Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 21, Number 17
Featured Reviews
Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire by Kay Redfield JamisonRobert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire
by Kay Redfield Jamison
Tue, Feb 28th 2017
Beginners Meditation & Mindful Stretching by Nadia NarainBeginners Meditation & Mindful Stretching
by Nadia Narain
Mon, Feb 27th 2017
Psychiatric Hegemony by Bruce CohenPsychiatric Hegemony
by Bruce Cohen
Tue, Feb 21st 2017
The Virtue of Defiance and Psychiatric Engagement
By Nancy Nyquist Potter
Review by Claire Pouncey, MD, PhD on Tue, Apr 25th 2017.
The Virtue of Defiance and Psychiatric Engagement by Nancy Nyquist PotterIn the introduction to The Virtue of Defiance and Psychiatric Engagement, Nancy Nyquist Potter warns her readers that the book may satisfy neither philosophers nor psychiatrists.  As an interdisciplinary effort, her project is ambitious – it is to update Aristotelian virtue theory in light of the complexities and injustices of contemporary life, especially with respect to persons with mental health problems; and then to persuade psychiatrists not only that patient defiance should be evaluated for virtuosity, but that psychiatrists need to cultivate in ourselves a newly proposed virt
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Children and the Politics of Sexuality
The Sexualization of Children Debate Revisited
By Liza Tsaliki
Review by Robert Scott Stewart, Ph.D. on Tue, Apr 25th 2017.
Children and the Politics of Sexuality by Liza TsalikiLiza Tsaliki's Children and the Politics of Sexuality provides a much needed counter-voice to the widely held beliefs current in the Western World that children are 'naturally' sexually innocent, and that they should remain that way at least until later adolescence or early adulthood. I see three major influences on Tsaliki's book, and I will shape my review around those (related) sources: the French historian, Phillippe Aries, the French philosopher, Michel Foucault, and third wave feminism. Aries' book, Centuries of Childhood (1962) was the first serious historical analysis of childhood, an
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On Betrayal
By Avishai Margalit
Review by Wendy C. Hamblet, Ph.D. on Tue, Apr 25th 2017.
On Betrayal by Avishai MargalitValues and vices shift radically over time in all societies and cultures. However, betrayal is one of those enduring vices the weight of whose forms may wax and wane with political and historical circumstances, but whose definition can be agreed upon by most human beings across the globe, a definition generally grounded in the primal experience of being betrayed, that is, cast from the perspective of the victim. Betrayal is a fundamental human experience that arouses a deep emotional response because in its "thickest" form, it destroys the "thick" relations that bind family and friends, underm
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Racing the Devil
By Charles Todd
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Apr 25th 2017.
Racing the Devil by Charles Todd  Inspector Ian Rutledge from Scotland Yard is called out to a small town in the South of England, the Sussex coast, when a cleric is killed in a car accident and it looks like foul play. He investigates but before he knows what happened, other people start dying.  It is soon after the Great War, and Rutledge is haunted by many terrible memories of his time in the army. One of the men who died back there, Hamish, is a constant companion in his head, giving him advice and engaging him in dialog. Racing the Devil is a rather standard historical detective mystery with a striking theme
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The Meaning of Evil
By James Sias
Review by Maura Pilotti, PhD on Tue, Apr 18th 2017.
The Meaning of Evil by James SiasIn The meaning of evil, James Sias takes the reader on a journey that overviews the meaning and use of the word evil. This journey, however, is not an easy or simple one. The polythetic dimensions that comprise the meaning and use of the word evil force his scholarly investigation not only to be multilayered and detail-oriented, but also to incorporate, in a rich tapestry of facts, conventions of daily use and theoretical speculations. The diverse contexts where the word evil is exercised, which represent its complex and imprecise meanings, require the author to distinguish carefully between
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Against Empathy
The Case for Rational Compassion
By Paul Bloom
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Apr 18th 2017.
Against Empathy by Paul BloomPaul Bloom makes a strong case against the use of empathy as a way to conduct our moral lives, although as several reviewers such as Constantine Sandis, have already pointed out, there is some ambiguity about what he means by it, and arguably he has defined it so narrowly that his thesis is less interesting than it sounds. He focuses on emotional empathy, where one feels the emotions that other people feel. He also includes cognitive empathy, which is directly relating to their cognitive states such as beliefs and desires, although it's not clear exactly what that means. To cognitively empathi
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An Intellectual Biography
By Joel Whitebook
Review by Michael Maidan on Tue, Apr 18th 2017.
Freud by Joel WhitebookJoel Whitebook is a practicing psychoanalyst, a teacher and researcher associated with Columbia University where he directs the Psychoanalytic Studies Program.  His Freud: An Intellectual Biography  'is a study of the relation between the unfolding of his thinking and crucial developments in his life history' (16). The book is a readable, enjoyable and well-documented biography of Freud that summarizes current scholarship, and makes good use of recently published archival materials. But, it is also more than that. Whitebook argues that we can identify two aspects in Freud's theory. O
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Sophie Spikey Has a Very Big Problem
A story about refusing help and needing to be in control
By Sarah Naish, Rosie Jefferies and Amy Farrell
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Apr 18th 2017.
