014.
On Depression by S. Nassir GhaemiBottom Line This is a fun and stimulating read for anyone interested in depression and other mood disorders. Overview On Depression by Nassir Ghaemi is aimed at a general, educated audience. He advances several points. The current classification of mood illnesses is based on pragmatic, not scientific considerations and doesn’t respect biological facts. Therefore, our understanding of mood disorders, depression in particular, has not advanced much. Instead of current practice, depression should be considered a mental disease if and only if it is recurrent. For this illness we shou
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Medicine and Religion
A Historical Introduction
By Gary B. Ferngren
Review by Sharon Packer on Tue, Jul 8th 2014.
Medicine and Religion by Gary B. FerngrenIn writing this book, Professor Ferngren has undertaken a Herculean task, one that would ordinarily require an everlasting afterlife (or a few extra incarnations, depending upon your point of reference).  In the space of 200 pages, he covers 3,000 years and four continents. He forewarns us that he omits non-Western and pre-literate religions from his study, more because of lack of information than because of lack of appreciation. This book deliberately sidesteps the thorny relationship  between psychiatry (and neurology) and religion. The author concedes that it demands a separate s
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Death and Consciousness
By David H. Lund
Review by Leo Uzych, J.D., M.P.H. on Tue, Jul 8th 2014.
Death and Consciousness by David H. LundDeath and Consciousness is a book about death and consciousness.  The author, David H. Lund, is a Professor Emeritus of philosophy, at Bemidji State University, in Bemidji, Minnesota.  In a "Preface", Lund alerts readers that, in the book's first part, he will present and defend a view of the nature of people and the world they encounter which is not only compatible with a claim of survival of death but suggests that surviving death is more than remotely possible.  And then, after establishing the possibility of survival of death, Lund will consider various kinds of evidenc
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Beyond Magenta
Transgender Teens Speak Out
By Susan Kuklin
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 8th 2014.
Beyond Magenta by  Susan KuklinThis is a collection of personal stories and pictures of teens from the New York area who have been involved in the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. They are young people who are questioning of the gender they were assigned when they were children and who use names and wear clothes often associated that create a new identity.  Some of them take hormone medication to change their physical appearance and change their bodies.  They call themselves transgender, although that's a label that shifts and there are other related cases of people who also question their gender assignment a
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Your Body Is Awesome
Body Respect for Children
By Sigrun Danielsdottir
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 8th 2014.
Your Body Is Awesome by Sigrun DanielsdottirThis short picture book for children sets out some simple and important ideas. Our bodies tell us how we feel, when we are hungry, and when we need to go to the bathroom.  It also says that adults should listen to children when they talk about how their bodies feel.  We can tune into our bodies to see how they are feeling.  Our bodies are wonderful, and we need to take care of them.  All bodies are different and we should respect those differences.  We should not feel bad about our bodies.  The words are accompanied by fun pictures illustrating these ideas. 
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