Bowen Theory's Secrets Revealing the Hidden Life of Families By Michael E. Kerr Review by Roy Sugarman, PhD on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
Most 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 Click here to read the full review!
Never Enough The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction By Judith Grisel Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
Judy 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 Click here to read the full review!
Faces A Novel By Robin Molineux Review by Bob Lane on Tue, Jun 18th 2019.
There 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 Click here to read the full review!
Vacuum 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 Click here to read the full review!
Times 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. Click here to read the full review!
Post-Truth By Lee McIntyre Review by Tuomas Manninen on Tue, Jun 11th 2019.
Lee 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 Click here to read the full review!
US of AA How the Twelve Steps Hijacked the Science of Alcoholism By Joe Miller Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Jun 11th 2019.
The 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, Click here to read the full review!
It 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 Click here to read the full review!
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 Click here to read the full review!
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.
To 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 Click here to read the full review!
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 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 Click here to read the full review!
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.
Are 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 Click here to read the full review!
Fellow Creatures Our Obligations to the Other Animals By Christine M. Korsgaard Review by Bob Fischer on Tue, May 28th 2019.
Here'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 Click here to read the full review!
Machines Like Me A Novel By Ian McEwan Review by Bob Lane on Tue, May 28th 2019.
In 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 Click here to read the full review!
Piper 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 Click here to read the full review!
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