It has been known for some time that exercise was more likely to benefit brain health and neuronal connectivity than sitting on a computer playing brain games. For more than a decade, authors such as John Ratey (a psychiatrist) alongside these authors have recognized that various growth factors are released by robust exercise, including BDNF and other brain-trophic chemistry (Simon is in fact a colleague in my faculty at UNSW in Sydney).
Other conditions, such as chronic pain are now known to be classed as 'neuroplasticity gone wild' and we have known since 2011 and earlier that this was not Click here to read the full review!
Mind the Body An Exploration of Bodily Self-Awareness By Frédérique de Vignemont Review by Eric v.d. Luft on Tue, Dec 11th 2018.
Mind the Body is a book in the philosophy of empirical psychology. That is, Vignemont judges some of the findings, arguments, and priorities of empirical psychology. Her main point is that one's ownership of one's own body "cannot be reduced to a sensory quality" but also has "agentive and affective dimensions" (pp. 47-48). Of course, this point has been well-known and well-argued ever since Socrates dismissed Anaxagoras in Plato's Phaedo 97c-99c. Perhaps its finest recent expression is in Meditation on a Prisoner by Edward Pols (1975) and any number of subsequ Click here to read the full review!
Schadenfreude The Joy of Another's Misfortune By Tiffany Watt Smith Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Dec 11th 2018.
We take pleasure in the misfortune of some other people. The fancy German name for this pleasure is Schadenfreude. Tiffany Watt Smith has written a whole book on it. Naturally it is slim volume at a little over 150 pages since how much there can be there to say on this topic? But one starts to wonder pretty early on whether it would have been better as a blog post. Certainly there are many different kinds of misfortune, and many different kinds of relating to the persons who suffer it that make us feel entitled to feel pleasure at it. We are pleased when arrogant people get their comeuppance, Click here to read the full review!
Vegetariano 400 Regional Italian Recipes By Slow Food Editore Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Dec 11th 2018.
Many of us are familiar with Italian restaurants in the US, and their fare, while often tasty, is frequently stodgy. Lots of pasta and dough. Lots of tomato sauce. It can be satisfying but if you have been to Italy and eaten there, it hardly compares. Genuine Italian food tends to be delicious and healthy. So VEGETARIANO: 400 Regional Italian Recipes is a very welcome cookbook. It is long at about 450 pages total, and it is illustrated with great photographs. Just looking through the book is an immense pleasure. Red onions with eggplant stuffing. Eggplant chips. Easter Pie with Green Click here to read the full review!
Aging Thoughtfully Conversations about Retirement, Romance, Wrinkles, and Regret By Martha C. Nussbaum and Saul Levmore Review by Bob Lane on Tue, Dec 4th 2018.
This book deals with a range of topics from plastic surgery to retirement; from philanthropy to sex in the aging human; May-December romance, and many other topics having to do with aging. "We have tried to bring fresh approaches to these and other subjects," the authors write, "to show that thinking and arguing about them is not only practical, but also one of the great pleasures of aging." Its title captures its content: it is a conversation between two colleagues, two friends, about aging thoughtfully. Just as with any other part of life being thoughtful is a good thing!
What credentials d Click here to read the full review!
The term 'consciousness' comes with a lot of historical baggage with varied senses and references over centuries. In the contemporary philosophy of mind literature however, it denotes phenomenality or what it is like it experience. In this book, Philip Goff argues that the physicalist understanding of reality cannot account for phenomenal experience. He explores Russellian Monism as an alternative to physicalism and proposes that at least one variety of it—cosmopsychism—captures phenomenality.
In the first part of the book, "Against Physicalism" comprising four chapters, Goff begi Click here to read the full review!
Pleasure A History By Lisa Shapiro (Editor) Review by Christopher Bobier on Tue, Dec 4th 2018.
In Pleasure: A History, Editor Lisa Shapiro brings together a wide variety of scholars to address the questions, what is pleasure and why is it philosophically interesting? These questions are of central importance to our understanding of virtue (e.g., is virtuous activity pleasant?), emotion (e.g., is joy a kind of pleasure?), and action (e.g., do we act for the sake of pleasure?), and yet, these questions often do not receive the attention they deserve. For instance, both the Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion and The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory contain l Click here to read the full review!
