Book Reviews

Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer

The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thoughtby Pascal BoyerBasic Books, 2001Review by David Livingstone Smith, Ph.D. on Dec 16th 2002 This is an altogether remarkable book.  Accustomed as I was to the older literature on religion such as Freud’s Future of an Illusion I expected to find some variant on the story that religious feeling, thought and behavior is specifically motivated […]

Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain by Elio Frattaroli

Becoming Conscious in an Unconscious Worldby Elio FrattaroliViking Press, 2001Review by Stan van Hooft, Ph.D. on May 17th 2002 An increasing number of psychiatric patients with disorders ranging from mild depression or anxiety to full-blown psychosis are being treated with medication these days. Prozac is only the most well known of the many drugs that […]

A Philosophy of Boredom by Lars Svendsen

by Lars SvendsenReaktion Books, 2005Review by Maria Antonietta Perna, Ph.D. on Aug 6th 2005 It might sound odd, but to a philosopher boredom is not boring at all.  Indeed, to the reflective reader the subject of boredom reveals itself as being surprisingly fascinating.  Perhaps one might advance the hypothesis that embarking on the adventure of […]

The Case of the Female Orgasm by Elisabeth A. Lloyd

Bias in the Science of Evolutionby Elisabeth A. LloydHarvard University Press, 2005Review by Rob Loftis, Ph.D. on Aug 2nd 2005 Elizabeth Lloyd’s new book has attracted a lot of attention for a technical work of academic philosophy, including profiles in the New York Times and Slate, and an appearance on The View (right between an interview with television doctor Noah […]

Origin of Mind by David C. Geary

Evolution of Brain, Cognition, and General Intelligenceby David C. GearyAmerican Psychological Association, 2004Review by Keith Harris, Ph.D. on Sep 3rd 2005 Why and how have humans developed a type of consciousness unlike that of other creatures?  Although targeted at readers already knowledgeable in this area, this book does a very good job of developing and […]

Ugly Feelings by Sianne Ngai

by Sianne NgaiHarvard University Press, 2005Review by Dina Mendonça, Ph.D. on Oct 27th 2005 Ugly Feelings is a thought provoking book in the aesthetics of negative feelings with insightful reflections upon the social and experiential impact of artistic creations. Examining the political ambiguous work of some negative emotions, Sianne Ngai calls attention to certain features of […]

Preference, Belief, and Similarity

Selected Writingsby Amos TverskyMIT Press, 2003Review by Maura Pilotti, Ph.D. on Apr 22nd 2004 In Preference, Belief and Similarity, Eldar Shafir has cleverly assembled a representative array of articles written by Amos Tversky, a cognitive psychologist well-known for his work on judgment and decision making who died in 1996. As a measure of his influence in […]

Mind by John R. Searle

A Brief Introductionby John R. SearleOxford University Press, 2004Review by Maria Antonietta Perna, Ph.D. on May 23rd 2006Volume: 10, Number: 21 Granted, as an introductory text Mind: A Brief Introduction might be said to be particularly brief.  However, if Searle keeps his introduction brief, this is because the present book does much more than introducing the reader […]

The Empirical Stance by Bas C. Van Fraassen

by Bas C. Van FraassenYale University Press, 2002Review by James Sage on Jan 16th 2003Volume: 7, Number: 3 In this collection of five lectures, Bas van Fraassen attempts to answer a number of questions regarding the nature of empiricism, scientific inquiry, and theoretical revolution. Central among his claims is that empiricism is a STANCE. Empiricism […]

The Robot's Rebellion by Keith E. Stanovich

Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwinby Keith E. StanovichUniversity Of Chicago Press, 2005Review by Sven Walter, Ph.D.Nov 14th 2006 (Volume 10, Issue 46) The Robot’s Rebellion attempts to reconcile a scientific commitment to Darwinism with the commonsense view that we are freely deliberating agents who are in charge of and responsible for at least some […]

