Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 23, Number 33
 
Featured Reviews
Dementia Reimagined by Tia PowellDementia Reimagined
by Tia Powell
Tue, Jul 16th 2019
Mind Games by Annie VernonMind Games
by Annie Vernon
Tue, Jul 16th 2019
How to Do Nothing by Jenny OdellHow to Do Nothing
by Jenny Odell
Tue, Jul 9th 2019
 
Doing Philosophy
From Common Curiosity to Logical Reasoning
By Timothy Williamson
Review by Camille Atkinson, PhD on Tue, Aug 13th 2019.
Doing Philosophy by Timothy WilliamsonBertrand Russell once said that philosophy was formed by "the residue," which remained after "definite" answers had been given, and insisted that "philosophical contemplation" should be distinguished from natural science and men's "practical" affairs. (Russell, Bertrand, "The Value of Philosophy," from The Problems of Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1969). The author of this book says philosophy is "like mathematics," in that it is a "non-natural science;" but, unlike mathematics, is not yet "fully mature." (p. 5) While both Russell and Williamson are respected logicians, their views dive
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On Animals
Volume II: Theological Ethics
By David L. Clough
Review by Bob Fischer on Tue, Aug 13th 2019.
On Animals by David L. CloughPhilosophers are writing a lot about animals these days. Christian theologians generally aren't. And that's a shame, even if you aren't particularly sympathetic to the Christian tradition. After all, there are roughly 2.2 billion Christians in the world today. Some of them are moved by secular moral argumentation, but a lot of them aren't. This isn't because they're unreasonable, but because they recognize that a lot of secular moral argumentation assumes premises that they reject. And if you reject the premises, you don't have any reason to accept the conclusions. The upshot: if you want to c
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All That You Leave Behind
A Memoir
By Erin Lee Carr
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Aug 13th 2019.
All That You Leave Behind by Erin Lee CarrThe Amazon review by ERB sums up most of my reactions to Erin Lee Carr's memoir. She is now in her early 30s, and is a successful documentary maker for HBO and other media companies. Her book is a love letter to her father David Carr, author of his addiction memoir Night of the Gun and media correspondent for the New York Times. David Carr, a serious smoker, died of lung cancer at the age of 58.  Going back to my own review of David Carr's memoir, I had forgotten how much I disliked the book for his writing style and his lack of insight into his own problems.
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Wunderland
A Novel
By Jennifer Cody Epstein
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Aug 13th 2019.
Wunderland by Jennifer Cody EpsteinWunderland is a novel about two families, mainly focusing on female characters, over more than fifty years, in Bremen, Germany in the 1930s and New York City in 1989. It starts out at the end of the story, with middle aged Ava Fisher receiving news of her mother Ilse's death, along with her mother's ashes, and letters her mother had written. Ava does not want her thirteen year old daughter to see this all, since she told her daughter that her grandmother died more than 10 years ago. The next scene goes back to a middle school classroom in Germany years before the Second World War. Renate
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The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics
By Lorraine L Besser and Michael Slote (Editors)
Review by Fred Guyette on Tue, Aug 6th 2019.
The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics by Lorraine L Besser and Michael Slote (Editors)The editors for this volume in the Routledge Philosophy Companions series are Lorraine Besser-Jones, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Middlebury College, and Michael Slote, Professor of Ethics and Philosophy at the University of Miami. They have drawn together 37 essays and divided them into four major sections: Part I "History of Virtue Ethics," Part II "Contemporary Approaches," Part III "Critical Interactions," and Part IV "Applications."        Modern moral philosophy has been dominated by utilitarianism and by Kantian theories of duty, law
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The Moral Psychology of Anger
By Myisha Cherry and Owen Flanagan (Editors)
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Aug 6th 2019.
The  Moral Psychology of Anger by Myisha Cherry and Owen Flanagan (Editors)Anger has been getting a lot of attention in moral philosophy, which is partially due to Matha Nussbaum, who argued in her 2016 Anger and Forgiveness that anger is not a helpful emotion in reacting to wrongdoing and injustice, although she qualifies this by granting a place for a temporary transitional anger. Her main target is retribution, and she argues that anger is essentially about seeking retribution. It's an interesting debate, and one that has been going on since ancient times. The Stoic Seneca regarded anger as dangerous because it led to a loss of self-control, making a per
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The Scientific Attitude
Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience
By Lee McIntyre
Review by Maura Pilotti, Ph.D. on Tue, Aug 6th 2019.
The Scientific Attitude by Lee McIntyreImagine that you are an archeologist who has stumbled upon a strangely shaped artifact on the ground while surveying an area for potential excavation. You pick it up, and, with growing curiosity and perhaps even excitement, you take it to your lab. There, you use a magnifying glass or some other probing tool to methodically examine it. You also rely on your knowledge of the extant literature to understand its nature, albeit the available information does not help you much since different views exist of its likely properties. In the end, you generate your interpretation after having considered
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Searching for Sylvie Lee
A Novel
By Jean Kwok
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Aug 6th 2019.
