Ellis on Cushman

 After class today Heather showed me a letter to the Editor of the American Psychologist by Albert Ellis in which he responds to an article in that journal by Philip Cushman on the empty self. Both the article and the Ellis letter predate Cushman's book, but he is clearly concerned with the same issues. Ellis suggests some limitations of the "empty self" metaphor and some alternative conceptions that you might find interesting in light of our class discussion. Both items are available electronically. Here are the references with links to the journal: Cushman, P. (1990). Why the self is empty: Toward

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Charles Taylor

I have mentioned the Canadian philosopher/political scientist Charles Taylor several times in the course, most recently with respect to his lectures "The Malaise of Modernity." Carolyn has alerted me to the fact that he was recently featured on the CBC radio program Ideas. The title of the episode is "Modern Social Imaginaries", which is also the title of his most recent book. The episode is available from the CBC website as a podcast. You can download it from the IDEAS podcast page (Jan. 15 on the schedule, scroll down the page a

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Spot anyone you know?

 We have all benefitted greatly from John's participation in the course, so I thought I would share with you the good news that lots of others share our admiration of his work. Today in Y-File there is a report about him receiving a Petro-Canada Young Innovators Award. You can read the story by going to the following address: http://www.yorku.ca/yfile/archive/index.asp?Article=7702 Be sure to read what John says about the importance of blending laboratory and naturalistic research

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Is “hope” a placebo?

After class it occured to me that Ehrenreich's article, Pathologies of Hope, is related to the Mattingly article we read as well as to the Cushman book. Mattingly described a community of sufferers who were holding themselves together through hope. She spoke of how hoping was not necessarily easy, but rather required willing. We read the article primarily as an example of participatory action research; however, the content seems related to our discussion today about placebos. Does hope work like a placebo -- allowing one to interpret situations differently and thus to act and feel better? Ehrenreich says that

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More from Barbara Ehrenreich

 Having just written a bit about Barbara Ehrenreich I was taken aback when I opened my newly arrived copy of Harper's Magazine this evening and found that she had written one of the lead articles. It is a very interesting piece written in opposition to ideas associated with the rapidly growing field of Psychology called Positive Psychology. Her basic argument is that by putting the onus on individuals to believe in their ability to think positively and thereby overcome their problems, social problems remain unaddressed and the status quo unthreatened. Here is an excerpt which sounds remarkably like Cushman

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