Rethinking Goodness

SUNY Press
Free sample

Arguing that a psychological basis for ethics can be found in human motivation, Rethinking Goodness proposes a naturalistic ethics that transcends the conflict between liberalism and authoritarianism—the conflict between freedom at the price of narcissism and morality at the price of coercion. The authors offer a third option, an ethic broader than liberalism’s pursuit of the personal, that avoids jeopardizing, as do authoritarian positions, the centrality of individual autonomy.
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About the author

Michael A. Wallach is Professor of Psychology and Lise Wallach is Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Duke University.

Michael A. Wallach is Professor of Psychology and Lise Wallach is Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Duke University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Jan 1, 1990
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Pages
156
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ISBN
9781438423104
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2013!

This book examines seven different answers to the question, "What are we talking about when we talk about the mind?" It begins by considering the dualistic view, frequently taken for granted by students, that words like "belief," "anger," and "jealousy" refer to a realm quite distinct from the physical world, and notes the difficulties associated with this view as well as why many find it compelling. The book then describes six further major views of mind alternative to dualism that have been developed by psychologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists: Some claim that such words are just about behavior. Some claim that such words are theoretical constructs, like "quarks" in physics. Some identify the mind with the brain or with a kind of program in the brain like the software in a computer. Some think there is nothing to which such words refer. Some think mental talk reflects nothing but convention.

Students in psychology learn about different views of mind in various courses, but they tend to be left on their own to deal with the conflicts among them. How to conceive of mind is usually addressed in the context not of psychology but of philosophy, where it tends to be treated in ways that may seem esoteric to psychology students. Seldom discussed in one place, this book presents all seven views and the reasons for and against each in a relatively nontechnical, informal manner designed to appeal to psychology students and their instructors, permitting comparisons and possible resolutions.

One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives. In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using the psychological insights and the practical techniques of the Stoics, Irvine offers a roadmap for anyone seeking to avoid the feelings of chronic dissatisfaction that plague so many of us. Irvine looks at various Stoic techniques for attaining tranquility and shows how to put these techniques to work in our own life. As he does so, he describes his own experiences practicing Stoicism and offers valuable first-hand advice for anyone wishing to live better by following in the footsteps of these ancient philosophers. Readers learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus our efforts on the things we can control, and how to deal with insults, grief, old age, and the distracting temptations of fame and fortune. We learn from Marcus Aurelius the importance of prizing only things of true value, and from Epictetus we learn how to be more content with what we have. Finally, A Guide to the Good Life shows readers how to become thoughtful observers of their own lives. If we watch ourselves as we go about our daily business and later reflect on what we saw, we can better identify the sources of distress and eventually avoid that pain in our life. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life.
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