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean KwokJean Kwok has written three novels of Chinese-American life, starting with her debut from 2010, Girl in Translation.  Kwok's Searching for Sylvie Lee is a cultural phenomenon. It was chosen for Jenna Bush Hager's Today Show Book Club this year, and this already made it a bestseller. The club began in March of this year according to EW.com and has so had just female authors for its choices. Indeed, two of the choices so far have had explicitly cross cultural themes: Etaf Rum's A Woman is No Man, and Kwok's novel. #ReadwithJenna provides a helpfu
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Thomas Szasz
An Appraisal of his Legacy
By C.V. Haldipur, James L. Knoll IV, and Eric v.d. Luft (Editors)
Review by Sharon Packer, MD on Tue, Jul 30th 2019.
Thomas Szasz by  C.V. Haldipur, James L. Knoll IV, and Eric v.d. Luft (Editors)Arkham Asylum, the world's best-selling video game to date, and a major player in the very major Batman universe, includes a character named "Victor Zsasz," also known as Mr. Zsasz or just plain Zsasz. Mr. Zsasz appears in the comics, in the TV show Gotham, in the film, Batman Begins, and in two other iterations of Arkham Asylum (for the Criminally Insane). Mr. Zsasz is always a villain, and a vicious knife-wielding one at that. Zsasz never appears as a psychiatrist in the Batman universe and is never addressed with the honorific, "Doctor," li
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The Incurable Romantic
And Other Tales of Madness and Desire
By Frank Tallis
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 30th 2019.
The Incurable Romantic by Frank TallisFrank Tallis is a British psychotherapist and a prolific writer. He has many novels in the mystery and supernatural genres, and three books about psychotherapy: Hidden Minds: A History of the Unconscious (2002), Love Sick: Love as a Mental Illness (2005) and now The Incurable Romantic. Tallis points out at the end of this book that while the classical authors of literature have played a great deal to romantic love and the problems that come with it. It is neglected in the modern psychological literature and in therapeutic training. This might seem surprising since atta
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Ways of Hearing
By Damon Krukowski
Review by Lars Aagaard-Mogensen on Tue, Jul 30th 2019.
Ways of Hearing by Damon KrukowskiWays of Hearing is a misleading title, at least it misled this reader to expect it to do with hearing, the sense, the faculty humans possess. And it is marketed in the category LCSH: Music -- social aspects. Nor is it about music as such, but only about "folk-rock" as told by one of its performers. The aspects are mainly about Krukowski's views of the production of that in his experience. Offered to be a pendant to, inspired by, John Berger's Ways of Seeing, be that as it may, neither in any way a match for Nelson Goodman's Ways of Worldmaking. In fact, this very slim paperback
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Acts of Infidelity
By Lena Andersson
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 30th 2019.
Acts of Infidelity by Lena AnderssonLena Andersson's first novel was Willful Disregard: A Novel About Love, published in translation from the Swedish in 2016. This is the sequel. It features the same main character, Ester. She is a philosopher and a play writer. She is single. She gets involved with a married man, Olov, who is a married man. They are both middle aged. He is an actor and he travels a lot. They share interests in philosophy and theatre and they hit it off together. They have a fling and then for the rest of the book, Ester pursues Olov while he maintains a distance, but also teasing her, and keeping her on th
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Suffering and Virtue
By Michael S. Brady
Review by María D. García-Arnaldos on Tue, Jul 23rd 2019.
Suffering and Virtue by Michael S. BradyIt is risky to talk about pain. It is one of those subjects in which we move as in a pendulum; or, we avoid talking about it and we choose to silence it; or, we cannot hush it. We cannot deny that pain is repugnant to human nature and that, in principle, it would be unbearable if we did not have someone by our side for whom to continue living or with whom to cope with suffering. Some people understand that, in a broad sense, the pain has no other result than to produce further suffering, something absurd and meaningless. A person who is in a state of pain seems to stop being subject because h
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The Phenomenology of Sex, Love, and Intimacy
By Susi Ferrarello
Review by Khashayar Boroomandjazi on Tue, Jul 23rd 2019.
The Phenomenology of Sex, Love, and Intimacy by Susi FerrarelloThe concept of love has always been of interest to philosophers since the ancient times to the extent that philosophy itself in its beginning for Greeks has been conceived as a form of love. However, there is still a lot to do in this field, especially with respect to the relevant contemporary challenges like those related to gender problems and the so-called abnormal sexual behaviors. The Phenomenology of Sex, Love, and Intimacy is the recent book that Susi Ferrarello, professor of philosophy, has published, with concern with such issues, in order to "help the reader to reflect on l
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How Art Works
A Psychological Exploration
By Ellen Winner
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jul 23rd 2019.
How Art Works by Ellen WinnerEllen Winner sets out the psychological study of art in a methodical and approachable fashion. She says what she will show, she shows it, and then she summarizes what she has shown. Her approach is very much empirically based, with many experiments explained and discussed. The questions she addresses are often inspired by philosophical discussion but she sticks to the empirical issues. Most of the experiments she discusses are relatively simple and thus don't attempt to capture the sophistication of some fancy psychological theories of art (such as psychoanalytic) which are essentially untesta
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