Inner Presence by Nigel Leary

Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenonby Antti RevonsuoMIT Press, 2005Review by Nigel LearyNov 7th 2006 (Volume 10, Issue 45) While I found Revonsuo’s style engaging and the subject matter fascinating — although I must admit to having a vested interest in this type of consciousness research — I found myself somewhat disappointed with the philosophical meat […]

Thomas Kuhn by Steve Fuller

A Philosophical History for Our Timesby Steve FullerUniversity of Chicago Press, 2002Review by Louis S. Berger, Ph.D. on Jun 17th 2003 Fuller, a historian and philosopher of science and now professor of sociology, University of Warwick, has written a book mostly about Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a workthat he characterizes as “probably the best-known […]

The Private Life of the Brain by Susan Greenfield

Emotions, Consciousness, and the Secret of the Susan GreenfieldJohn Wiley & Sons, 2000Review by Anthony Dickinson, Ph.D. on Sep 1st 2000 This is a must for those wanting to add an up-to-date and readable book containing ‘mind’ or ‘brain’ in the title to their collection. Greenfield argues for consciousness to be more than mind, […]

Freud As Philosopher by Richard Boothby

Metapsychology After Lacanby Richard BoothbyRoutledge, 2001Review by Adrian Johnston, Ph.D. on Nov 19th 2001 In 1991, Richard Boothby’s first book appeared — Death and Desire: Psychoanalytic Theory in Lacan’s Return to Freud provided English-speaking readers with a sustained treatment analyzing Lacan’s engagement with perhaps the most notorious and controversial of Freudian concepts, namely, the infamous death […]

The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio

Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousnessby Antonio DamasioHarvest, 1999Review by Mary Hodgson, M.A. on May 9th 2003 Antonio Damasio is a best-selling author, and it is not hard to see why.  This is a work of pop science, valuable in its own right.  While it is not particularly ground breaking it is an […]

Raising a Self-Starter by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer

Over 100 Tips for Parents and Teachersby Elizabeth Hartley-BrewerDa Capo Press, 2004Review by Burton R. Hanson on Jun 9th 2005Volume: 9, Number: 23 William James, author of the classic The Principles of Psychology (1890), was one of those rarities, a popularizer of his own ideas. One of his most-endearing, and useful, popular titles was Talks to Teachers on […]

Natural-Born Cyborgs by Andy Clark

Why Minds and Technologies Are Made to Mergeby Andy ClarkOxford University Press, 2003Review by Neil Levy, Ph.D. on Aug 11th 2003 In the Phaedrus, Plato warns us of the dangers of entrusting our thoughts to mere mechanical contrivances outside our minds. He recounts a myth, according to which an Egyptian god approached King Thabus and offered […]

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

by Jonathan FranzenFarrar Straus & Giroux, 2001Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Oct 21st 2001Volume: 5, Number: 42 Underneath this rich and often funny tale of a family is a relentless pessimism. The corrections of the title have a number of meanings. There’s correction in the sense of punishment, as in a department of corrections; […]

The Antidepressant Solution by Joseph Glenmullen

A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and “Addiction”by Joseph GlenmullenFree Press, 2004Review by Roy Sugarman, Ph.D. on Apr 25th 2006Volume: 10, Number: 17 Its content isn’t exactly news, or hot off the presses, but its one of only a few works that openly explores what medication creators simply have most avoided. In […]

Sad Book by Michael Rosen

by Michael RosenCandlewick, 2005Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on May 15th 2005Volume: 9, Number: 19 This short picture book for children is about grief.  The lead character and narrator is Michael Rosen, a grown man, and he explains that he is sad because his son died.  He covers up his sadness in front of other […]

​​The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by Thomas A. Widiger

Review – DSM-IV SourcebookVolume 1by Thomas A. Widiger, Allen J. Francis, Harold Alan Pincus (editors)American Psychiatric Press, 1994Review by Jeffrey S. Poland, Ph.D.Apr 7th 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 14) The deep cultural entrenchment of the DSM system of classification is based to a significant extent upon its claim to scientific credibility, a claim which has […]