Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 23, Number 17
Featured Reviews
The Age of Culpability by Gideon YaffeThe Age of Culpability
by Gideon Yaffe
Tue, Mar 19th 2019
Doing Harm by Maya DusenberyDoing Harm
by Maya Dusenbery
Tue, Mar 12th 2019
The Existential Drinker by Steven EarnshawThe Existential Drinker
by Steven Earnshaw
Tue, Mar 12th 2019
Seeing, Knowing, Understanding
Philosophical Essays
By Barry Stroud
Review by Ulla Schmid on Tue, Apr 23rd 2019.
Seeing, Knowing, Understanding by Barry StroudBarry Stroud's recent essay collection comprises nineteen essays, the majority of which was published between 2001 and 2017. The book presents a representative overview over the themes, methods, and authors Stroud has engaged with throughout his philosophical life-work. In the first two essays, "What is philosophy?", and his Dewey Lecture, "The Pursuit of Philosophy", Stroud invites the reader to join him in philosophising. His journey leads through questions of perception and perceptual knowledge (essays three to eight), via a treatment of the conceptual conditions of knowledge and judgement
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Charles S. Peirce's Phenomenology
Analysis and Consciousness
By Richard Kenneth Atkins
Review by Aline Maya-Paredes, PhD on Tue, Apr 23rd 2019.
Charles S. Peirce's Phenomenology by Richard Kenneth AtkinsThis book is a much-needed compendium of Peirce's phenomenology, a subject which had received little scholarly attention, unlike Peirce's semiotics and pragmatism. Charles S. Peirce's Phenomenology is a successful endeavour that puts together Peirce's account of phenomenology in a sequential, logical way, drawing from original sources such as conferences, papers, books and previously unpublished material. Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) is an important American philosopher of the early 20th century, who, arguably, laid the foundations for modern pragmatism; abduction (also k
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Love & Other Curses
By Michael Thomas Ford
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Apr 23rd 2019.
Love & Other Curses by Michael Thomas FordLove & Other Curses is a YA novel about gender, sexuality and gender fluidity in small town America. Sam is 16 and gay. His family has no problem with that, and he doesn't have any trouble at school either. His mother died some time ago and Sam's main connection with her is through notes she left in 21 of her vinyl albums of her favorite artists, with assessments of the music. He has memorized them all. There are some good albums on the list. It's summertime and Sam is preoccupied by his family curse -- those who fall in love before they are 17 will die. So far he hasn't been at risk
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The Bloomsbury Companion to Philosophy of Psychiatry
By Serife Tekin and Robyn Bluhm (Editors)
Review by G. Scott Waterman on Tue, Apr 16th 2019.
The Bloomsbury Companion to Philosophy of Psychiatry by Serife Tekin and Robyn Bluhm (Editors)Assessments of the value of philosophical inquiry range from Socrates' principled assertion at his trial that "the unexamined life is not worth living" to the snarky (albeit clever) crack, often attributed to physicist Richard Feynman, that "philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds." Practitioners, investigators, and teachers of psychiatry and related disciplines would be well advised to put aside whatever suspicions about philosophy they might share with the jury pool of classical Athens or with self-assured modern physicists and engage in a serious ex
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The Problem of War
Darwinism, Christianity, and their Battle to Understand Human Conflict
By Michael Ruse
Review by Bob Lane on Tue, Apr 16th 2019.
The Problem of War by Michael RuseRuse ends with "War is a horrible thing. We should work together toward a bigger picture." Almost no person in this world will disagree with that sentiment. War IS a terrible thing, and we continue to be involved in war year after year after year. Why? Is the answer in our culture? Or is it in our biology? Or, perhaps in our religion? Why do we, knowing of war's consequences, continue to glorify it, to participate in it, to kill and die for it? Ruse writes, "Since I was a schoolboy, I have been haunted by Wilfred Owen's terrible poem, written as the conflict was about to enter its final year.
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Still in Love
A Novel
By Michael Downing
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Apr 16th 2019.
Still in Love by Michael DowningDespite its title, there is remarkably little romance in this academic novel. It is written in the third person, from the point of view of Mark Sternum, who teaches at a New England college. His one class is a small seminar in creative writing, and he doesn't even teach that on his own. His co-teacher is "the Professor," whose identity is only revealed late in the game. The book starts at the beginning of the semester, and follows it through. There are many threads in the plot, both in Mark's own life and in his following the progress of his seminar students. His boyfriend has gone off to Ital
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Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
By Lori Gottlieb
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Apr 2nd 2019.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori GottliebTherapist Lori Gottlieb's memoir of the personal crisis she faced that led her to go back into therapy is a gripping read. She recounts both her own experience as a therapist with some striking patients, and her finding a new therapist for herself after her boyfriend broke off their engagement. The chapters are pretty short and the writing is vivid. Gottlieb questions her own methods and assumptions, and examines the constraints of the role of therapists, and comes to grow through both her patients and her own psychotherapy practice. Gottlieb previously published a memoir of her own anorexia,
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The Bodymind Ballwork Method
A Self-Directed Practice to Help You Move with Ease, Release Tension, and Relieve Chronic Pain
By Ellen Saltonstall
Review by Beth Cholette, Ph.D. on Tue, Apr 2nd 2019.
