Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 23, Number 08
 
Featured Reviews
RX by Rachel LindsayRX
by Rachel Lindsay
Tue, Jan 1st 2019
The Age of Culpability by Gideon YaffeThe Age of Culpability
by Gideon Yaffe
Tue, Dec 25th 2018
Animal Welfare in a Changing World by Andy ButterworthAnimal Welfare in a Changing World
by Andy Butterworth
Tue, Dec 25th 2018
 
Phenomenology
The Basics
By Dan Zahavi
Review by Khashayar Boroomandjazi on Tue, Feb 19th 2019.
Phenomenology by Dan ZahaviWhat is phenomenology? What do phenomenologists do? How can phenomenological studies contribute to other fields than philosophy? These are the guiding questions that Dan Zahavi, who is a philosophy professor at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Oxford, responds to in his recent book, Phenomenology: The Basics.  It provides an approachable introduction to one of the most significant and productive movements in contemporary philosophy through a combination of a problem-centered approach and certain historical considerations.      The book is struct
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The Origins of Happiness
The Science of Well-Being over the Life Course
By Andrew Clark,, Sarah Flèche,, Richard Layard,, Nattavudh Powdthavee, George Ward
Review by Brian Morreale on Tue, Feb 19th 2019.
The Origins of Happiness by Andrew Clark,, Sarah Flèche,, Richard Layard,, Nattavudh Powdthavee, George WardHow can an individual become satisfied and happy in their life? Many researchers, within the last 80 years, have conducted extensive research on what influences happiness. Happiness is the combination of external stimuli that make up the life of an individual. Additionally, overall health of an individual also indicates happiness. Although happiness is an abstract idea, everyone can feel it and know what it is. Everyone experiences happiness for different reasons. Therefore, finding an objective definition is difficult. However, Andrew Clark, Sarah Fleche, Richard Layard, Nattavudh Powdthavee,
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Oh My Goth
By Gena Showalter
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Feb 19th 2019.
Oh My Goth by Gena ShowalterGena Showalter is a prolific author of romance, fantasy and young adult novels, who has published more than 25 books in the last 17 years. Her latest publication is The Darkest Captive: Lords of The Underworld. Oh My Goth was first published by MTV Books in 2006. It has now been revised by the author and republished by Harlequin Teen, released in multiple formats, including an 8.5 hour audiobook version performed by Katie Koster. Strangely, even though originally released by a publisher associated with MTV, Oh My Goth has no reference to Goth music -- no Cure, no Sist
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The Beginnings of Philosophy in Greece
By Maria Michela Sassi
Review by Michael Maidan on Tue, Feb 12th 2019.
The Beginnings of Philosophy in Greece by Maria Michela SassiHow and why did Philosophy begin in Greece? The traditional answer to this question points at a group of thinkers that become consecrated as the predecessors and forefathers of philosophical inquiry. Since the early 20th Century they are known collectively as the Presocratics and, according to a tradition that originates in Plato and Aristotle, these early thinkers have been mainly interested in the study of the physical world. Aristotle declared famously that 'of the first philosophers…most thought the principles which were of the nature of matter were the only principles of all t
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The Problem of War
Darwinism, Christianity, and their Battle to Understand Human Conflict
By Michael Ruse
Review by Fred Guyette on Tue, Feb 12th 2019.
The Problem of War by Michael RuseIn The Sermon of the Mount, Jesus taught his followers that they must "turn the other cheek" if ever they were struck by an enemy. When Jesus himself was being arrested by the soldiers of Rome, he did not defend himself. Peter drew his sword to fight for him, but Jesus commanded him to put it away. Then Jesus went willingly to be tried and executed by Pilate. However, Christianity became the state religion early in the fourth century, and roughly a hundred years later we find Augustine writing about the conditions that must be met for Christian warriors to fight for a just cause (p. 49-54). In
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I Am Dynamite!
A Life of Nietzsche
By Sue Prideaux
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Feb 12th 2019.
I Am Dynamite! by Sue PrideauxHaving struggled mightily to make sense of Nietzsche's moral philosophy and assess whether his work is worth studying, I found Sue Prideaux's biography of the man a revelation. Putting his ideas in the context of his life, showing the development of his ideas and how they were reactions to his life circumstances, Prideaux makes sense of Nietzsche. It is also very helpful to know what most of his works were written in a great rush, between his illnesses, while he was able to focus, battling the severe problems with his eyesight. This explains why so much of his work looks like a stream of wild
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America's Jails
The Search for Human Dignity in an Age of Mass Incarceration
By Derek Jeffreys
Review by Anna K. Swartz on Tue, Feb 12th 2019.
America's Jails by Derek JeffreysDo not waste your time reading America's Jails, which is yet account of a privileged white outsider speaking for and over (and thus, silencing) the voices of the incarcerated under the ruse of protecting them. The book written by Derek Jeffreys, a market-minded professor of humanistic studies and religion at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, epitomizes a phenomenon described by Cole (2012) as the "White Industrial Savior Complex," which, as he writes, is "not about justice" but "about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege." Who thought this was a good idea?
