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The Brain and the Meaning of Life

Paul Thagard

Why is life worth living? What makes actions right or wrong? What is reality and how do we know it? The Brain and the Meaning of Life draws on research in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to answer some of the most pressing questions about life's nature and value. Paul Thagard argues that evidence requires the abandonment of many traditional ideas about the soul, free will, and immortality, and shows how brain science matters for fundamental issues about reality, morality, and the meaning of life. The ongoing Brain Revolution reveals how love, work, and play provide good reasons for living.

Defending the superiority of evidence-based reasoning over religious faith and philosophical thought experiments, Thagard argues that minds are brains and that reality is what science can discover. Brains come to know reality through a combination of perception and reasoning. Just as important, our brains evaluate aspects of reality through emotions that can produce both good and bad decisions. Our cognitive and emotional abilities allow us to understand reality, decide effectively, act morally, and pursue the vital needs of love, work, and play. Wisdom consists of knowing what matters, why it matters, and how to achieve it.

The Brain and the Meaning of Life shows how brain science helps to answer questions about the nature of mind and reality, while alleviating anxiety about the difficulty of life in a vast universe. The book integrates decades of multidisciplinary research, but its clear explanations and humor make it accessible to the general reader.

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Braintrust

What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality

Patricia S. Churchland

What is morality? Where does it come from? And why do most of us heed its call most of the time? In Braintrust, neurophilosophy pioneer Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain. She describes the "neurobiological platform of bonding" that, modified by evolutionary pressures and cultural values, has led to human styles of moral behavior. The result is a provocative genealogy of morals that asks us to reevaluate the priority given to religion, absolute rules, and pure reason in accounting for the basis of morality.

Moral values, Churchland argues, are rooted in a behavior common to all mammals--the caring for offspring. The evolved structure, processes, and chemistry of the brain incline humans to strive not only for self-preservation but for the well-being of allied selves--first offspring, then mates, kin, and so on, in wider and wider "caring" circles. Separation and exclusion cause pain, and the company of loved ones causes pleasure; responding to feelings of social pain and pleasure, brains adjust their circuitry to local customs. In this way, caring is apportioned, conscience molded, and moral intuitions instilled. A key part of the story is oxytocin, an ancient body-and-brain molecule that, by decreasing the stress response, allows humans to develop the trust in one another necessary for the development of close-knit ties, social institutions, and morality.

A major new account of what really makes us moral, Braintrust challenges us to reconsider the origins of some of our most cherished values.

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Bulimia Nervosa

James Mitchell

In Bulimia Nervosa, James E. Mitchell provides a concise overview of the topic, a review of the literature available, his interpretation of this information, and recommendations based on his extensive clinical experience.  He concludes that although significant questions about treatment techniques, comorbidity, and the biology of bulimia nervosa remain, practitioners and their clients can be assured about the prospects  for successful treatment.

“Many people assisted the writing of the book...but the skillful editing makes it like a story unfolding, with a tantalizing piece of information at each chapter end to spur the reader on.  There is minimal use of very technical language, which makes the book ideal for nonmedical students or for anybody who needs to read about these illnesses.”  -Choice, November, 1985

James Mitchell, M.D., is associate professor of psychiatry and co-director of the eating disorders  program at the University of Minnesota Medical School.  He is editor of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia: Diagnosis and Treatment.

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The Bully Society

School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools

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Cadaverland

Inventing a Pathology of Catastrophe for Holocaust Survival [The Limits of Medical Knowledge and Historical Memory in France]

Michael Dorland

In this extraordinary study, Michael Dorland explores sixty years of medical attempts by French doctors (mainly in the fields of neuropsychiatry and psychoanalysis) to describe the effects of concentration camp incarceration on Holocaust survivors.
Dorland begins with a discussion of the liberation of concentration camp survivors, their stay in deportation camps, and eventual return to France, analyzing the circulation of mainly medical (neuropsychiatric) knowledge, its struggles to establish a symptomology of camp effects, and its broadening out into connected medical fields such as psychoanalysis. He then turns specifically to the French medical doctors who studied Holocaust survivors, and he investigates somatic, psychological, and holistic conceptions of survivors as patients and human beings.
The final third of the book offers a comparative look at the "psy-science" approach to Holocaust survival beyond France, particularly in the United States and Israel. He illuminates the peculiar journey of a medical discourse that began in France but took on new forms elsewhere, eventually expanding into nonmedical fields to create the basis of the "traumato-culture" with which we are familiar today.
Embedding his analysis of different medical discourses in the sociopolitical history of France in the twentieth century, he also looks at the French Jewish Question as it affected French medicine, the effects of five years of Nazi Occupation, France's enthusiastic collaboration, and the problems this would pose for postwar collective memory.

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The Cattell Controversy

Race, Science, and Ideology

William H. Tucker

Raymond Cattell, the father of personality trait measurement, was one of the most influential psychologists in the twentieth century, with a professional career that spanned almost seventy years. In August 1997, the American Psychological Association announced that Cattell had been selected the recipient of the American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in Psychological Science. Then, only two days before the scheduled ceremony, the APF abruptly postponed the presentation of the award due to concerns involving Cattell's views on racial segregation and eugenics. In addition to his mainstream research, in his publications Cattell had also posited evolutionary progress as the ultimate goal of human existence and argued that scientific criteria should be used to distinguish "successful" from "failing" racial groups so that the latter might be gradually "phased out" by non-violent methods such as regulation of birth control._x000B__x000B_The Cattell Controversy discusses the controversy that arose within the field in response to the award's postponement, after which Cattell withdrew his name from consideration for the award but insisted that his position had been distorted by taking statements out of context. Reflecting on these events, William H. Tucker concludes with a discussion of the complex question of whether and how a scientist's ideological views should ever be a relevant factor in determining the value of his or her contributions to the field.

