Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 21, Number 38
 
Featured Reviews
A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain by Tamler SommersA Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain
by Tamler Sommers
Tue, Aug 15th 2017
Campus Sexual Assault by Lauren J. GermainCampus Sexual Assault
by Lauren J. Germain
Tue, Aug 15th 2017
Kierkegaard's Muse by Joakim GarffKierkegaard's Muse
by Joakim Garff
Tue, Aug 8th 2017
 
The Story of Sex
A Graphic History Through the Ages
By Philippe Brenot and Laetitia Coryn
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 19th 2017.
The Story of Sex by Philippe Brenot and Laetitia CorynOriginally published in French in 2016, The Story of Sex: A Graphic History Through the Ages has now been published in translation in the USA. It starts back in prehistoric times and gives an overview of the sex lives of famous rulers and ordinary people. Later on it addresses various issues in a more didactic way, reflecting the experience of Bernot as a psychiatrist and couple's therapist. The graphics are fun and cheerful, full of nudity and sex, but nothing very explicit or detailed. The basic theme of most stories is that people want to have lots of sex and do as many different
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The Sense of Self
Perspectives from Science and Zen Buddhism
By Richard W. Sear
Review by Joseph Higgins on Tue, Sep 19th 2017.
The Sense of Self by Richard W. SearThroughout The Sense of Self, Richard Sears writes with the assurance of someone who is a true expert in their field. In this instance, the 'field' in question is the profound and timeless musing, 'who am I? – a question that plagues both scientists and philosophers. Rather than taking the typical approach to answering this multifarious question, which is to parse it down to an esoteric perspective, Sears is content to embrace the matter from all angles, resulting in a richly multi-disciplinary monograph that breaches diverse insights from empirical research and principles of Eastern wis
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Mindfulness
By Kaite Witkiewitz, Corey R. Roos, Dana Dharmakaya Colgan, Sarah Bowen
Review by Beth Cholette, Ph.D. on Tue, Sep 19th 2017.
Mindfulness by Kaite Witkiewitz, Corey R. Roos, Dana Dharmakaya Colgan, Sarah BowenThis slim manual (80 pp. with references and appendices) is packed with information.  It is Volume 37 of the series Advances in Psychotherapy – Evidence-Based Practices.  As this title would suggest, Mindfulness centers around the most up-to-date research in this field and its application to the practice of psychotherapy.  In the opening pages, the authors start with an overview of mindfulness.  They review the particular elements common to all mindfulness practices (personal awareness, attentional allocation, and qualities of awareness).  A brief discussion of
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In the Swarm
Digital Prospects
By Byung-Chul Han
Review by Finn Janning, PhD on Tue, Sep 19th 2017.
In the Swarm by Byung-Chul HanToday, we live in a society organized mainly around capitalism. Not only are making money and, to some extents, having a career objectives that guide many people's lives, but prestige, status, and social identity also are typically measured within a capitalistic mindset. Even when corporations claim that "people come first," they refer to their employees' skills and experiences as "human capital" or "cultural capital." Everything we do has monetary value attached to it. According to the philosopher Byung-Chul Han, this tendency is part of today's achievement society, which can be seen starkl
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Why Are We Attracted to Sad Music?
By Sandra Garrido
Review by Hennie Weiss on Tue, Sep 19th 2017.
Why Are We Attracted to Sad Music? by Sandra Garrido In Why Are We Attracted to Sad Music, Sandra Garrido explores why sad music is so popular and what it is about sad music that people are drawn to. As expected, Garrido points out that there is not one reason in particular as to why people like sad music, but Garrido is still able to make some inferences and present her theory on the matter in a very clear cut and concise manner. Garrido does so by first discussing the various views of how we are impacted by music and what makes music sad to its listener. When doing so, Garrido also points out that little research has been conducted on th
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A Tapestry of Values
An Introduction to Values in Science
By Kevin C. Elliott
Review by Elena Popa on Tue, Sep 12th 2017.
A Tapestry of Values by Kevin C. ElliottWhat is scientific knowledge? How do considerations on the nature of scientific knowledge affect normative judgments on how scientists should approach their subjects of investigation? On a widespread account, science provides a picture of the world as it is. This picture, attainable through what Thomas Nagel deemed 'the view from nowhere', implies that scientists can and should conduct their investigation independent from personal goals, beliefs, or values. The central desideratum at stake here appears to be objectivity. Closely related to this view, the value free-ideal states that scientists
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The Trouble with Illness
How Illness and Disability Affect Relationships
By Julia Segal
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 12th 2017.
The Trouble with Illness by Julia SegalThe Trouble with Illness does a great job at exploring the many varied emotional issues that come with illness in the family. Segal's main message is that people have a great many ideas and fantasies about illness, not all of which are particularly rational or thought out, and they need exploring in order to manage the turmoil of long term illness and disability. There are losses involved with serious illness, and if they involve people's ability to do the activities that define them, involving work, relationships, or even treasured leisure activities, they have strong reactions. It can take a
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Animal Madness
How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves
By Laurel Braitman
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 12th 2017.