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Self-Consciousness and 'Split' Brains
The Mind's I
By Elizabeth Schechter
Review by Kamuran Elbeyoğlu on Tue, Feb 5th 2019.
Self-Consciousness and 'Split' Brains by Elizabeth SchechterThe nature of the person is one of the most discussed and most controversial issues in modern philosophy and also recently, in psychology. The phenomenon of split brain cases presents a puzzle for our understanding and thinking about what it is to be a person, for in such cases we are not sure whether only one person or two distinct persons associated with each one of the hemispheres, exist in one body. Split-brain surgeries involve a complete or partial section of the corpus callosum and consequently divides all direct links between the hemispheres in order to cure epileptic seizures in 1960'
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No Apparent Distress
A Doctor's Coming of Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine
By Rachel Pearson
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Feb 5th 2019.
No Apparent Distress by Rachel PearsonThis memoir by Rachel Pearson details her extraordinary childhood in poverty with a loving family that moulded her personality, her success in education and her start in creative writing, and then her move to medical school and then working as a medical student in rural Texas. She is a talented writer who is profoundly concerned with social issues and the importance of fair and compassionate treatment for people who live in very difficult circumstances. Most of the memoir is about the free clinic she worked at in Galveston. Early in the work, she talks about the effect of Hurricane Ike on the
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The Witch Elm
Tana French
By Tana French
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Feb 5th 2019.
The Witch Elm by Tana FrenchThe Witch Elm won high praise in 2018 from critics, but was received less warmly by fans of Tana French's previous crime novels. It's a long book at over 500 pages, with the audiobook version at over 22 hours. Toby, a young Irishman, narrates his horrific story with its multiple twists and turns, leading to a particularly dark ending. There is a crime at the center for the story, but it does not fit neatly into the category of crime novel. It's both psychological and ethical, exploring Toby's fragile self-understanding and constantly prodding the reader to assess Toby's moral character. T
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Warlight
A Novel
By Michael Ondaatje
Review by Bob Lane on Tue, Feb 5th 2019.
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje"Most of the great battles are fought in the creases of topographical maps."    That is the introductory quote for the novel. And, yes, it is a novel. But its subject matter and detail certainly suggest recent history, post WWII history, in and around London during and after the war. To get a good sense of the time and place I suggest reading the four pages of "Acknowledgements" at the end of the book where information about sources is extensive and useful. Two personal notes before writing about the book: first, I want to say it is a beautifully written, often heartbreaking work t
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Literatures of Madness
Disability Studies and Mental Health
By Elizabeth J. Donaldson (Editor)
Review by Diane R. Wiener, M.S.W., Ph.D. on Tue, Jan 22nd 2019.
Literatures of Madness by Elizabeth J. Donaldson (Editor)This groundbreaking book takes as its premise a series of commitments to bridging myriad gaps, anew.  In its formulations, which critique overtly but likewise adopt necessarily the specificities of academic publication requirements, a plethora of people's divergent disability ("crip") identities and variegated mental health/illness ("mad") identities no longer need to be split (no pun, here) along an already false binary line.  As the contributing authors demonstrate in various ways, by exploring fictional, autobiographical, imagistic, media, and other forms, one might self-identify
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Genetics in the Madhouse
The Unknown History of Human Heredity
By Theodore M. Porter
Review by Diana Soeiro, Ph.D. on Tue, Jan 22nd 2019.
Genetics in the Madhouse by Theodore M. Porter Those who are fascinated by numbers and the power they hold will find this book a good read. However, the decisive factor that makes this book highly relevant is that it addresses the power behind numbers in the realm of mental health institutions, between 1789 and 1939. In 'Madness and Civilization' (1964; 'Folie et Déraison', 1961), Michel Foucault describes the development of the concept of madness identifying three phases: the Renaissance, the 'Classical Age' (17th-18th) and the modern experience. Porter's current book picks up where Foucault left off. Furthermore, his goal is diffe
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Why Honor Matters
By Tamler Sommers
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jan 22nd 2019.
Why Honor Matters by Tamler SommersTamler Sommers is a professor at the University of Houston who has been active in the experimental philosophy movement. He is author of A Very Bad Wizard, a collection of interviews with moral philosophers and psychologists, which was an offshoot of his podcast with David Pizarro, Very Bad Wizards. In his new book, Why Honor Matters, written for a trade publisher and aimed at a general readership, he makes a case that it is worth promoting honor as a virtue. Sommers himself reads the unabridged audiobook version of the book, and delivers a strong dose of conviction and warm
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The Meaning of Life and the Great Philosophers
By Stephen Leach and James Tartaglia (Editors)
Review by Kamuran Elbeyoğlu on Tue, Jan 8th 2019.
The Meaning of Life and the Great Philosophers by Stephen Leach and James Tartaglia (Editors)The meaning of life is an everlasting question searched by great many people throughout human history. The same question has been in the agenda of philosophers since Ancient times, since it is mainly a philosophical question, strongly tied to the conception of what a good life consists of. But as the editors of this enlightening collection of essays acknowledge, this topic is typically discussed amid so many other concerns, and under such a wide range of different terminologies, that it can sometimes be far from obvious that a particular philosopher’s view in the area amount to. Stephen
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