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Chained to the Desk (Third Edition)

A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them

Bryan E. Robinson

Americans love a hard worker. The worker who toils eighteen-hour days and eats meals on the run between appointments is usually viewed with a combination of respect and awe. But for many, this lifestyle leads to family problems, a decline in work productivity, and ultimately to physical and mental collapse.
 
Intended for anyone touched by what Robinson calls “the best-dressed problem of the twenty-first century,” Chained to the Desk provides an inside look at workaholism’s impact on those who live and work with work addicts—partners, spouses, children, and colleagues—as well as the appropriate techniques for clinicians who treat them.
 
Originally published in 1998, this groundbreaking book from best-selling author and widely respected family therapist Bryan E. Robinson was the first comprehensive portrait of the workaholic. In this new and fully updated third edition, Robinson draws on hundreds of case reports from his own original research and years of clinical practice. The agonies of workaholism have grown all the more challenging in a world where the computer, cell phone, and iPhone allow twenty-four-hour access to the office, even on weekends and from vacation spots. Adult children of workaholics describe their childhood pain and the lifelong legacies they still carry, and the spouses or partners of workaholics reveal the isolation and loneliness of their vacant relationships. Employers and business colleagues discuss the cost to the company when workaholism dominates the workplace.
 
Chained to the Desk both counsels and consoles. It provides a step-by-step guide to help readers spot workaholism, understand it, and recover.
 
Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a psychotherapist in private practice. He is the author of over 35 books, including The Smart Guide to Managing Stress and his debut novel, Limestone Gumption. He hosted the PBS documentary, Overdoing It: When Work Rules Your Life and has appeared on 20/20, Good Morning America, WorldNews Tonight, NBC Nightly News, and The Early Show.

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Changing Trends in Mental Health Care and Research in Ghana

Angela Ofori-Atta

This Reader is about the changing trends in mental health care and research in Ghana. The book includes a brief history of the department and Mental Health Care in Ghana through the eyes of professionals who have lived this history. There is also a revised situation analysis of mental health services and legislation from 2005. These are followed by three main sections on Conceptualization of Mental Illness (depression, religion and illness, autism, substance use disorders and schizophrenia), Mental Health Practice in a teaching hospital setting (referrals to Korle-Bu, how psychiatric illnesses manifest, how people�s lives are affected and what skill sets and resources are available for dealing with them) and finally the Department�s focus on research includes the Mental Health Information System, Sickle Cell Disease, Medical Ethics, and Liaison Psychiatry. In the concluding paragraph, read about the way forward in mental health care and research.

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Chicana and Chicano Mental Health

Alma, Mente y Corazón

Yvette G. Flores

Spirit, mind, and heart—in traditional Mexican health beliefs all three are inherent to maintaining psychological balance. For Mexican Americans, who are both the oldest Latina/o group in the United States as well as some of the most recent arrivals, perceptions of health and illness often reflect a dual belief system that has not always been incorporated in mental health treatments.
Chicana and Chicano Mental Health offers a model to understand and to address the mental health challenges and service disparities affecting Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans/Chicanos. Yvette G. Flores, who has more than thirty years of experience as a clinical psychologist, provides in-depth analysis of the major mental health challenges facing these groups: depression; anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder; substance abuse; and intimate partner violence. Using a life-cycle perspective that incorporates indigenous health beliefs, Flores examines the mental health issues affecting children and adolescents, adult men and women, and elderly Mexican Americans.
Through case studies, Flores examines the importance of understanding cultural values, class position, and the gender and sexual roles and expectations Chicanas/os negotiate, as well as the legacies of migration, transculturation, and multiculturality. Chicana and Chicano Mental Health is the first book of its kind to embrace both Western and Indigenous perspectives.
Ideally suited for students in psychology, social welfare, ethnic studies, and sociology, the book also provides valuable information for mental health professionals who desire a deeper understanding of the needs and strengths of the largest ethnic minority and Hispanic population group in the United States.
Spirit, mind, and heart—in traditional Mexican health beliefs all three are inherent to maintaining psychological balance. For Mexican Americans, who are both the oldest Latina/o group in the United States as well as some of the most recent arrivals, perceptions of health and illness often reflect a dual belief system that has not always been incorporated in mental health treatments.
Chicana and Chicano Mental Health offers a model to understand and to address the mental health challenges and service disparities affecting Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans/Chicanos. Yvette G. Flores, who has more than thirty years of experience as a clinical psychologist, provides in-depth analysis of the major mental health challenges facing these groups: depression; anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder; substance abuse; and intimate partner violence. Using a life-cycle perspective that incorporates indigenous health beliefs, Flores examines the mental health issues affecting children and adolescents, adult men and women, and elderly Mexican Americans.
Through case studies, Flores examines the importance of understanding cultural values, class position, and the gender and sexual roles and expectations Chicanas/os negotiate, as well as the legacies of migration, transculturation, and multiculturality. Chicana and Chicano Mental Health is the first book of its kind to embrace both Western and Indigenous perspectives.
Ideally suited for students in psychology, social welfare, ethnic studies, and sociology, the book also provides valuable information for mental health professionals who desire a deeper understanding of the needs and strengths of the largest ethnic minority and Hispanic population group in the United States.

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Children of Alcoholism

The Struggle for Self and Intimacy in Adult Life

Barbara Wood

In this sensitive and richly rewarding book Barbara L. Wood, a clinician with many years' experience working with adult children of the chemically dependent, gives clinicians informed and practical advice on how to treat the damaged self of these individuals. She offers strategies for intervention, along with step-by-step principles that tell the therapist how best to create an environment to help patients.

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