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The Demanded Self: Levinasian Ethics and Identity in Psychology

The Demanded Self: Levinasian Ethics and Identity in Psychology

David M. Goodman $30.00

Published in 2012 | 290 pages | paper | ISBN: 978-0-8207-0449-4

Book Information:

How does psychology attend to the question of “goodness”? Does the sense of self that modern psychologies promote help to orient persons toward ethical responsibility for the other person? In this book, David Goodman engages these questions, demonstrating that the prevalent discourse and constructs of the self in modern psychology not only fail to address such issues, but also contribute to the formation of a self lived without ethical regard for the other.

In his penetrating and thought-provoking analysis of contemporary psychological theory and practice, Goodman critiques its “methodolatry” to scientific theory and emphasis on autonomous reason. Challenging the assumptions behind the naturalized, egological, and individualistic accounts of the self that dominate current approaches, he proposes an alternative by appealing to the philosophical work of Emmanuel Levinas. As Goodman indicates, Levinas's phenomenology establishes an originary ethical attunement to the other, which precedes empirical and medical approaches to psychology that would consign ethics to a detached, secondary list of codes.

Moving between historical analysis, illumination of contemporary psychological trends, and philosophical juxtapositions of Greek and Hebrew thought, Goodman demonstrates how the ethical dimension of human experience has too frequently been neglected within present constructs of the self and argues that Levinas's demanded self serves as a radical corrective to the morally anemic definitions of the modern self. Ultimately, Goodman explains and details this countercultural version of the self—defined by its relation to the other and called into a “freedom born from responsibility”—and offers helpful corollary case studies and therapeutic practices that engender this sensibility.

The Demanded Self provides a means of entering into the conversations taking place at the intersection of Levinas's ethical theory, psychology, psychoanalysis, religion, and philosophy, and will appeal to scholars and advanced students in all of these fields.

Author Information:

DAVID M. GOODMAN is a licensed clinical psychologist, teaching associate at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Hospital, and assistant professor of psychology at Lesley University, where he founded and oversees the Theoretical, Historical, and Philosophical Psychology Research Lab. Additionally, he is an adjunct clinician at the Danielsen Institute at Boston University and a research fellow at Boston University's Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Dr. Goodman also has a private practice in Cambridge.

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