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Why It Is Good to Be Good: Ethics, Kohut's Self Psychology, and Modern Society (Hardback)
  • Why It Is Good to Be Good: Ethics, Kohut's Self Psychology, and Modern Society (Hardback)
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Why It Is Good to Be Good: Ethics, Kohut's Self Psychology, and Modern Society (Hardback)

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£65.00
Hardback 194 Pages / Published: 20/08/2010
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In Why It Is Good to be Good, John H. Riker argues that modernity, by undermining traditional religious and metaphysical grounds for moral belief, has left itself no way to explain why it is personally good to be a morally good person. Furthermore, modernity's regnant concept of the self as an independent agent organized around the optimal satisfaction of desires and involved in an intense economic competition with others intensifies the likelihood that modern persons will see morality as a set of limiting constraints that stand in the way of personal advantage and will tend to cheat when they believe there is little likelihood of getting caught. This cheating has begun to severely undermine modernity's economic and social institutions. Riker proposes that Heinz Kohut's psychoanalytic understanding of the self can provide modernity with a naturalistic ground for saying why it is good to be good. Kohut sees the self as a dynamic, unconscious structure which, when coherent and actively engaged with the world, provides the basis for a heightened sense of lively flourishing. The key to the self's development and sustained coherence is the presence of empathically responsive others-persons Kohut terms selfobjects. Riker argues that the best way to sustain vitalized selfobject relations in adulthood is by becoming an ethical human being. It is persons who develop the Aristotelian moral virtues-empathy for others, a sense of fairness, and a resolute integrity-who are best able to engage in the reciprocal selfobject relations that are necessary to maintain self-cohesion and who are most likely to extend empathic ethical concern to those beyond their selfobject matrixes. Riker also explores how Kohut's concept of the self incorporates a number of the most important insights about the self in the history of philosophy, constructs an original meta-psychology that differentiates the ego from the self, re-envisions ethical life on the basis of a psychoanalytically informed view of human nature, explores how pe

Publisher: Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers
ISBN: 9780765707901
Number of pages: 194
Weight: 467 g
Dimensions: 240 x 163 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
John Riker's book represents an important extension of self psychology into the critical moral issues of modernity. He brilliantly uses self psychology to provide a new basis for ethical life and in so doing transforms our notion of what it means to live as moral persons. -- Ernest Wolf, MD, author of Treating the Self: Elements of Clinical Self Psychology
John Riker's book is very compelling, original, and well argued. Quite a tour de force! His idea is very powerful, one that hopefully will stimulate a lot of discussion both within and outside of psychoanalysis. -- Frank Summers, PhD, author of Self Creation: Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Art of the Possible and Transcending The Self: An Object Relations Model
Written in a clear and inviting style, John Riker's unique mastery of contemporary psychoanalytic thinking and his expertise in the field of ethics enables him to create a book of elegantly woven, seemingly disparate strands. Contemporary psychoanalysis has undergone a quiet revolution in the past 40 years. A plurality of ideas is now welcome where once such thinking was considered heretical. John has made a serious study of Heinz Kohut's Psychology of the Self, one of the most influential of these new theories. We benefit from John's remarkable clinical and theoretical grasp of this newer psychology for it gives him a new prism through which he views his home field of ethics. Like Kohut, John's new ideas are a welcome breeze in what can easily become a stale and stilted discourse. This book is a joy to read. -- Allen Siegal M.D., Rush University Medical Center; author of Heinz Kohut and the Psychology of the Self
This is one of the most important works on ethics since the beginning of philosophical inquiry about its nature and origin. John Riker brings his uncommon and subtle understanding of both contemporary psychoanalysis and philosophy together. He offers us a framework for understanding the force of the individual ethical structure that is founded in healthy psychological development without recourse to the assumptions of religion. It may define the parameters of our thinking for a very long time. -- David M. Terman, MD, Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis
A coherent and succinct treatise that imparts a unique theoretical wisdom. It is a well formulated first step toward addressing the myriad of social problems brought on by a lapse in ethical morality. Why It Is Good To Be Good: Ethics, Kohut's Self Psychology, and Modern Society will be of interest to psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other mental health professionals as well as to social scientists, social policy makers, and educators. It is an important addition to the literature of psychoanalytic self psychology, relational psychoanalysis, and intersubjectivity theory. * PsycCRITIQUES *
Although Riker is attempting to tackle some very weighty issues, he manages to write in a manner that explains moral philosophy to interested mental health professionals and to elucidate some of the more recent writing in psychoanalytic theory to people who are just familiar with the ego psychology of Freud. As a result, students with concerns about ultimate questions can be provided with a very thoughtful answer, while practicing psychotherapists can find the work they do to be further grounded in a general theory of moral philosophy. And finally, those individuals who believe the core self is not bounded entirely by a relationship matrix are still provided with a series of thoughtful considerations. * Psychotherapy Review *

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