Animal Madness by Laurel BraitmanLaurel Braitman explores animal psychology and behavior problems in this survey of existing knowledge and theory combined with her personal story and the history of the human use of animals. She starts off describing the day that Oliver, her Bernese Mountain Dog, was left alone in their apartment, and pushed out an air conditioner and jumped out of the window dropping 50 feet.  She goes on to discuss separation anxiety in dogs, and various approaches to understanding it. She compares work on animals with work on humans, arguing that often there are powerful connections between the two. Th
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In Praise of Natural Philosophy
A Revolution for Thought and Life
By Nicholas Maxwell
Review by Terry Biddington on Tue, Sep 12th 2017.
In Praise of Natural Philosophy by Nicholas MaxwellWhat a read! Maxwell's latest book is a real page turner: which often cannot be said for many other academic books. His work is erudite and his vision for the reshaping of higher education –the 'redrawing of our intellectual landscape' is compelling. The drum beat to which this book marches is the question of how can our human world, and the world of sentient life more generally, imbued with perceptual qualities, consciousness, free will, meaning and value, exist and best flourish embedded as it is in the physical universe? The book has a dialectical structure, beginning with a th
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From Valuing to Value
Towards a Defense of Subjectivism
By David Sobel
Review by Robert Zaborowski on Tue, Sep 5th 2017.
From Valuing to Value by David Sobel The book under review is, as a matter of fact, a collection of 14 papers Sobel published in 1994-2011 to which one new chapter (Ch. 1: Subjectivism and Reasons to be Moral, pp. 16-42), an Introduction and a general (?) Index have been added. Of the fourteen chapters, two are co-authored with David Copp and one is an updated version of a previously published review. As such this book adds little to the existing literature but it may be useful to those interested either in Sobel's work or doing research on similar topic. The collection's strength is weakened by a lack
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Chasing the Scream
The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
By Johann Hari
Review by Daniel J. Dunleavy on Tue, Sep 5th 2017.
Chasing the Scream by Johann HariJohann Hari is an award-winning British journalist who has written for major news outlets around the world. In Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, Hari investigates two major facets of the modern drug problem. On the one hand, he describes the history of and contemporary policies toward psychoactive drug use, highlighting the United States' "War on Drugs". This twentieth century government initiative, which levied strict criminal punishments toward drug-dealers and drug-users domestically and abroad, is contrasted with shifting policies and practices around th
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ADHD Nation
Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic
By Alan Schwartz
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 5th 2017.
ADHD Nation by Alan SchwartzAlan Schwartz is a journalist who gained a reputation for covering the problem of concussion in football, with high rates of brain injury and dementia among former NFL players. In his latest book he addresses the growth of the diagnosis of ADHD and the use of medication in children and adults. His position is clear and plausible: while ADHD is real, it is massively overdiagnosed in the USA and too many people are taking medication for it. Schwartz does an excellent job covering the history of psychiatric thought about attention deficit and hyperactivity, collecting details that few have covere
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The Origin of Anxieties
By Charles Merrett
Review by David Mathew on Tue, Sep 5th 2017.
The Origin of Anxieties by Charles Merrett'We find it hard to focus on anything,' writes Charles Merrett, approximately halfway through The Origin of Anxieties, 'without deciding whether we like it or not; whether it is good or bad, attractive or unattractive; right or wrong. We constantly compare one thing with another and set standards about how things should be.' Inadvertently Merrett has provided the reviewer with a template for a swift evaluation, and with this paragraph in mind one is tempted to state of the book in question: undeniably bad, attractively produced, and wrong in a multitude of ways that I will hope to cover in th
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Thinking about Free Will
By Peter van Inwagen
Review by Robert K. Whitaker on Tue, Aug 29th 2017.
Thinking about Free Will by Peter van InwagenPeter van Inwagen in undeniably one of the leading authorities on the problem of free will in the last four decades. Thinking about Free Will is a representative collection of his essays on the topic, spanning from 1978 to the present, edited by himself and with his own reflective introduction (written somewhat oddly in the third person). The essays are arranged chronologically, which allows the reader to trace the development of van Inwagen's thought about--as well as his growing impatience with certain aspects of--the arguments surrounding free will, determinism, and the ability to
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Thomas S. Szasz
The Man and His Ideas
By Jeffrey A. Schaler, Henry Zvi Lothane, and Richard E. Vatz (Editors)
Review by Bob Lane, MA on Tue, Aug 29th 2017.
Thomas S. Szasz by Jeffrey A. Schaler, Henry Zvi Lothane, and Richard E. Vatz (Editors)First from Google: Thomas Stephen Szasz was an American academic, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He served for most of his career as professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. Wikipedia Born: April 15, 1920, Budapest, Hungary Died: September 8, 2012, Manlius, New York, United States Known for: Critique of psychiatry Parents: Gyula Szász, Lily Szász Quotes People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it
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