The Bodymind Ballwork Method by Ellen SaltonstallAuthor Ellen Saltonstall is a yoga instructor who also has a background in massage therapy and dance.  She has written several prior yoga-themed books on anatomy, osteoporosis, and arthritis.  In The Bodymind Ballwork Method, Saltonstall coalesces her various areas of expertise to offer a comprehensive guide to self-care and healing through the use of rubber balls for self-massage and release.  This work is designed to create a sense of "embodied self-awareness," or attention to one's present sensory experience without judgment. Saltonstall lays the groundwork for this met
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Serving the Servant
Remembering Kurt Cobain
By Danny Goldberg
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Apr 2nd 2019.
Serving the Servant by Danny GoldbergDanny Goldberg is a big name in the music business. He knew Kurt Cobain in a professional context and they became friends. He advised Kurt and Courtney Love as they became rich, and he tried to help Kurt stop taking heroin. In Serving the Servant, he recounts his experience with Kurt and his thoughts about Kurt's life. Goldberg was in his 40s while Kurt was in his 20s. It's very much a memoir rather than a biography, and but Kurt died young, so Goldberg knew him for all of the time that he was on a major label. He depicts Kurt as a smart, kind and sensitive artist who was very savvy
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The Collected Schizophrenias
By Esmé Weijun Wang
Review by Jennifer Radden on Tue, Mar 26th 2019.
The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun WangEsme Weijun Wang's lively and sensitive collected essays assert no overarching, positive thesis about mental disorder, nor can they be summarized to form one. Yet even their title reveals the compelling theme they convey, through "schizophrenias" in the plural. This is in homage to Bleuler, whom she makes clear she has read. But more importantly, it is a tip-off to the reader that there are no categorical certainties here at all. Perhaps the symptoms she describes from her own experiences with disorder and diagnosis are "schizophrenia" (or the later applied "schizo-affective disorder" blending
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The Case against Education
Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money
By Bryan Caplan
Review by Hans Krauch on Tue, Mar 26th 2019.
The Case against Education by Bryan Caplan In this book, Bryan Caplan succeeds, at the very least, to make a case to support a reasonable doubt about the effectiveness of providing a University education to the masses.  Caplan himself is a University professor of economics by trade, and thus his arguments for rejecting the usefulness of a university education is based within the realm of economics and statistics – though he does attempt to capture elements outside of these realms within his scope of expertise (with varying degrees of success) in order to give a more complete picture of this problem of education.  Capla
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A Novel
By Julie Buntin
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Mar 26th 2019.
Marlena by Julie BuntinThis is a story of high school, of teen friendship and family problems. But it is not a YA novel, being darker than that. The writing is more self-conscious and literary than most YA novels too. Cat is 15 years old when she moves to small town Michigan, and she makes friends with Marlena, who is a little older and more messed up. We know from early on that Marlena will die and that Cat will move to New York and have a successful career but she will also have many difficult times. Cat narrates the story from the perspective of many years later, but also recounting the events as if they are in t
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How to Be a Patient
The Essential Guide to Navigating the World of Modern Medicine
By Sana Goldberg
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Mar 19th 2019.
How to Be a Patient by Sana GoldbergSome people trust their doctors and take their advice. But that's not always a good idea. Different doctors can have different opinions and they make mistakes. In the USA especially, patients go through a great deal of unnecessary testing and treatment (source). Even more alarming, medical error is the third leading cause of death in the USA (source). As most people also experience, dealing with billing and health insurance in the USA is a nightmare. Trying to make a rational decision about treatment options is made much more difficult when providers refuse to be upfront about costs ahead of t
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EMDR Therapy and Somatic Psychology
Interventions to Enhance Embodiment in Trauma Treatment
By Arielle Schwartz and Barb Maiberger
Review by Roy Sugarman, PhD on Tue, Mar 19th 2019.
EMDR Therapy and Somatic Psychology by Arielle Schwartz and Barb MaibergerEMDR has been around for a long time now, and although initially it had its critics, ("what works is not new, and what is new doesn't work"), it nevertheless has acquired an evidence base and hence credibility as a first-line treatment for PTSD and other conditions. Somatic therapy has been around in various guises for some time and involves bringing the body into an otherwise talking-cure dominated field. Given Damasio's and others work around somatic markers, and the understanding, over time, that emotions are physiological entities, as opposed to feelings, which are more mentation-experienc
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The Age of Culpability
Children and the Nature of Criminal Responsibility
By Gideon Yaffe
Review by Gabriel De Marco, Ph.D. on Tue, Mar 19th 2019.
The Age of Culpability by Gideon YaffeKids, that is, those who are under the age of 18, should be treated more leniently than adults by the criminal justice system. One of Gideon Yaffe's main goals in this book is to offer a rationale for this belief. The claim to be explained is not simply that the state should generally be lenient towards kids, but rather, that the state should be lenient towards all kids. This does not mean that kids should, in every instance, get less severe punishments than adults who, outside of age, are identical to the kids. Leniency can be manifested in various ways; e.g., different limits on the sentence
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