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

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In Why It Is Good to be Good, John H. Riker shows how modernity's reigning concept of the self undermines moral life and lays the basis for the epidemic of cheating that is devastating social and economic institutions. He argues that by accepting Kohut's brilliant and original psychoanalytic concept of the self, modernity can have a naturalist account for showing why it is personally good to be a morally good person.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 194 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 725.74g
  • Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers
  • Northvale NJ, United States
  • English
  • 076570790X
  • 9780765707901

About John Hanwell Riker

John H. Riker, PhD, is professor of philosophy at Colorado College. His publications include Ethics and the Discovery of the Unconscious, Human Excellence and an Ecological Conception of the Psyche, and The Art of Ethical Thinking.show more

Review quote

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 Reviewshow more

Table of contents

Chapter 1-The Moral Problem of Modernity Chapter 2-Kohut's Theory of the Self Chapter 3-Kohut and the Philosophic Tradition Chapter 4-A New Metapsychology: Freud, Aristotle, Heidegger, and Kohut Chapter 5-Why It Is Good to Be Good Chapter 6-A Self Psychological Vision of Ethical Life Chapter 7-Self Psychology and Modernity: Actualizing Self in the Age of Desire Chapter 8-Social Transformations Chapter 9 Bibliographyshow more

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