Tag: Ethics

Values Are Valuable


Photo by Gamesingear. “There is nothing which requires such gentle handling as an illusion.” –Søren Kierkegaard I have been raised to believe in honesty, that we don’t cheat—ever—and that our word, when given, is binding. These values are very strong family values that I wish to instill in my own children. However, lately, I have… Read more »

Lies and Relationships


Pinocchio by Enrico Mazzanti (1883) I was talking about behavior interventions with a group of host-home providers for adults with disabilities. I was explaining how we can change behavior by ignoring the undesired behavior, and rewarding or reinforcing the desired behavior, and especially about the ethics of doing so. Even disabled people are free to… Read more »

Moving From Cultural Relativism to Cross-Cultural Values


William Ellis’ 1825 sketch of missionaries preaching. Where does identity come from? Are you a product of your culture, or are you an independent moral agent? There is a constant tension in the world between the concept of “culture” and the concept of “universal human rights.” How can both be respected when they conflict? The… Read more »

We Are a Christian Nation


Crowds cheering Osama bin Laden’s death. We are a Christian nation. We say it; we believe it; we don’t think that much more about it. And all our un-Christ-like thoughts and impulses are denied, becoming daimonic. Stephen Diamond (1996) posited that thoughts and feelings left untended can grow to dominate the personality. The angry person… Read more »

Eugenics and Psychiatry: A Brief Overview of the History


1921 map indicating states with sterilization laws. In my casual observations in conversation with colleagues, I find that very few mental health professionals are aware of the historical link between psychiatry and eugenics. I was not aware of this history until relatively recently, when I read Robert Whitaker’s groundbreaking and brilliant text, Mad in America…. Read more »

With Great Power Comes…Amorality?


Goldman Sachs Headquarters in New York Penn State, Goldman Sachs, Enron, University of Virginia, SuperPACS, the Catholic Church–we live in an era of institutional scandal. If you want to know why we are careening from one major institutional scandal to the next, there’s a simple answer: the psychology of power has changed. To be sure,… Read more »