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Its Propagations, Perimeters & Potentialities
Editors: Rebeccah Nelems and Nic Theo
Popular interest in empathy has surged in the past two decades. Research on its origins, uses and development is on the rise, and empathy is increasingly referenced across a wide range of sectors – from business to education. While there is widespread consensus about the value of empathy, however, its supposed stable nature and offerings remain insufficiently examined. By critically exploring different perspectives and aspects of empathy in distinct contexts, Exploring Empathy aims to generate deeper reflection about what is at stake in discussions and practices of empathy in the 21st century. Ten contributors representing seven disciplines and five world regions contribute to this dialogical volume about empathy, its offerings, limitations and potentialities for society. By deepening our understanding of empathy in all its complexity, this volume broadens the debate about both the role of empathy in society, and effective ways to invoke it for the benefit of all.
Analytic and Applied Perspectives
Volume Editors: Pekka Mäkelä and Cynthia Townley
“Whatever matters to human beings, trust is the atmosphere in which it thrives” writes Sissela Bok. Although trust is ubiquitous, understanding trust is a non-trivial challenge. Trust: Analytic and Applied Perspectives addresses critical and analytical issues of trust. It examines trust from a conceptual perspective as well as considers it in practical contexts ranging from the public sphere broadly understood to particular social institutions, such as universities and medical care. Trust: Analytic and Applied Perspectives explores what kind of good trust is, what kind of goods it can protect and how it can bring about goods, and develops subtle distinctions between trust and other virtues, and between trust and other forms of dependence. The pluralism of the volume reflects the diversity of the real world contexts and theoretical perspectives indispensable in the search of a deeper understanding of trust. Without such an understanding of the nature of trust and the good reasons why people might trust one another or the institutions, we are in danger of designing institutions that will reduce trust or even drive it out. Trust: Analytic and Applied Perspectives sheds new light on the intersecting dimensions of our social cooperation, in which trust can be responsibly undertaken.
Volume Editor: Asa Kasher
Dying and death are topics of deep humane concern for many people in a variety of circumstances and contexts. However, they are not discussed to any great extent or with sufficient focus in order to gain knowledge and understanding of their major features and aspects.
The present volume is an attempt to bridge the undesirable gap between what should be known and understood about dying and death and what is easily accessible.
Included in the present volume are chapters arranged in three sections.
First, there are chapters on aspects of dying, written by people who have professional experience and personal insights into the nature of the processes at work and the ways it should be treated.
Secondly, there are chapters on assisted death (Euthanasia) that illuminate the practices involved in the professional assistance given to persons who suffer from an incurable illness and who do not want their painful life to be medically extended.
Thirdly, there are chapters on mourning, examined in a variety of cultural contexts. These provide insights for different ways of maintaining the presence of the dead in the life of the living: “life in the hearts”.
Have you lost a loved one? The loss can be inestimable, the grief excruciating. What helped you? Did someone say something comforting? Did someone offer a consolation, which you resented?
Have you ever tried to comfort someone with a terminal illness or one who has lost a loved one? Knowing how to help or what to say that is not trite, insincere, or superficial can be difficult. The point of view of a grieving person is quite different from that of those who wish to offer comfort. In a multicultural society such as ours, anticipating the beliefs of the grieving person can be even more difficult. This book explores the perspective of a grieving person. It considers the merits and potential harm of alternative comfort strategies. As a philosophical analysis of grief, it emphasizes an understanding of the beliefs that underlie grief and the usefulness or dangers of emotions. Because grief is so complex and sensitive, a narrow approach runs the risk of alienating the grieving person. The ideas in this book are expressed in a dialogue among three characters. Their discussion is broad and fundamental. Starting from the familiar consolation, “She’s no longer suffering” and the grieving person’s resentment toward the expression, the three friends articulate the value of life and the evils of death. Their discussion enriches their understanding of grief. Many consolations offered to mourners are poor arguments. Even the better ones do their work best in the context of a greater understanding of grief.
Stances on the Neurobiology of Social Cognition
This book examines philosophical and scientific implications of Neodarwinism relative to recent empirical data. It develops explanations of social behavior and cognition through analysis of mental capabilities and consideration of ethical issues. It includes debate within cognitive science among explanations of social and moral phenomena from philosophy, evolutionary and cognitive psychology, neurobiology, linguistics, and computer science. The series Cognitive Science provides an original corpus of scholarly work that makes explicit the import of cognitive-science research for philosophical analysis. Topics include the nature, structure, and justification of knowledge, cognitive architectures and development, brain-mind theories, and consciousness.
