In this book, David M. Black asks questions such as 'why do we care?' and 'what gives our values power?' using ideas from psychoanalysis and its adjacent sciences such as neuroscience and evolutionary biology in order to do so.
Why Things Matter explores how the comparatively new scientific discipline of consciousness studies requires us to recognize that subjectivity is as irreducible a feature of the world as matter and energy. Necessarily inter-disciplinary, this book draws on science, philosophy and the history of religion to argue that there can be influential values which are not based exclusively on biological need or capricious life-style choices. It suggests that many recent scientific critics of religion, including Freud, have failed to see clearly the issues at stake.
This book will be key reading for psychoanalysts and psychotherapists as well as counsellors with an interest in the basis of religious feeling and in moral and aesthetic values. The book will also be of interest to scholars of psychoanalysis, philosophy and religion.
David M. Black is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytic Society/ Institute of Psychoanalysis and a founder member of the Foundation for Psychotherapy and Counselling (WPF). He works in London. He has written and lectured widely on science, religion and consciousness studies and is the editor of Psychoanalysis and Religion in the 21st Century: Competitors or Collaborators? (Routledge, 2006).
Introduction: Science and Values. Consciousness: 'A Fact Without Parallel'. Value-free Science: Galileo and Darwin. Sympathy is Different from Empathy. How Religions Work: A Comparison with Psychoanalysis. The Ownership of Consciousness and the Uniqueness of Subjects. Mapping a Detour: Why did Freud Speak of a Death Drive? An Outline of a 'Contemplative Position'. Selves and No-Selves. The Basis of Responsible Commitment.