The popular and academic discussion of empathy has seen a steady expansion in recent years and it is not uncommon to read about the close connection between empathy and moral motivation, understanding or behavior. However, the exact relationship between empathy and morality is often not carefully explored, and controversial questions and assumptions remain unaddressed. Empathy and Morality (OUP, 2014) is a stimulating collection of papers that sheds further light on this important topic. The volume will be accessible to an educated audience, but will be of primary interest to academi Click here to read the full review!
The Looked After Kid is a book about the life of the author, Paolo Hewitt, focusing sharply on Hewitt's personal experience as a looked after kid in a Children's Home. Hewitt is a journalist and a prolific writer of books. In an "Epilogue" following the text, Hewitt writes pensively that he came to realize that he was writing the book for many different persons: his mother, whose life was so harsh; his two half-sisters, Frankie and Nina; his second family of friends, who helped him along his path with encouragement and love; but most of all for the kids in Hewitt's Home, Click here to read the full review!
Trans DVD By Chris Arnold (Director) Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Mar 3rd 2015.
Trans is an even-handed sympathetic documentary about people who identify as transgender and who go through steps to identify as the gender opposite to the one they were identified as at birth. We see people in a variety of different situations: a young child who identifies as a girl, teens who identify as male, an ex-military person who now is married to a man and identifies as a woman, and people later on in life. People tell their stories, and they explain the difficulties they face. There is a high risk of discrimination, physical attack, and of self-harm and suicide. But we al Click here to read the full review!
As the second in the series, this book sets out to develop the characters of Aristotle and his friend/protege Stephanos even further. Aristotle is no longer a peripheral character which means that many conversations reflect his philosophy and rhetoric. The mystery tackled in this volume is much more complicated than the one in the first and the story is more thought provoking. Still, the purpose continues to be interweaving mystery and history to create a compelling story.
As with the first book in the series, those mystery readers with an interest in ancient history and philosophy would find Click here to read the full review!
Understanding Love Philosophy, Film, and Fiction By Susan Wolf and Christopher Grau (Editors) Review by Bob Lane on Tue, Feb 24th 2015.
With the possible exception of television, which more and more is turning to old movies for its programming, film is the popular art form in North America today. Millions of North Americans every week sit in front of movie screens to be entertained, titillated, educated, or simply to find an escape from quiet desperation.
As with all art forms, one's enjoyment can be increased by increasing one's knowledge of the techniques or aspects of the form. Just as drama has its own vocabulary, so does the film; and certain techniques are unique to film and to the film alone.
Basically, of cours Click here to read the full review!
Contemporary philosophy sometimes looks comfortable and somehow all encompassing. Or so at least some of its adherents would like us to believe. According to this view, all truths are based on or are reducible in some ways to fundamental truths about the natural world of physical objects, causes and effects. At least we understand for better or for worse how such propositions can have their truth values, how relations can be causal and how objects might bring about their effects. So the hard part in philosophy is to show just how other problematic propositions might be somehow dependent Click here to read the full review!
As Parrott is quick to point out, life without negative emotions is an unlikely event, as much as, say, expecting clear skies each day. We are hardwired to protect ourselves from danger and so negative emotions may be necessary, although negativity, as Beck put it, might mean that we filter out all of the positive and focus only on perceived threats.
So how is there a bright side to the negative emotion? It seems it is necessary. There are both negative and positive emotions, easy to list, but what actually makes one emotion one or the other is not exactly stipulated. So the autho Click here to read the full review!
See How Small By Scott Blackwood Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Feb 24th 2015.
See How Small is not a happy book. It is a story of misery in small-town USA, shared among many narrators. The start of the novel sets out the main tragedy: three teen girls are violated, killed, and burned in a fire in an ice-cream shop. The proliferation of different perspectives documents how people affected have their lives ruined by this crime, and their lives were dried and hollow even before the murders. They do what people do, with romance, children, and work but there seems to be no joy in their existence. What's more, the tone of the book is unrelenting, and th Click here to read the full review!
Posthumanism By Pramod K. Nayar Review by Finn Janning, Ph.D. on Tue, Feb 17th 2015.
Once upon a time the human was at the center of the universe. Now, the unified and autonomous human subject is a myth. "There is no more a sovereign subject," Pramod K. Nayer writes in Posthumanism. Humanism has reached its end. A new era has emerged. It's called posthumanism. It has to do with coexistence, that is, the relationship between human and nonhumans.
Posthumanism is not the same as transhumanism. Nayer clarifies how transhumanism relies on human rationality in order to improve the human, whereas posthumanism move beyond "the traditional humanist way of thinking about the auton Click here to read the full review!
The Core Question: Who Am I? A Reflective Journey Into Uncovering Your Authentic Self By Mark Julian Zyga Review by Bob Lane, MA on Tue, Feb 17th 2015.
This is a surprising little book. Written by Mark Zyga, who tells us that "he has been working with individuals as a practitioner and hypnotherapist for over 14 years. He has also been teaching part time for almost 30 years in a variety of universities, as well as more esoteric and fun activities such as yoga, meditation and sailing to name a few."
The who am I? question, as readers of metapsychology are aware, is one of the central questions of metaphysics. In an earlier review of a philosophy book by Warren Bourgeois I wrote:
The problem: What is a person Click here to read the full review!
This novel merges ancient history with a mystery that appeals to the modern reader, while introducing characters for series of mystery novels. In this story, the reader is introduced to a young Athenian named Stephanos whose situation brings about the opportunity for the character of Aristotle to use his philosophical tools of rhetoric and wit to solve a murder mystery. The story is interwoven with historical information about Aristotle and ancient Athens and even some insight into ancient pottery. History and mystery are coalesced into a fun but educated story.
This book would appeal to myst Click here to read the full review!
Kevin Gillooly is 14, and he and his parents have just moved to spend some time with his grandfather in the mining town of Medgar in Eastern Kentucky. This is in 1985, although it often feels like an earlier time. Kevin and his family are there to get away from reminders of his little brother's recent terrible death. Yet Kevin is deeply unhappy, and spends his first week wandering around the rural area setting things on fire. His mother is in a state of shock and may never recover; she walks around like a ghost. His father is deeply critical of him and has no warmth. So the prospec Click here to read the full review!
Mindfulness is a technique that is integral to the Teachings of the Buddha and it is a very simple form of meditation that was little known in the West until recently. However, billed a "social phenomenon" by its leading advocate, Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is changing the face of health and humanity. Mindfulness refers to a compassionate and non-judgmental moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience. The ancient teachings of the eastern world have always spoken about the attainment of oneness. This can be defined as a pinnacle of spiritual ach Click here to read the full review!
The Weariness of the Self Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age By Alain Ehrenberg Review by Jennifer Radden, Ph.D. on Tue, Feb 10th 2015.
Sociologist Alain Ehrenberg's detailed and challenging account of depression is the first English translation of La fatigue d'être soi: Dépression et société (1998). Offering a valuable addition to the body of Anglophone writing on that subject, its virtues lie in three distinct directions: its historical references and citations are refreshingly different from those invoked by most writing about depression in English today; it contains a self-conscious reflection on the cultural and epistemological assumptions separating European from English-speaking psyc Click here to read the full review!
This book might be useful as an introduction to the scientific literature on free will, but I found it underwhelming despite its promise (perhaps purely because of its very short length). In the first chapter the author distinguishes three varieties of free will: the "supernatural" conception (having an immaterial soul dictating our behavior), the "modest" conception (making informed decisions that are not forced on us) and the "ambitious" conception (choosing between alternative courses of action). In the following four chapters Mele moves to consider the classic psychological literature crit Click here to read the full review!
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