Author: Havi Carel
Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger argues that mortality is a fundamental structuring element in human life. The ordinary view of life and death regards them as dichotomous and separate. This book explains why this view is unsatisfactory and presents a new model of the relationship between life and death that sees them as interlinked. Using Heidegger’s concept of being towards death and Freud’s notion of the death drive, it demonstrates the extensive influence death has on everyday life and gives an account of its structural and existential significance. By bringing the two perspectives together, this book presents a reading of death that establishes its significance for life, creates a meeting point for philosophical and psychoanalytical perspectives, and examines the problems and strengths of each. It then puts forth a unified view, based on the strengths of each position and overcoming the problems of each. Finally, it works out the ethical consequences of this view. This volume is of interest for philosophers, mental health practitioners and those working in the field of death studies.
Volume Editor: Margaret Sönser Breen
Minding Evil: Explorations of Human Iniquity brings together fifteen essays, versions of which were presented at the Fifth International Conference on Evil and Wickedness, held in Prague in 2004. The volume examines evil and wickedness from a variety of disciplines, including criminology, cultural studies, gender studies, law, literature, peace studies, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. In so doing Minding Evil keeps in play the doubled meaning of its title: on the one hand, to tend to evil, that is, to oversee, cultivate, and deploy it; on the other hand, to be bothered by evil and so, in learning to identify or recognise it, to try to understand its workings and thus contain or control it and, perhaps, repair or undo it. While the essays taken together work to show the difficulty and at times the travesty of not being able to distinguish between the two meanings, it is this second meaning that remains key. What are the individual and collective responsibilities entailed in minding - being troubled by - evil? This is the central question of this volume.
Cultural forces shape much of medicine including psychiatry, and medicine shapes much of our culture. Medicine provides us with beneficial treatments of disease, but it also causes harm, increasingly so in the form of overmedication enhanced by the pharmaceutical industry. The book explores boundaries of medicine and psychiatry in a cultural setting by building bridges between unconnected literatures. Boundaries have to be redrawn since effects of the environment, biological, social and political, on health and disease are undervalued. Potential beneficial effects of diet therapies are a recurrent theme throughout the text, with particular emphasis on omega-3 fatty acids. Deficiencies of these acids in common diets may contribute to many chronic diseases and psychiatric disorders. The book uncovers limitations of evidence-based medicine, which fosters a restrictive view of health and disease. Case studies include: the biology of migraine; limitations of biological psychiatry; conventional versus alternative medicine; science, religion and near-death experiences.
This book focuses the collective attention of psychotherapists, the legal community, social scientists, and ethicists on the moral, legal, and clinical problems of confidentiality in psychotherapeutic practice. By providing timely and important interdisciplinary contributions, the book opens the way to understanding, if not resolving, the conflicting interests and values at stake in the debate on confidentiality.
This book offers a bold and controversial new thesis regarding the nature of prejudice. The authors' central claim is that prejudice is not simply learned, rather it is predisposed in all human beings and is thus the foundation for ethical valuation. They aim to destroy the illusion that prejudice is merely the result of learned beliefs, socially conditioned attitudes, or pathological states of development. Contrary to traditional accounts, prejudice itself is not a negative attribute of human nature, rather it is the necessary precondition for the self and civilization to emerge. Defined as the preferential self-expression of valuation, prejudice gives rise to greater existential complexities and novelties that elevate selfhood and society to higher states of ethical realization. Rather than offer another contribution that highlights the destructive nature of prejudice, Mills and Polanowski address the ontological, psychological, and dialectical origins of prejudice as it manifests itself in the process of selfhood and culture. They provide an original conceptualization of the phenomenology of prejudice and its dialectical instantiation in the ontology of the individual, worldhood, and the very structures of subjectivity. As a unique synthesis of psychoanalysis, Hegelian idealism, Heideggerian existential ontology, and Whiteheadian process philosophy, prejudice is the indispensable ground for humanity to actualize its highest potentiality-for-Being. The striking result is (1) a revolutionary theory of human nature, (2) a new ethical system, and (3) the elevation of dialectical ethics to the domain of metaphysics.