Metapsychology Online Reviews - Volume 23, Number 25
 
Featured Reviews
Fellow Creatures by  Christine M. KorsgaardFellow Creatures
by Christine M. Korsgaard
Tue, May 28th 2019
Machines Like Me by Ian McEwanMachines Like Me
by Ian McEwan
Tue, May 28th 2019
Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy by Tania Lombrozo (Editor), Joshua Knobe (Editor), Shaun Nichols (Editor)Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy
by Tania Lombrozo (Editor), Joshua Knobe (Editor), Shaun Nichols (Editor)
Tue, May 21st 2019
 
Bowen Theory's Secrets
Revealing the Hidden Life of Families
By Michael E. Kerr
Review by Roy Sugarman, PhD on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
Bowen Theory's Secrets by Michael E. KerrMost of us trained in the late 70's and early 80's would have encountered General Systems Theory and the Family Therapy movement that emerged, partly as a reflex response to the individual focus on pathology begun by Freud. Some, like myself, wrote critiques in our Master's theses of the idea of Freudian biological determinism from the family therapy perspective, or even from the Feminist view in my case. Family therapy saw the patient as a presenting patient, presenting the family or systemic pathology to the public eye, as an identified patient rather than a person with purely intrapsychic i
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Never Enough
The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction
By Judith Grisel
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
Never Enough by Judith GriselJudy Grisel is a researcher in neuroscience at Fuhrman University, South Carolina. Her specialty is in addiction. She also tells her own story of her relationship with drugs, which she used heavily in her youth and then completely stopped using. She tells us a little about her family but not a lot. She gives some comments on her experiences with different drugs but does not say much about how she came to take them or what happened to her when she did. So this is a long way from being a memoir, and Grisel tends to be terse about most of her topics. Never Enough is a fairly short book and m
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Faces
A Novel
By Robin Molineux
Review by Bob Lane on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
Faces by Robin MolineuxThere are many reasons to read a novel: enjoyment, character development, instruction, learning something new, plot line, images, ideas, stretching the imagination, and, of course, enjoyment. "Faces" does a good job of offering all of these reasons. The characters are interesting, the plot line is coherent over time, the ideas are interesting, the writing is clear and concise, powerful at times; and it is an enjoyable read. "When Dominic was five, his home exploded." That event, so quietly reported, brings about the movement of Dominic and his brother Emmett from Manchester in the UK to Canada
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Vacuum in the Dark
By Jen Beagin
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
Vacuum in the Dark by Jen BeaginVacuum in the Dark is the new novel by Jen Beagin, and is a sequel to her acclaimed Pretend I'm Dead published in 2018. The lead character is Mona, in her mid-twenties. Mona cleans people's houses and that lets her see their lives and learn their secrets. This novel does not explicitly rely on its predecessor, and we learn about Mona's past life as the story proceeds. It's an episodic novel that doesn't have a strong narrative arc. Mona is funny but she also has a troubled history, and she has an unconventional life. She is also unhappy, even suicidal, but she leads a frantic li
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Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind
By Joshua May
Review by Michael Klenk on Tue, Jun 11th 2019.
Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind by Joshua MayTimes have been challenging for optimists about reasonable, altruistic, and moral human conduct. Events and developments in the public sphere, think of fake news and populism, suggest to many that reason and morality are decaying. Worse still, empirical investigations of moral judgment and behaviour seem to support such pessimism about morality (or sober realism, depending on your view). Several lines of research in psychology and sociology have been taken up by philosophers to suggest that moral judgment is grounded in emotions, not reason, or incapable of being justified in the first place.
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Post-Truth
By Lee McIntyre
Review by Tuomas Manninen on Tue, Jun 11th 2019.
Post-Truth by Lee McIntyreLee McIntyre's Post-Truth is a timely analysis of the status quo of contemporary political discourse which has obviously become increasingly unfettered from commitment to truth.  McIntyre acknowledges President Donald Trump as a poster child for post-truth, what with him having made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims during his first 827 days as a President (Kessler, Rizzo, and Kelly 2019).  However, McIntyre's analysis shows how Trump is not a cause for this, but an effect of trends that have been laid out in decades before.  McIntyre uses 'post-truth' "to in
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US of AA
How the Twelve Steps Hijacked the Science of Alcoholism
By Joe Miller
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 11th 2019.
US of AA by Joe MillerThe thesis of US of AA is that Alcoholic Anonymous is not based on credible scientific theories and it does not provide the only or even the best treatment for alcoholism. It gained its dominance in the US not through scientific and medical evidence but through chance and politics. The forces that keep it in its predominant position are also political and social rather than scientific. The subtitle of the book uses the emotive word "hijacked" which is also misleading in implying that there was a plan to carry all this out. Indeed, it is reminiscent of those who say that in addiction,
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Nietzsche and Psychotherapy
By Manu Bazzano
Review by Finn Janning on Tue, Jun 11th 2019.
