Rewriting the soul : multiple personality and the sciences of memory

Book Details

Title: Rewriting the soul : multiple personality and the sciences of memory
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 1995
  • 069103642X

Reviews of this Book

I greatly enjoyed this book. I read it more because I had read other books by Hacking (_The Emergence of Probability_, _The Taming of Chance_, etc.) than because of interest in the subject itself. In spite of Hacking’s specific theses dealing with the concept of the soul, the cultural basis for mental illness, etc.,I thought that the book had more general interest in terms of philosophy of science. What counts as evidence? What is mental illness? Do natural kinds apply to psychology? Hacking’s book can be seen as a case study for these kinds of questions. It’s been too long since I read the book to have any more specific comments. I’m also not familiar with the field. But I’m glad Hacking introduced me to it!

Review by Anonymous
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This is a philosophical account of the issues around MPD and False Memory Syndryme. It looks especially at the "empirical" issues - How does science account for issues of memory. His response is very interesting: issues of memory, he writes, are like issues of the "soul" and no one should suggest they can verify or dispute issues scientifically. I think Hacking’s book is quite fair (ie. balanced, none pre-judged. For persons who "belief" in MPD it may be a hard read, but it is very worthwhile. It discusses the nature of identity, and how identity has been formulated in Western society. Hacking particularly likes the MPD writing of Margo Rivera and the reasons why he likes it, I think, are important for readers in MPD.

Review by Anonymous
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336 pgs, with excellent notes, references and index.

Hacking is a professor of philosophy at University of Toronto interested in the history of science and technology. His review of the history of MPD is careful, judicious and balanced.

A good corrective for those who believe MPD/DID is iatrogenic as well as those who maintain that MPD/DID individuals should be respected for their differences.

Well, schizophrenics are different, too, but I don’t respect them for their schizophrenia, just for the pain they suffer. Much the same with DID: no matter how interesting their "condition", they suffer enormously and don’t function very well. Hacking helps us see how much the resurgence of MPD/DID tells us about our society. Wonderfully written.

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