Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 21, Number 08
Featured Reviews
Logotherapy and Existential Analysis by  Alexander Batthyány (Editor)Logotherapy and Existential Analysis
by Alexander Batthyány (Editor)
Tue, Dec 13th 2016
Illness or Deviance? by Jennifer MurphyIllness or Deviance?
by Jennifer Murphy
Tue, Dec 13th 2016
The Fate of Gender by Frank BrowningThe Fate of Gender
by Frank Browning
Tue, Dec 6th 2016
Psychiatric Hegemony
A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness
By Bruce Cohen
Review by Sharon Packer, MD on Tue, Feb 21st 2017.
Psychiatric Hegemony by Bruce CohenAs someone who was an undergraduate in the 1960s, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for reflections on the "anti-psychiatry" era, even when my brain challenges authors' arguments and wonders if their conclusions are built on a proverbial house of cards because their foundation of facts is flawed. Like so many others, tales about R.D. Laing's carnivalesque Kingsley Hall, opened in London's East End in 1965, enchanted me. Laing himself later recanted his colorful clinical theories about curing psychosis by expressing psychotic symptoms full-force. Laing attributed mental illness to a si
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One World Now
The Ethics of Globalization
By Peter Singer
Review by Finn Janning on Tue, Feb 21st 2017.
One World Now by Peter SingerIn One World Now: The Ethics of Globalization, Peter Singer, an Australian moral philosopher, discusses humanity's shared ethical responsibility and sovereignty. We live in a global world that—unlike the older term "internationalization" conveys—emphasizes that we are moving; that is, "moving beyond the era of growing ties between states," he says. Within his text, Singer addresses a central question: is the nation state loosing sovereignty? Perhaps. Should it? Yes, according to Singer. And he makes a strong case for overcoming it. Whether or not the nation state is losing its so
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What Is a Human?
What the Answers Mean for Human Rights
By John H. Evans
Review by Bob Lane on Tue, Feb 21st 2017.
What Is a Human? by John H. EvansWithout a doubt the answer to the question 'What is a human?' has been a long term and ongoing project -- perhaps as old as human life here on this planet. The question, simple in form and a mere four words long has been the center of attention for religion, philosophy, and the sciences for as long as those disciplines have been around. And now Oxford Press presents this social science study addressing the question, in a book rich with survey data and analysis of two main concerns: What is a Human? And what might the answers mean for human rights? In eight chapters and several appendices, not
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Tony & Susan
(aka Nocturnal Animals)
By Austin Wright
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Feb 21st 2017.
Tony & Susan by Austin WrightOriginally published in 1993, and republished several times since then, Tony and Susan (also known as Nocturnal Animals) has most recently been released because of Tom Ford's recent movie Nocturnal Animals based on it. The device of the novel is novel: a middle aged woman Susan, reads a novel by her ex-husband, Edward. Both have remarried. It takes her three nights to read the manuscript, which he has sent to her asking for her feedback. As she reads, she reflects on their relationship and the man she left him for.  Before she starts, confident of her memory of Edward, she predicts the bo
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Psychiatry and the Business of Madness
An Ethical and Epistemological Accounting
By Bonnie Burstow
Review by Robert Scott Stewart, Ph.D. on Tue, Feb 14th 2017.
Psychiatry and the Business of Madness by Bonnie BurstowPsychiatry and the Business of Madness is, Burstow says, "the culmination of decades of research" (16) in the field of 'anti-psychiatry'. Indeed, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, where Burstow works, has recently created "The Bonnie Burstow Scholarship in Antipsychiatry," which is awarded annually to an OISE student conducting thesis research in the field of antipsychiatry. According to OISE's website, though antipsychiatry research has been conducted for a number of years, this is the first scholarship of its kind (
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The Psychology of Good and Evil
By Laurent Bčgue
Review by Anna Westin on Tue, Feb 14th 2017.
The Psychology of Good and Evil by Laurent BčgueHumanity's age-old complicated relationship with good and evil takes a quantitative turn in Laurent Bègue's psychological account of ethics, entitled The Psychology of Good and Evil. Originally published in French in 2011 and translated into English by Jodie André in 2016, the book draws on a rich sample of research in social psychology, and provides a fascinating overview as to how the ethical theories of ancient philosophers may still play out in everyday behaviors.  Bègue notes how ethics has always presented a hard set of questions: how do we actually engage wit
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The Oxford Handbook of Ethics at the End of Life
By Stuart J. Younger and Robert M. Arnold
Review by William Simkulet on Tue, Feb 14th 2017.
The Oxford Handbook of Ethics at the End of Life by Stuart J. Younger and Robert M. ArnoldThe Oxford Handbook of Ethics at the End of Life explores contemporary moral issues regarding death and dying.  Contemporary medical understanding and technology allow human beings more control over when, and how, people die and this book seeks to address the ethical issues surrounding this control. The book contains 27 new essays, and is divided into four sections.  Section 1 -- Clinical and Legal Issues contains 10 essays discussing the law and patients' rights.  Section 2 -- Theoretical, Cultural, and Psychosocial Issues contains 10 essays exploring a variety of issues relat
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The Nix
A Novel
By Nathan Hill
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Feb 14th 2017.