Nietzsche and Psychotherapy by Manu BazzanoIt looks like the 21st century will become one of philosophical therapy. Philosophy has moved out of the ivory tower and back into the public sphere from where it began. At times, this trend enhances the public debate and, at others, only populates philosophy to make it more marketable. The latter is often disguised self-help literature. Another, more important reason for the awakening of philosophy is that many of today's illness cannot be graphed using psychology. Stress, burnout, borderline, and depression can no longer be regarded as individual diagnoses. Rather, they are symptoms of a s
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Why We Disagree About Human Nature
By Elizabeth Hannon & Tim Lewens (Editors)
Review by R.A. Goodrich, Ph.D. on Tue, Jun 4th 2019.
Why We Disagree About Human Nature by Elizabeth Hannon & Tim Lewens (Editors)Why We Disagree about Human Nature is a tightly interwoven ten-chapter anthology of debates over the nature of and rationale for concepts of human nature drawing upon the fields of philosophy and psychology, biology and anthropology. Pervading the volume as an intellectual springboard for the vast majority of its contributors are two contrasting approaches. These seminal approaches are associated with the earlier work of the philosophers David Hull, notably his 1986 "modern classic 'On Human Nature'" (1) and Edouard Machery, particularly his 2008 "nomological" account "A Plea for Human Na
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Understanding Mental Disorders
A Philosophical Approach to the Medicine of the Mind
By Daniel LaFleur, Christopher Mole and Holly Onclin
Review by Jennifer Radden on Tue, Jun 4th 2019.
Understanding Mental Disorders by Daniel LaFleur, Christopher Mole and Holly OnclinTo use words like "accessible" or "readable" of this small book, would be analogous to calling a typhoon a rainstorm: not wrong, just wildly insufficient. By interspersing short chapters, equally short endnotes and incisively-curated follow-up readings with a mix of illustrations, the three authors, a psychiatrist, a philosopher, and (for our purposes) a visual artist, have produced a veritable page-turner. This has been achieved, moreover, without compromising by one wit most of the important philosophical ideas at stake in attempts to understand mental disorder: the separate, puzzling and f
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The Way We Eat Now
How the Food Revolution Has Transformed Our Lives, Our Bodies, and Our World
By Bee Wilson
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 4th 2019.
The Way We Eat Now by Bee WilsonThe Way We Eat Now takes a sociological and anthropological approach to trends in modern eating. Bee Wilson, a British food writer who performs the audiobook version of her book herself, combines a personal approach with an awareness of modern culture and recent scholarship. There is a 16 page bibliography and 20 pages of notes. It is a book that could be used in an undergraduate course and might spark the interest of students. Wilson addresses a variety of aspects of modern food, and there's a great deal of overlap between chapters. The central theme comes from the Nutrition T
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Categories We Live By
The Construction of Sex, Gender, Race, and Other Social Categories
By Ásta
Review by Brian Morreale on Tue, Jun 4th 2019.
Categories We Live By by ÁstaAre labels a good thing? Many people argue that labels are oppressive and limit a person’s identity and complexity as a human. Others use it to excuse commitment by saying to their partner that they do not want to label their relationship. Alternatively, people use labels to own their identity and embrace who they are. An example includes the LGBTQ community, which distinctively labels those involved within the community. Ásta Kristjana Sveinsdottir addresses the different labels and forms of identity people associate with in her book, Categories We Live By: The construc
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Fellow Creatures
Our Obligations to the Other Animals
By Christine M. Korsgaard
Review by Bob Fischer on Tue, May 28th 2019.
Fellow Creatures by  Christine M. KorsgaardHere's a quick summary of Kant's views on animals. Rational beings, to include most human beings, are ends in themselves. This implies that rational beings deserve a certain sort of respect: we shouldn't use them as "mere means"; we should only act in ways that are consistent with recognizing them as having "absolute value," as being valuable in themselves. Nonhuman animals, by contrast, aren't ends in themselves; they have only instrumental value, which is the value that something has in virtue of what it can get for us, not in virtue of what it is. As a result, we have no obligations to
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Machines Like Me
A Novel
By Ian McEwan
Review by Bob Lane on Tue, May 28th 2019.
Machines Like Me by Ian McEwanIn logic, the law of identity states that each thing is identical with itself. By this it is meant that each thing is composed of its own unique set of characteristic qualities or features, which the ancient Greeks called its essence. It is the first of the three classical laws of thought. By beginning this review with a reference to the law of identity I do not mean to suggest that McEwan's latest best seller is a philosophy textbook. But, … it could be. I can imagine the book being used effectively in a philosophy of mind class, or a class on personhood, of a philosophy in literature
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You All Grow Up and Leave Me
A Memoir of Teenage Obsession
By Piper Weiss
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, May 28th 2019.
You All Grow Up and Leave Me by Piper WeissPiper Weiss grew up in Manhattan in the 1980s and '90s. She played tennis and had her own tennis coach, Gary Wilensky. She grew up to be a journalist still lives in NYC. She says in her epilogue that at 38 she is single and without children, and she says that is not her choice. There's a speculation there about whether her experience with Wilensky had a lasting effect on her life. Her book, You All Grow Up and Leave Me, is as much about Weiss's experience as a privileged young woman in a wealthy city at a particular time, as it is a crime story about Wilensky. She recounts her c
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