Robert Spitzer

Ideology is Moral Blindness

Many moons ago, even before Roe v. Wade, I taught an ethics class that consisted of 16 students. At the outset, I used an anonymous questionnaire to learn about their respective stances on abortion. The class was split in half, with eight accepting abortion and eight opposing it. By the end of the course, all [...]

Summer Books for a Billionaire

When Bill Gates announced his 2016 summer reading list, geeks rejoiced. As in previous years, it’s a stack of books full of a lot of long words and sentences. No James Patterson or Stephen King for him; certainly no Austen or Dickens. To his credit, there is a novel, a sci-fi one that does look [...]

Well-Being vs. Well-Feeling: On Defining True Happiness

In the twenty years since the publication of Deal Hudson’s marvelous book Happiness and the Limits of Satisfaction, the eclipse of Greek and Christian ideas about happiness by the pursuit of pleasure, of “well-feeling” rather than “well-being,” has only advanced. This movement has been deepened and accelerated by my colleagues in the social and behavioral [...]

The Bob Spitzer I Knew

When I opened the newspaper a couple of days after Christmas, I was surprised by a familiar face in the obituaries section: psychiatrist Robert Spitzer. The name brought back a flood of bittersweet personal memories. I had learned something about human nature from Bob Spitzer, and also about politics as they play out behind the [...]

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