Sleepyhead The Neuroscience of a Good Night's Rest By Henry Nicholls Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Dec 4th 2018.
This popular science book is part memoir and part examination of narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. Nicholls himself has narcolepsy, and he examines a variety of sleep disorders, especially sleep apnea. He says that, unexpectedly, writing this book helped him dramatically improve his own sleep problems. In the process of research, he found that he also had catalepsy, which means he is prone to seizures that include a loss of sensation and rigidity of the body. It turns out that narcolepsy and catalepsy are frequently associated with each other.
Nicholls is a talented writer who combines pe Click here to read the full review!
Since around the turn of the twenty-first century, philosophers have become increasingly occupied with using experimental methods to answer philosophical questions. Specifically, experimental philosophers have drawn upon the design, tools and findings of experimental psychology and the behavioural sciences in general in order to shed light on the phenomena that affect actual judgments about philosophical cases. Do folk think that George should shove the portly man onto the track in in order to save ten scrawny strangers? Do they think the farmer knew that his prized cow was in the field all al Click here to read the full review!
This second edition is a perfect companion when delving into the philosophy of sex, love, and marriage. In many ways, this second edition is more concise with new additions that are insightful. What makes this book succinct is Halwani summarizing his somewhat verbose example. While I may personally miss his first edition examples, as they helped the reader gain a clearer understanding of the material, this book still very clearly engages the reader and delivers the points across fully. This review will mainly focus on the big ideas that Halwani addresses and not focus too much on what I consid Click here to read the full review!
Psyche and Ethos Moral Life After Psychology By Amanda Anderson Review by Michael Klenk on Tue, Nov 27th 2018.
How does learning about the psychological causes of our beliefs affect our self-understanding as autonomous moral beings? According to a long tradition in the humanities, which rose to prominence with Freudian psychoanalysis, sub-conscious processes control our thoughts and behaviour, and therefore we are really strangers to ourselves. On this view, morality understood as willful, rule-guided behaviour is but a charade at best and a self-serving mirage at worst.
Recent findings in cognitive- and moral psychology seem to corroborate the view. In a well-known experimental setup, subjec Click here to read the full review!
This beautiful book features wonderful pictures taken while on some of the great hikes. It samples trips all over the world. The book is divided into six main chapters, with diverse categorization, and chapter titles including The Way of the Pilgrim, Peak Experiences, and the Longest Walks. Each of these chapters has photos from many different areas. There is accompanying text that gives context and background for the images and provides some thematic connection from page to page. However, I doubt that many readers will really pay a lot of attention to the text because it is the pictures that Click here to read the full review!
Suicidal Why We Kill Ourselves By Jesse Bering Review by Roy Sugarman on Tue, Nov 20th 2018.
Psychologists write often about suicide, but seldom about why they, despite being successful, think about suicide. Recently, given the prominence of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain and others, I have been asked again and again as to why someone, who is otherwise seemingly basking in the glory of success, as Bering was, would contemplate and even go ahead taking their own life. The awkward answer I give is that they reach a point in their lives where they realize they are living out of sync with their values, and don't know how they got there. It is a sure way to misery, and many do it, h Click here to read the full review!
Lost in Dialogue Anthropology, Psychopathology, and Care By Giovanni Stanghellini Review by Ragna Winniewski on Tue, Nov 20th 2018.
To be human means to be in dialogue with others and with oneself. Not only for ancient philosophers dialogue is a key concept and complex theme, but in the context of phenomenological anthropology and psychological analysis it provides crucial questions for clinical practice. For Giovanni Stanghellini, author of this book and psychiatrist as well as professor of psychology and philosophy, the three central questions in this volume are: 'What is a human being?', 'What is mental pathology'?, and 'What is care?'. We are humans because we are dialogue, thus language and dialogue correspond to know Click here to read the full review!
Daniel Dennett is relevant today for understanding what the mind is and how it works, and he is possibly one of the first encounters with philosophy that anyone interested in the topic will find. This book, written by a new generation of scholars, is a successful compilation of philosophical accounts that may draw forward our insight of Dennett's philosophy.
It is clear that the aim of this volume is to provide a general panorama of Dennett's most relevant theories. But this compilation stands out from others because the chapters were written specifically for this e Click here to read the full review!
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