ON-Lion Letter

In Admirable Evasions:  How Psychology Undermines Morality, forthcoming from Encounter Books, 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, Dalrymple argues, 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:  their childhood, their genes, their neurochemistry, even on evolutionary pressures.

Dalrymple is the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and a contributing editor of the Institute's City Journal.

His Admirable Evasions 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.

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

Encounter Books is an activity of Encounter for Culture and Education, a nonprofit organization that is substantially supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, as is the Manhattan Institute.

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