Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 23, Number 38
Featured Reviews
On Animals by David L. CloughOn Animals
by David L. Clough
Tue, Aug 13th 2019
Wunderland by Jennifer Cody EpsteinWunderland
by Jennifer Cody Epstein
Tue, Aug 13th 2019
The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics by Lorraine L Besser and Michael Slote (Editors)The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics
by Lorraine L Besser and Michael Slote (Editors)
Tue, Aug 6th 2019
The Moral Psychology of Disgust
By Nina Strohminger and Victor Kumar (Editors)
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 17th 2019.
The Moral Psychology of Disgust by Nina Strohminger and Victor Kumar (Editors)Another in Rowman's series Moral Psychology of the Emotions, this volume on disgust follows the pattern set by others in the series. It is a little thicker than some others, having 11 contributions plus an introduction. The 6 psychology papers take up about 130 pages, compared to 88 pages for the 5 philosophy papers, but that is largely because the empirical papers have so many pages of references. The number of pages of main text is roughly similar. There has been a fair amount of discussion within recent philosophy and psychology about how disgust works, what function it serves, and how
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The Varieties of Consciousness
By Uriah Kriegel
Review by Robert Zaborowski on Tue, Sep 17th 2019.
The Varieties of Consciousness by Uriah Kriegel This book was published originally in 2015 and now it reappears as a paperback. This is a fantastic work, both for its clarity of presentation and precision of analysis. It is composed of an introduction, five chapters and conclusion, plus an appendix which ends with "concluding remarks and directions for future research" (241). Kriegel's approach is both subtle and convincing, well-argued and prudent. The methodology is transparent and the plan of the outline makes it pleasant and easy to follow. The aim of the book is to determine the number of "sui generis, irreducible, primitive phenome
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Finishing Our Story
Preparing for the End of Life
By Gregory L Eastwood
Review by Roy Sugarman, PhD on Tue, Sep 17th 2019.
Finishing Our Story by Gregory L EastwoodNot the cheeriest title in the world, for not the cheeriest subject, but of course for now, perhaps until 3-D printers get better, inevitable that all of us living creatures will come to die. Death of course has changed, as has pain or other phenomenon of life, as time and medicine has progressed. The author indeed notes this to start, comparing his grandmother's death by serial stroke at home to the modern stainless-steel dominated hospital ward room where we seem to die most often in the Western World.  Retirement isn't what it used to be either. Whereas we couldn't crack open chests of
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Life's Values
Pleasure, Happiness, Well-Being, and Meaning
By Alan H. Goldman
Review by Kamuran Elbeyoğlu on Tue, Sep 17th 2019.
Life's Values by Alan H. GoldmanThe meaning of life is an everlasting question searched by both philosophers since Ancient times and recently psychologists and great many people throughout our times. Alan Goldman in this intuitive book tackles the meaning of life through its connection with pleasure, happiness and well-being. Pleasure and happiness has been in the agenda of most philosophers and psychologist written on well-being and meaning of life, because since Ancient times these concepts have been conceptualized as having strong ties to what a good life consists of. Alan Goldman in Life's Values Pleasure, Happines
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Mind Fixers
Psychiatry's Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness
By Anne Harrington
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 10th 2019.
Mind Fixers by  Anne HarringtonAnne Harrington is a historian of science at Harvard who specializes in the sciences of the mind and brain. Her slightly out of date home page reports that the title of the book she is working on is The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry: What Really Happened?  The title she ended up with, Mind Fixers: Psychiatry's Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness, is not just more catchy but also more indicative of Harrington's scepticism about the so-called biological revolution that is meant to have transformed our understanding of mental disorders. There have been
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Ethics Beyond the Limits
New Essays on Bernard Williamsí Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy
By Sophie Grace Chappell and Marcel van Ackeren (Editors)
Review by Joe Slater on Tue, Sep 10th 2019.
Ethics Beyond the Limits by Sophie Grace Chappell and Marcel van Ackeren (Editors)Bernard Williams can appropriately be considered a heretic figure in twentieth century philosophy. While many moral philosophers were working on finessing moral theories to overcome various objections, Williams scrutinized the very project of a morality system. While others tried to abstract away from contingent social factors of our daily lives, Williams emphasized the importance of our actual experiences. And while many ethicists hoped to show that moral philosophy could offer us serious elucidation about how we ought to live and think about how we ought to live, Williams was eager
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Silent Partners
Human Subjects and Research Ethics
By Rebecca Dresser
Review by Erich von Dietze on Tue, Sep 10th 2019.
Silent Partners by Rebecca DresserRebecca Dresser's personal experience of cancer diagnosis, in the context of which she faced decisions concerning both routine treatment and research participation, was the instigation for this interesting volume.  Dresser quickly became aware of the trade-offs between research and treatment, and faced the difficulty of making health-based decisions when challenged with the choice of either standard treatment or the proposed research (and the risk she could be assigned to a placebo).  She chose standard treatment over research participation but later reflected that this raised confli
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A Philosophical Introduction
By Mari Mikkola
Review by Giulia Luvisotto on Tue, Sep 10th 2019.
