[ View menu ]

Archive for 'psychology'

out in paperback – ‘On Reflection’ by Hilary Kornblith

October 25, 2014

On Reflection

On Reflection by Hilary Kornblith (Oxford University Press, 2014)

(amazon.co.uk)

Book description from the publisher:

Hilary Kornblith presents a new account of reflection, and its importance for knowledge, reasoning, freedom, and normativity. Philosophers have frequently extolled the value of reflective self-examination, and a wide range of philosophers, who differ on many other things, have argued that reflection can help to solve a number of significant philosophical problems. The importance of reflecting on one’s beliefs and desires has been viewed as the key to solving problems about justification and knowledge; about reasoning; about the nature of freedom; and about the source of normativity. In each case, a problem is identified which reflective self-examination is thought to address.
Kornblith argues that reflection cannot solve any of these problems. There is a common structure to these issues, and the problems which reflection is thought to resolve are ones which could not possibly be solved by reflecting on one’s beliefs and desires. More than this, he suggests that the attempt to solve these problems by appealing to reflection saddles us with a mystical view of the powers of reflective self-examination. Recognition of this fact motivates a search for a demystified view of the nature of reflection.
To this end, Kornblith offers a detailed examination of views about knowledge, reasoning, freedom, and normativity in order to better understand the motivations for extolling self-reflective examination. He explores both the logic of these views, and the psychological commitments they involve. In the final chapter, he offers a more realistic view of reflection, which draws on dual process approaches to cognition.

Google Books preview (hardcover ed.):

See also: Author’s website

Comments (0) - new books,psychology

new book – ‘How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness’ by Russ Roberts

October 18, 2014

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness by Russ Roberts (Portfolio, 2014)

(kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

A forgotten book by one of history’s greatest thinkers reveals the surprising connections between happiness, virtue, fame, and fortune.

Adam Smith may have become the patron saint of capitalism after he penned his most famous work, The Wealth of Nations. But few people know that when it came to the behavior of individuals—the way we perceive ourselves, the way we treat others, and the decisions we make in pursuit of happiness—the Scottish philosopher had just as much to say. He developed his ideas on human nature in an epic, sprawling work titled The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Most economists have never read it, and for most of his life, Russ Roberts was no exception. But when he finally picked up the book by the founder of his field, he realized he’d stumbled upon what might be the greatest self-help book that almost no one has read.

In How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life, Roberts examines Smith’s forgotten masterpiece, and finds a treasure trove of timeless, practical wisdom. Smith’s insights into human nature are just as relevant today as they were three hundred years ago. What does it take to be truly happy? Should we pursue fame and fortune or the respect of our friends and family? How can we make the world a better place? Smith’s unexpected answers, framed within the rich context of current events, literature, history, and pop culture, are at once profound, counterintuitive, and highly entertaining.

By reinvigorating Smith’s neglected classic, Roberts provides us with an invaluable look at human behavior through the lens of one of history’s greatest minds.

Google Books preview:

See also: Author’s website

Comments (0) - happiness,new books,psychology

free kindle ebook – ‘Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves’ by Jill Walker Rettberg

October 13, 2014

Comments (0) - psychology,self

new book – ‘Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being’ by Brian R. Little

October 6, 2014

Me, Myself, and Us

Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being by Brian R. Little (Perseus/PublicAffairs, 2014)

(amazon.co.uk), (kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

How does your personality shape your life … and what, if anything, can you do about it?

Are you hardwired for happiness, or born to brood? Do you think you’re in charge of your future, or do you surf the waves of unknowable fate? Would you be happier, or just less socially adept, if you were less concerned about what other people thought of you? And what about your “Type A” spouse: is he or she destined to have a heart attack, or just drive you to drink?

In the past few decades, new scientific research has transformed old ideas about the nature of human personality. Neuroscientists, biologists, and psychological scientists have reexamined the theories of Freud and Jung as well as the humanistic psychologies of the 1960s, upending the simplistic categorizations of personality “types,” and developing new tools and methods for exploring who we are. Renowned professor and pioneering research psychologist Brian R. Little has been at the leading edge of this new science. In this wise and witty book he shares a wealth of new data and provocative insights about who we are, why we act the way we do, what we can—and can’t—change, and how we can best thrive in light of our “nature.”

Me, Myself, and Us explores questions that are rooted in the origins of human consciousness but are as commonplace as yesterday’s breakfast conversation, such as whether our personality traits are “set” by age thirty or whether our brains and selves are more plastic. He considers what our personalities portend for our health and success, and the extent to which our well-being depends on the personal projects we pursue.

Through stories, studies, personal experiences, and entertaining interactive assessments, Me, Myself, and Us provides a lively, thought-provoking, and ultimately optimistic look at the possibilities and perils of being uniquely ourselves, while illuminating the selves of the familiar strangers we encounter, work with, and love.

See also: Author’s website

Comments (0) - new books,psychology,self

new book – ‘Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking)’ by Christian Rudder

September 10, 2014

Dataclysm

Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) by Christian Rudder (Crown, 2014)

(kindle ed.), (amazon.co.uk), (UK kindle ed.)

Book description from the publisher:

An audacious, irreverent investigation of human behavior—and a first look at a revolution in the making

Our personal data has been used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder uses it to show us who we truly are.

For centuries, we’ve relied on polling or small-scale lab experiments to study human behavior. Today, a new approach is possible. As we live more of our lives online, researchers can finally observe us directly, in vast numbers, and without filters. Data scientists have become the new demographers.

In this daring and original book, Rudder explains how Facebook “likes” can predict, with surprising accuracy, a person’s sexual orientation and even intelligence; how attractive women receive exponentially more interview requests; and why you must have haters to be hot. He charts the rise and fall of America’s most reviled word through Google Search and examines the new dynamics of collaborative rage on Twitter. He shows how people express themselves, both privately and publicly. What is the least Asian thing you can say? Do people bathe more in Vermont or New Jersey? What do black women think about Simon & Garfunkel? (Hint: they don’t think about Simon & Garfunkel.) Rudder also traces human migration over time, showing how groups of people move from certain small towns to the same big cities across the globe. And he grapples with the challenge of maintaining privacy in a world where these explorations are possible.

Visually arresting and full of wit and insight, Dataclysm is a new way of seeing ourselves—a brilliant alchemy, in which math is made human and numbers become the narrative of our time.

See also: Author’s blog

Comments (0) - culture,psychology