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Theodore Dalrymple on how psychology undermines morality

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A friend noted this book, Admirable Evasions How Psychology Undermines Morality (2015), by psychiatrist and essayist Theodore Dalrymple:

In Admirable Evasions, Theodore Dalrymple explains why human self-understanding has not been bettered by the false promises of the different schools of psychological thought. Most psychological explanations of human behavior are not only ludicrously inadequate oversimplifications, argues Dalrymple, they are socially harmful in that they allow those who believe in them to evade personal responsibility for their actions and to put the blame on a multitude of scapegoats: on their childhood, their genes, their neurochemistry, even on evolutionary pressures.

Dalrymple reveals how the fashionable schools of psychoanalysis, behaviorism, modern neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology all prevent the kind of honest self-examination that is necessary to the formation of human character. Instead, they promote self-obsession without self-examination, and the gross overuse of medicines that affect the mind.

Admirable Evasions also considers metaphysical objections to the assumptions of psychology, and suggests that literature is a far more illuminating window into the human condition than psychology could ever hope to be.More.

Yes. Advocacy of evolutionary psychology or genetic determinism should be considered diagnostic of a shallow mind. The others are pretty much the same. To understand human nature, one would certainly be better off reading world class novelists or the Bible.

See also: “The evolutionary psychologist knows why you vote — and shop, and tip at restaurants”

Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away


There’s a gene for that… or is there?

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