Pornography by Mari MikkolaThere are two main views on what is the legitimate object of philosophical inquiry. Some hold that the endeavor of philosophy is to answer specific questions; on the nature of things, on the source of consciousness, on what is wrong to do. Others hold that philosophy should illuminate and apply to every aspect of our life. To whomever belongs to the first category, Mari Mikkola's Pornography: a philosophical introduction is highly recommended. This book provides clear evidence that philosophy can investigate topics that do not belong to the traditional corpus without losing
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Bring Them Home
By D. S. Butler
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 10th 2019.
Bring Them Home by D. S. ButlerSet in the northern English town of Heighington in Lincolnshire, Bring Them Home is a detective mystery with a feminist slant. It is the first featuring Detective Karent Hart. It starts with the abduction of two 10-year-old girls, features a case of persistent domestic abuse of a woman, and links to another case of a 19-year-old woman who disappeared several months ago. Butler is a prolific writer who churns out detective novels under several different names. The book has a hastily written feel and the characterization is pretty weak. The plot has some major gaps of plausibility. But
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The Moral Psychology of Forgiveness
By Kathryn J. Norlock (editor)
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 3rd 2019.
The Moral Psychology of Forgiveness by Kathryn J. Norlock (editor)One might wonder why forgiveness is a topic in a book series on the moral psychology of emotions. On the face of it, forgiving is primarily an action or process, associated with some emotions such as compassion, humility, and maybe a rejection of anger. But forgiveness is not obviously an emotion.  Nevertheless, forgiving is an important moral action that is connected with moral emotions, so there is certainly plenty of moral psychology to discuss. This collection of psychological and philosophical short papers does that. It is a relatively short book at about 210 pages. There are ei
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The Truth About Animals
Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife
By Lucy Cooke
Review by Roy Sugarman, PhD on Tue, Sep 3rd 2019.
The Truth About Animals by Lucy CookeLucy is a zoologist with a subtle and wicked sense of humor which comes out constantly across the chapters of this entertaining book. She does set out however with a serious attempt to educate us to the amazing facts that will in some cases challenge our long-held views about animals, such as vultures and hyenas. As someone from Africa originally who knows a lot about these animals in particular, I can tell you I knew a lot more than you are likely to, and NOTHING compared to Lucy and her collaborators. This is the kind of book that makes you want to dominate the dinner conversation and start
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The Song of the Jade Lily
A Novel
By Kirsty Manning
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Sep 3rd 2019.
The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty ManningAustralian author Kirsty Manning has written two historical novels, but The Song of the Jade Lilly (or just The Jade Lily in Australia) is her US debut. It combines different genres, switching between Shanghai during the second world war and in the present day, giving the reader romance, mystery, tragedy, strong female lead characters, Chinese medicine and cooking. Fundamentally it is a book about war, the dehumanization of some groups by others, and the atrocities that result. But it is also illuminating an aspect of World War II that will be unfamiliar to most readers: th
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Missing Pieces
By Ken Cathers
Review by Bob Lane on Tue, Sep 3rd 2019.
Missing Pieces by Ken CathersHave you ever been working on a puzzle and after hours of fitting pieces together you discover that there are a few missing pieces that make it impossible to complete the puzzle? Ever considered that a human life is like a puzzle? Who hasn’t? When you are feeling incomplete or troubled by loss or a missing connection it is a normal feeling to consider that something is missing. Some missing piece that makes it difficult to go on, to be at peace with the world. The poems in this collection come from a place like that. In poem after poem the words construct and revel in the power of lan
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Philosophy of Action from Suarez to Anscombe
By Constantine Sandis (Editor)
Review by Lucy Campbell and Alexander Greenberg on Tue, Aug 27th 2019.
Philosophy of Action from Suarez to Anscombe by Constantine Sandis (Editor)Philosophy of Action from Suarez to Anscombe, edited by Constantine Sandis, features an introduction and 11 chapters, each of which focuses on the philosophy of action of one or more figures from the period, or on arguments drawn from those figures. The collection stems from the Philosophical Accounts of Action conference at Senate House, London in May 2013, and all of the chapters, along with the collection's preface, were previously published as a special issue of Philosophical Explorations (21(1), 2018). The collection does not aim at total coverage of the period, but ra
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An Intellectual Biography
By James A. Harris
Review by Gregory F.W. Todd, J.D., MSc on Tue, Aug 27th 2019.
Hume by James A. HarrisJames Harris's impressive Hume: An Intellectual Biography was published in hardback in late 2015.  As of January 2019, it has been issued as well in paperback, making the work easily affordable to any reader with a serious interest in Hume.  Harris is Professor in the History of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, with a long association not only with Hume's epistemology and ethics (as taught today, his "philosophy"), but also Hume's six-volume History of England, for which Hume was best known during his lifetime, and his extensive writings on economi
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