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
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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Detox Yoga
By Amy Schneider
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jan 31st 2017.
Detox Yoga by Amy SchneiderThis Detox Yoga DVD is well made, with 3 sessions, each about 20 minutes, that are all pretty simple, Schneider leads the sessions sitting outside on a deck. She gives instructions in a voice-over, and there is innocuous electronic music in the background. The theme is to detox the body and mind, and she takes this very literally. The idea that doing a twist is going to squeeze toxins out of one's internal organs, or will help one's digestive system seem completely unsupported by any science, so it's best to ignore those claims. The twists and flexing are probably good for the body and may hav
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Cognitive Mechanisms of Belief Change
By Aaron Smith
Review by Diana Soeiro on Tue, Jan 24th 2017.
Cognitive Mechanisms of Belief Change by Aaron Smith Let us start by clarifying the title in order to understand what is this book is about, in a glimpse. A cognitive explanation of belief change is an attempt to explain how thinking changes. When thinking changes, so too do beliefs, emotional experiences, and behaviours. (p.2) The author proposes a model to explain belief change that is not static or linear but instead interactive and complex, a process structure. (p.61)          This process structure approach is perhaps the first original characteristic of the book, which I consider to be a p
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What Is Buddhist Enlightenment?
By Dale S. Wright
Review by Bob Lane, MA on Tue, Jan 24th 2017.
What Is Buddhist Enlightenment? by Dale S. WrightKing Lear is a play as profound as it is puzzling. It seems to be uncompromising in its attitude to the nature of things. Either its last scene is a powerful continuation of the theme of self delusion or it is an intimation of immortality. The story of Lear is the story of how a king can become a man. Every action, every word of the last scene functions as an onslaught on all fundamental negations of human dignity; and, therefore, the central thrust of the play is positive and creative.1 One of the main critical problems arises in attempting to understand the "blinding" scene, which is o
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Drug Dealer, MD
How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop
By Anna Lembke
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jan 24th 2017.
Drug Dealer, MD by Anna Lembke It's long been clear that doctors in the USA have been far too ready to prescribe opiates to patients and that they are largely responsible for the crisis of opiate addiction in which we find ourselves. Lembke's excellent book Drug Dealer, MD explains how this came about. It's a short book, concisely written, giving plenty of examples of patients' stories while at the same time showing trends in policy and national practice. The book has 10 chapters covering many aspects of the story. One of the most interesting is the change in attitude towards pain. Pain used to be viewed by docto
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