The Nix by Nathan HillNathan Hill's sprawling novel The Nix (the unabridged audiobook is 22 hours long) is a satire of modern times but goes back to the 1960s too. The central characters are Samuel Andresen-Anderson and his mother. Samuel is a bored professor of literature at a small suburban university outside of Chicago. He once wrote a novel but his second novel is stalled. He spends most of his spare time playing a massive multiplayer online role-playing game featuring many elves in his university office because the connection is faster than the one at home. Teaching students who don't want to learn has worn hi
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Darwinism as Religion
What Literature Tells Us about Evolution
By Michael Ruse
Review by Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Ph.D. on Tue, Feb 7th 2017.
Darwinism as Religion by Michael RuseMichael Ruse defines "Darwinian theory" as "evolution through natural selection" (pp. 87-88). This theory, presented to the world by Charles Darwin, has become the most potent symbol of science, as the ruling paradigm in biology. The assumptions of the evolution paradigm are a threat to religious ideas, and not only because of the account of human descent from other species. It assumes no design, no intentionality, and no guiding hand, but rather randomness and purposelessness, with events only subject to the impersonal, natural, laws of physics and chemistry. We know that Darwin and evolution
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Mindreading Animals
The Debate over What Animals Know about Other Minds
By Robert W. Lurz
Review by Flavia Felletti on Tue, Feb 7th 2017.
Mindreading Animals by Robert W. Lurz Do animals know that other creatures have a mind? Do they know that other creatures see, hear, know, intend, or believe? And how can we know if they do? These questions have been central to a debate that involved philosophers and cognitive scientists for over thirty years now. With his Mindreading Animals, Robert W. Lurz aims to provide an answer to the last question in particular. More precisely, he aims to provide experimental protocols that can tell us whether animals attribute mental states in those cases in which the alternative hypothesis that animals are merely behavior readers is at ha
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American Hookup
The New Culture of Sex on Campus
By Lisa Wade
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Feb 7th 2017.
American Hookup by Lisa Wade Lisa Wade's American Hookup is one of the more thoughtful books about the sexual lives of young people in the US today. Her basic message is that students on campus are very conscious of their reputations and experience peer pressure to engage in sexual interactions with each other, but they are scared of intimacy and real relationships, so they get drunk in order to make it socially acceptable to hook up. She bases her survey both on interviews with college students she had in her classes, and also on other results from researchers. She argues that for the most part this continues a tradition
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The Man Who Wasn't There
By Anil Ananthaswamy
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Feb 7th 2017.
The Man Who Wasn't There by Anil AnanthaswamyPopular science writer Anil Ananthaswamy discusses philosophy as much as science in this survey of disorders of the brain. He is interested in different theories of the self and how neuropsychological conditions such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism, profound amnesia, Cotard's syndrome, body identity integrity disorder, ecstatic epilepsy, and more. He interviews and quotes from the work of many scientists and philosophers, and some people with these problems. Oddly, he manages to find several philosophers who have some of the problems he is discussing. Ananthaswamy is not himself a philos
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When Someone You Know Is Living in a Dementia Care Community
Words to Say and Things to Do
By Rachael Wonderlin
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jan 31st 2017.
When Someone You Know Is Living in a Dementia Care Community by Rachael WonderlinThis is a simple guide for those with a loved one with dementia who has moved into a residential home. There are 29 short chapters on basic points and some not-so-basic. The author, Rachael Wonderlin, includes many illustrations from her own experience working in a care community. It's not clear whether her recommendations are based on science but she has got plenty of experience of how to reduce problems. The book starts out with some explanations of dementia and the why care communities might be appropriate. Then there is a lot of practical advice about what to do and what not to do whe
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Crimes of Reason
On Mind, Nature, and the Paranormal
By Stephen E. Braude
Review by Brandon D. C. Fenton, Ph. D. on Tue, Jan 31st 2017.
Crimes of Reason by Stephen E. BraudeStephen E. Braude has been researching exotic--and some would say 'controversial'--domains of human behavior and mental phenomena for well over three decades. While the bulk of his work has focused upon issues in parapsychological (or 'psi') research, he has also made significant contributions to several other areas of inquiry including most prominently the topic of dissociative identity disorder (formerly: multiple personality disorder), and he has been cited extensively for such work in Tim Bayne's 2010 The Unity of Consciousness. In the present climate of the philosophy of mind--a disc
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How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain
The New Science of Transformation
By Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman
Review by Alexandra Moraitis on Tue, Jan 31st 2017.
How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert WaldmanI grappled with this book on several occasions having abandoned it and returned to it much later on. How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain is aimed at a lay audience, for those perhaps that might have an interest in the scientific basis of meditation and secular aspects of spirituality. Or for those seeking to validate their experiences and beliefs through scientific findings. The quotes dispersed throughout the book, at the beginning of each chapter added some pseudo erudition to the text. Perhaps this is a harsh criticism, but I suspect that anyone with an academic background from the cognate
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