Sophie Spikey Has a Very Big Problem by Sarah Naish, Rosie Jefferies and Amy FarrellThis UK book for young children tells the story of Sophie who is very young and is living with her new parents. We don't learn what happened to her old parents, but we do find out that Sophie had to learn to do a lot on her own when she was extremely young. Now, she doesn't like to be helped and is suspicious of people who try to help her. One day she and her Mum are going to go out shopping, but Sophie can't find her new shoes. So she gets out her old shoes from the trash can and gets a wet foot walking around. When her Mum notices, she works out what has gone wrong and talks her through the
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Gender and Race in an Age of Unsettled Identities
By Rogers Brubaker
Review by Guilel Treiber on Tue, Apr 11th 2017.
Trans by Rogers BrubakerDuring the summer of 2015 two events in the US colluded in creating what Rogers Brubaker calls a 'trans moment'. A moment in which people not only thought of trans as an identity but thought with trans as a category. A category that epitomizes the fluidity and multiplicity (or lack thereof) of identity and the possibility to move from one to another identity or to remain in an in-betweeness of identities. Even for those living outside the US the two events are quite well known. The first event was the coming out of Caitlyn Jenner (previously Bruce Jenner) as a M2F trans woman; the second event
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Emotions, Value, and Agency
By Christine Tappolet
Review by Robert Zaborowski on Tue, Apr 11th 2017.
Emotions, Value, and Agency by Christine TappoletIn this book with a vague title[[1]] Christine Tappolet aspires to provide us with "a highly attractive account of emotions" (xi). This is a brave attempt given the less than 200 pages of the text. As a result the argument is dense, yet still some issues are left aside. The book is a reworking of Tappolet's earlier contributions: of the five chapters only one is entirely new. I am not convinced if the project is completely successful: the five chapters are of varying quality and do not always match one another. Each chapter is closed with a tiny (no more than 1 page long) conclusion and, regre
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Means, Ends, and Persons
The Meaning and Psychological Dimensions of Kant's Humanity Formula
By Robert Audi
Review by Ebrahim Azadegan on Tue, Apr 11th 2017.
Means, Ends, and Persons by Robert Audi Robert Audi's aim in this book is to introduce an ethics of conducts to show that how our actions, intentions and manner of treating others ought to be interrelated in order to constitute a good conduct. He starts with Kantian humanity formula of his categorical imperative that we must treat persons as ends in themselves and never merely as a means. But he goes far beyond Kant's in constituting his ethics of conducts. He argues that neither utilitarianism nor Kantianism nor even virtue ethics could provide broadly enough frameworks for realization of multidimensional conception of moral respon
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The Brooklyn Nobody Knows
An Urban Walking Guide
By William B. Helmreich
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Apr 11th 2017.
The Brooklyn Nobody Knows by William B. HelmreichIn 400 pages, CUNY sociologist William Helmreich describes the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and makes recommendations about what to see when walking. The book is split into 43 different sections, one per geographical region, so each gets about 5-10 pages, including a map and some black and white photos. So The Brooklyn Nobody Knows is an easy book to dip into. Helmreich writes in the first person, describing his walks moving from street to street, reporting on the people he sees, who he encounters, and what it is like to be there. He gives recommendations about how to safe in the rare cases of da
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A Critical Overview of Biological Functions
By Justin Garson
Review by Diana Soeiro on Tue, Apr 4th 2017.
A Critical Overview of Biological Functions by Justin GarsonGarson's book revolves around one single question: what is a biological function? The author presents us an overview of most answers provided to the question, which is a task that is complex and at times confusing but for sure, useful. Garson's systematic, articulate and down-to-earth writing style should be praised, being effective in providing intelligibility to what is known to be an intricate topic. The author's critical perspective and his own answer to the book's main question are presented in last chapter.          But let us first frame the ques
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Memory and the Self
Phenomenology, Science and Autobiography
By Mark Rowlands
Review by Majid Davoody Beni on Tue, Apr 4th 2017.
 Memory and the Self by Mark RowlandsFor those of us who, like one of the author's boys, are curious about "[w]here do our memories go when we lose them?" it would be a joy to read Memory and the Self  (2016). The book is a multidisciplinary enquiry concerning the relation between the memory and the self. Memory, despite its inaccuracies and deficiencies, has an indispensable role in the constitution of the (autobiographical) self. Almost all the other elements of the book are mentioned in the title. That is to say, Rowlands relied on the resources of the phenomenological tradition (works of Brentano, Husserl, Heidegger, Pro
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Child Insanity in England, 1845-1907
By Steven Taylor
Review by Hennie Weiss on Tue, Apr 4th 2017.
Child Insanity in England, 1845-1907 by Steven TaylorSteven J. Taylor has focused on filling in the gaps and adding to the historical understanding and research of mental illness in children during a specific time period during the nineteenth century into the twentieth century. In Child Insanity in England, 1845-1907, Taylor focuses his attention on five pauper (meaning poor or not wealthy) lunatic asylums in both rural and urban areas. According to Taylor, the asylums were used primarily to control the deviant and insane population even though certain legal enactments existed to attempt to treat those deemed insane. Taylor uses a cultural
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