Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 20, Number 34
 
Featured Reviews
Lab Girl by Hope JahrenLab Girl
by Hope Jahren
Tue, May 17th 2016
A Natural History of Human Morality by Michael TomaselloA Natural History of Human Morality
by Michael Tomasello
Tue, May 17th 2016
What's Wrong With Morality? by C. Daniel BatsonWhat's Wrong With Morality?
by C. Daniel Batson
Tue, May 17th 2016
 
Addiction
A Philosophical Perspective
By Candice L. Shelby
Review by Susanne Uusitalo, Ph.D. on Tue, Aug 23rd 2016.
Addiction by Candice L. ShelbyCandice L Shelby's monograph provides a new, empirically informed, philosophical account of addiction that sheds light to the lives of addicted individuals and their treatment in the society. The approach is unique, as it draws on various fields of theoretical philosophy in light of empirical research on addiction. She argues that seeing addiction either as a disease or a choice is a false dichotomy and offers her account of addiction as an emergent process of a set of complex processes. Shelby's task is ambitious as the perspective touches upon highly theoretical issues in philosophy of mind
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Addictions
A Social Psychological Perspective
By Catalina E. Kopetz and Carl W. Lejuez (Editors)
Review by Anna Westin on Tue, Aug 23rd 2016.
 Addictions by Catalina E. Kopetz and Carl W. Lejuez (Editors)It is often difficult to find a comprehensive overview of current addiction research that encompasses more than one perspective in an in-depth and carefully considered manner.  However, Addictions: A Social Psychological Perspective, edited by C. E. Kopetz and C. W. Lejuez manages to do just this.  The volume contains a broad spectrum of papers that gives insight into the contemporary challenges and developments in addiction from a social psychology perspective.  Challenging the 'reductionist tradition of approaching addiction from a medical model' (2016, p. ix), these assorted
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Cerebrum 2015
Emerging Ideas in Brain Science
By The Dana Foundation
Review by Roy Sugarman, Ph.D. on Tue, Aug 23rd 2016.
Cerebrum 2015 by The Dana FoundationI love the Dana Press, and I always love books in this series, this one with a foreword from Alan Leshner and contributions from some of the best in the research in neuroscience. The first one is cannabis, from my old mate Sir Robyn Murray at King’s College in London, where I last met him some time ago. The issue of cannabis and schizophrenia has been much debated, and he takes on the moving parts here, namely does it cause it, in which individuals, is this just an exacerbation of risk, is the weed more potent now, or bred to be more prepotent in terms of the balance of chemicals? Robyn
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The Age of Genius
The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind
By A. C. Grayling
Review by Guilherme Sanches de Oliveira on Tue, Aug 23rd 2016.
The Age of Genius by A. C. GraylingAnthony Grayling's The Age of Genius: The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind has two main goals, the first, an "official" interpretive objective that is explicitly articulated from the beginning, and the second, an ideological aim that is central to Grayling's agenda but which nonetheless remains implicit through most of the book. Discussing some of the key events and figures in seventeenth-century political and intellectual history, The Age of Genius makes for an interesting and, at points, even entertaining read, but it fails to accomplish its two argumentative goals. Gray
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Imagine Me Gone
By Adam Haslett
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Aug 23rd 2016.
Imagine Me Gone by Adam HaslettHaslett's Imagine Me Gone is one of the best novels about mental illness in recent decades. It is intellectually ambitious, compassionate but showing the complexities of the life of a family living with serious disorders, and ranging over many other ideas. It is in two parts. The first part is about the older generation. Margaret is engaged to John. She is American, he is English. Before they marry, in the 1960s, he has a hospitalization and he is totally non-responsive. But the episode passes, and they go on to have three children. The story is told from the perspective of Margaret and their
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Behaving
What's Genetic, What's Not, and Why Should We Care?
By Kenneth F. Schaffner
Review by William Simkulet, Ph.D. on Tue, Aug 16th 2016.
Behaving by Kenneth F. SchaffnerKenneth Schaffner's Behaving:  What's Genetic, What's Not, and Why Should We Care? is a thorough, in-depth discussion of contemporary scientific inquiry into behavior and the philosophical implications of recent discoveries in the field.           After a short preface and introduction, the book is divided into nine chapters.  The first two chapters provide a clear and engaging introduction to key terminological distinctions used throughout the book.  The next three chapters use analytic philosophy to analyze the problems of associat
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Science Fiction and Philosophy
From Time Travel to Superintelligence
By Susan Schneider (Editor)
Review by Alexandre Declos on Tue, Aug 16th 2016.
Science Fiction and Philosophy by Susan Schneider (Editor)Can you be sure that you are not in a computer simulation ? Are we on the verge of an era where machines will become exponentially more intelligent than human beings ? Will it someday be possible to upload a mind into a computer, and if so, should that count as a form of survival of the original person ? Can robots think ? Should we rejoice at the probably soon-to-come enhanced humans, or "cyborgs" ? Is time-travel possible?     These questions, which have been the playground of science-fiction (SF) for many decades, are also of great theoretical interest. Philosophers have indeed
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Evil in Modern Thought
An Alternative History of Philosophy
By Susan Neiman
Review by Brad Frazier on Tue, Aug 16th 2016.
