Problems of Living

Problems of Living

Perspectives from Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Cognitive-Affective Science

1st Edition - May 11, 2021

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  • Author: Dan Stein
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323904391
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780323902397

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Problems of Living: Perspectives from Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Cognitive-Affective Science addresses philosophical questions related to problems of living, including questions about the nature of the brain-mind, reason and emotion, happiness and suffering, goodness and truth, and the meaning of life. It draws on critical, pragmatic, and embodied realism as well as moral naturalism, and brings arguments from metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics together with data from cognitive-affective science. This multidisciplinary integrated approach provides a novel framework for considering not only the nature of mental disorders, but also broader issues in mental health, such as finding pleasure and purpose in life.

Key Features

  • Draws on the strongest aspects of polar positions in philosophy and psychiatry to help resolve important perennial debates in these fields
  • Explores continuities between early philosophical work and current cognitive-affective sciences, including neuroscience and psychology
  • Employs findings from modern cognitive-affective science to rethink key long-standing debates in philosophy and psychiatry
  • Builds on work showing how mind is embodied in the brain, and embedded in society, to provide an integrated conceptual framework
  • Assesses both the insights and the limitations of cognitive-affective science for addressing the big questions and hard problems of living


Mental health clinicians, philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, general academic readers

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction
    1.1 Perspectives of Philosophy
    1.2 Perspectives of Psychiatry
    1.3 The Big Questions

    2. Brain-Minds:  What is the Best Metaphor?
    2.1 The Mind-Body Problem in Philosophy
    2.2 The Mind-Body Problem in Psychology
    2.3 Two Key Mind-Body Metaphors
    2.4 Brain-Mind as Wetware
    2.5 Conclusion

    3. Reason and Passion
    3.1 Philosophy of Reason and Passion
    3.2 Psychiatry of Reason and Passion
    3.3 Neurophilosophy and Neuropsychiatry
    3.4 Schemas and Cognitive-Affective Processing
    3.5 Conclusion

    4. The Pleasures of Life
    4.1 Philosophy and Happiness
    4.2 Psychiatry and Happiness
    4.3 Neurophilosophy and Neuropsychiatry
    4.4 Sharpening Ideas on Happiness
    4.5 Conclusion

    5. Pain and Suffering
    5.1 Philosophy and Pain/Suffering
    5.2 Psychiatry and Pain/Suffering
    5.3 Neurophilosophy and Neuropsychiatry
    5.4 Sharpening our Views of Suffering
    5.5 Conclusion

    6. The Good and the Bad
    6.1 Philosophy and Morality
    6.2 Psychiatry and Morality
    6.3 Neurophilosophy and Neuropsychiatry
    6.4 Sharpening our Thinking about Morality
    6.5 Conclusion

    7. How Can We Know What is True, Then?
    7.1 Philosophy and the Truth
    7.2 Psychiatry and Truth
    7.3 Neurophilosophy and Neuropsychiatry
    7.4 Sharpening our Thinking about Scientific Progress
    7.5 Conclusion

    8. The Meaning of Life
    8.1 Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
    8.2 Psychiatry and Meaning in Life
    8.3 Neurophilosophy and Neuropsychiatry
    8.4 Sharpening our View of the Meaning of Life
    8.5 Conclusion

    9. Conclusion: Metaphors of Life 

Product details

  • No. of pages: 326
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2021
  • Published: May 11, 2021
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323904391
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780323902397

About the Author

Dan Stein

Dan J. Stein is Professor and Chair of the Dept of Psychiatry at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, and Director of the South African Medical Research Council’s Unit on Risk & Resilience in Mental Disorders. Dan’s training includes doctoral degrees in clinical neuroscience and in philosophy, and a post-doctoral fellowship in psychopharmacology. He is a clinician-scientist whose work has long focused on anxiety and related disorders. He has also mentored a range of other research, with publications spanning basic neuroscience, through clinical research, and on to public mental health. His research has had considerable influence (as evidenced by his h-index, perhaps the highest of any African scholar), as has his mentorship (as evidenced by the career success of his postgraduate students and fellows). Awards for his work include the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology’s Max Hamilton Award for his contributions to psychopharmacology, and its Ethics in Psychopharmacology Award.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Ratings and Reviews

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  • Damiaan D. Mon Jun 07 2021

    Understanding psychopathology

    Dan Stein is one of the few psychiatrists who can convincingly integrate clinical psychiatry, fundamental neuroscience and philosophical reflections. In his recent book he illustrates how he developed his personal scientific thoughts, driven by inspiring teachers and fascinating patient stories. Dan Stein successfully answers a question that psychiatry has been struggling with for decades: how can we understand the meaning of syndromes and their connection between the brain and fundamental philosophical questions from an overarching human perspective. Dan Stein is a systematic thinker who offers a convincing answer to this complex question. As the author of more than 1,000 articles, he is uniquely placed to guide psychiatrists, philosophers and neuroscientists in understanding the world of mind and brain and their deviations. This book is highly recommended for all those who want to understand complex issues in a simple way.

  • Professor M. Fri May 07 2021

    A big picture of human nature and of how to live

    Well informed and thoughtful analyses of our brains and minds along with implications for the nature of happiness, our judgements of right and wrong, and the meaning of life. The range of topics addressed, as well as the psychological, cognitive scientific, and philosophical literature cited on them, are impressive, while the views on them are often compelling.

  • Bill F. Thu May 06 2021

    Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Mental Health

    Dan Stein's remarkable combination of clinical, philosophical and neuroscientific expertise combine to bring a refreshly well-informed and insightful series of insights into this important topic.

  • Andrea Thu May 06 2021

    An excellent, insightful, interdisciplinary approach to mental functioning

    I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in a deeper consideration of issues at the intersection between psychiatry and philosophy. The author delivers an original and comprehensive engagement with the subject matter and successfully synthesizes multiple disciplinary perspectives, which, despite being related, are not generally discussed together in one volume by one author. The approach entails using insights from psychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, and philosophy to investigate conceptual, metaphysical, epistemological and ethical challenges pertaining to mental disorders and mental well-being. Many of the debates in the areas that are discussed in the book have traditionally been framed in highly polarized terms; the approach taken by the author is to present a middle ground between the typical binaries that characterize our thinking about mental disorders and the relationship between the mind and the brain. This integrative approach is arguably a more accurate representation of the phenomena in question. While this book will have appeal for those working in, and interested in, the relevant areas, it will be a great resource for graduate level teaching purposes as it engages with, and offers a novel perspective on, the important themes in philosophy of psychiatry.