Evil in Modern Thought by Susan NeimanIn 2015, Princeton University Press published a new "classics" edition of Susan Neiman's remarkable book, Evil in Modern Thought. This version contains a new afterword from Neiman that addresses terrorism and some criticisms of the 2002 edition. One of the many virtues of Evil in Modern Thought is that it is a scholarly yet very accessible work. The writing is crisp, even rhythmic and witty in certain passages. The narrative Neiman constructs, moreover, is much more riveting and psychologically plausible than the 'standard' narrative of modern Western philosophy, where refuting scepticism and
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The Spirit of Tibetan Buddhism
By Sam van Schaik
Review by Wendy C. Hamblet, Ph.D. on Tue, Aug 16th 2016.
The Spirit of Tibetan Buddhism by Sam van SchaikTibetan Buddhism has an estimated ten to twenty million adherents worldwide, and yet people generally know little about the tradition apart from recognizing its head, the Dalai Lama, and its rough recent history since communist China invaded Tibet in 1950. Even among scholars of Eastern traditions, many thinkers consider the vajrayana aspects of Tibetan Buddhism, from the artwork to the ritual practices to the unique material culture, to be the features that render Tibetan Buddhism distinctive in character from other lineages of Buddhism. In his new book, The Spirit of Tibetan Buddhism, Sam Va
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Silence is Goldfish
By Annabel Pitcher
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Aug 16th 2016.
Silence is Goldfish by Annabel PitcherThis is the third young adult novel by British author Annabel Pitcher, and it may not translate so well to American readers, both because of some of the details rooted in life in the UK, and more because of the sense of humor of its narrator, Tess Turner. It's a story of identity, friendship and coming of age. She is 15 when she finds writing by her father describing his negative feelings about her birth -- she was born through IVF using another man's sperm. She is devastated by the discovery and expresses her anger by refusing to talk. It's not clear how much her reaction is under her control
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Disorientation and Moral Life
By Ami Harbin
Review by Nancy Nyquist Potter on Tue, Aug 9th 2016.
Disorientation and Moral Life by Ami HarbinExciting, challenging, and innovative thinking is found in recent feminist and critical race theory, and Ami Harbin's new book, Disorientation and Moral Life is an example. Harbin explores a common experience in people's lives—that of feeling disoriented and ungrounded. Not only does she set out various causes for such experiences, but she asks us to think through its moral and political repercussions. In doing so, she also presents a challenge to a dominant assumption in moral theory: the idea that the best and most successful motives for moral action come from what she calls moral reso
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The Oxford Handbook of Hume
By Paul Russell (Editor)
Review by Gregory F.W. Todd, J.D. on Tue, Aug 9th 2016.
The Oxford Handbook of Hume by Paul Russell (Editor)Interest in David Hume has increased greatly over the past fifty years.  Throughout the 19th century, Hume's philosophy was considered skeptical, negative, and irreligious; the dead-end of empiricism; a stepping stone to Kant.  His psychological insights, which initially generated considerable attention, came to be considered simply naive. This has changed.  Over the past fifty years, interest in Hume's positive philosophy has steadily grown, to the point that a survey of philosophy professors in 2009 found Hume to be their favorite non-living philosopher.  Across a broad
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Sex by Numbers
What Statistics Can Tell Us About Sexual Behaviour
By David Spiegelhalter
Review by David Teira on Tue, Aug 9th 2016.
Sex by Numbers by David SpiegelhalterFor many, sex is more about quality than quantity, so David Spiegelhalter’s Sex by numbers may put off many potential readers.  Yet, in sex quantity seems to have a certain quality of its own –or so claims Brooke Magnanti, invoking the intellectual authority of Stalin. This book has indeed a quality of its own: accuracy. Our folk understanding of sex is full of made up numbers to which we inadvertently stick without further reflection. Checking them out is more complicated that it seems: there are competing sources and we need a certain degree of statistical (and methodologica
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Born to Balance - Balance Basics
DVD
By T. Jacob Felder
Review by Beth Cholette, Ph.D. on Tue, Aug 9th 2016.
Born to Balance - Balance Basics by T. Jacob FelderThis DVD is led by Jacob Felder, a registered yoga teacher (ERT-500) with Yoga Alliance.  During his 6-minute Introduction, Felder explains that the video is designed for both yoga teachers/other health care professionals who wish to assist their students with balance as well as for yoga students who wish to improve their own balance.  He also discusses how balance involves the following three systems (in order of importance):  1) vestibular, 2) proprioception, and 3) vision, and reviews some additional factors which contribute to balance as well.   The Main Menu of the D
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Even Dogs in the Wild
By Ian Rankin
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Aug 9th 2016.
Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian RankinThe most appealing aspect of Rankin's latest Inspector Rebus novel is its use of the song "Even Dogs in the Wild" by the Scottish group the Associates (whose albums from the early 1980s have recently been rereleased). Even though it's not really a song that made much impression when it was released, it adds a strong personal dimension to the story, even though it is only mentioned a few times. The refrain is "Even dogs in the wild could do better than this" so it is about the neglect of parents of their children. The story is long, with many characters. The unabridged audiobook, competently pe
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