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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

    Compassion, Empathy, Flapdoodle

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Compassion, Empathy, Flapdoodle
    Neuroscientific speculation has escaped from the laboratory and is now the rickety foundation for scores of bestselling, populist books. The sceptical writer and journalist Steven Poole has described the phenomenon as ‘an intellectual pestilence’ and ‘neurotrash’.
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    A Postmodern Disease

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Up to 1 per cent of the population may have coeliac disease but many more have self-diagnosed themselves as gluten-sensitive. Is gluten sensitivity based on any scientific evidence or is it the product of a misalliance between academic medicine and commerce?
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    Dum Spiro Spero

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Dum Spiro Spero
    Many patients with a debilitating terminal disease might, one would think, be glad to hear their time is short. Still, ignoring the statistics, oncologists will offer ‘hope’ and more treatment. Why, asks the old doctors’ joke, do coffins have nails? To keep the oncologists out.
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    Lord of the Flies

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Jerry Coyne’s shouty polemic against religion, and against the possibility of any accommodation between science and religious belief, is largely an attack on creationism and ‘ìntelligent design’. It is hard to see it being taken seriously anywhere but in the US.
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    Truculent Priest

    Seamus O’Mahony
    In a series of radical critiques published in the 1970s Ivan Illich questioned educational practice, managerialism and the medical profession. Though he could be arrogant, inconsistent and even plain silly, Illich had important things to say about modernity.
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    Working Class Heroes

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Working Class Heroes
    The ghosted autobiography of Roy Keane and a biography of England’s 1966 World Cup golden boy Bobby Moore illustrate hugely contrasting personalities, but also the enormous changes that have come over the culture of the beautiful game during the last fifty years.
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    Below Extinction’s Alp

    Seamus O’Mahony
    ‘The Hard Conversation’ is what happens when a doctor reveals to a patient the no longer avoidable truth. But perhaps society should also have a hard conversation about the limits of medical science and the desirability of providing not infinite life but a decent end of life.
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    The Talking Cure

    Seamus O’Mahony
    The Talking Cure
    Sigmund Freud did not care greatly for his patients, and learning and teaching were more to his taste than helping and healing. Nevertheless, psychoanalysis has become in our age the pervasive orthodoxy of self-knowledge, even if its scientific claims are on a par with those of, say, aromatherapy.
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    Complications

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Surgery, and perhaps particularly neurosurgery, can be profoundly rewarding. But there is always the possibility of mistakes, those little slips that can lead to disaster and another headstone in the cemetery that all surgeons carry around with them.
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    How Scientific Inquiry Works

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Postmodern critics of science have sometimes argued that it is a ‘narrative’ like any other and cannot be privileged over other narratives, for example alternative medicine. A new book, written with careful, nuanced scholarship, reasserts the value of the scientist’s calling, of rigour in research and of the importance of evidence.
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    Words At Will

    Seamus O’Mahony
    To get into the best English society, Oscar Wilde thought, one must either feed people or shock people. And so, while they fed him, he shocked them with his wit and insolence. And yet he managed for the most part to insult the English without offending them.
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    Licking Death

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Licking Death
    Cancer is a serious business, and also big business, particularly in the US. But ‘declaring war’ on it is like declaring war on death. Our own Irish Cancer Society has launched a ‘strategy statement’ that envisages a ‘future without cancer’, but it modestly concedes that ‘this may not be achieved in the lifetime of this strategy statement’.
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    The Big D

    Seamus O’Mahony
    Christopher Hitchens was famously sceptical of the claims of religious thinkers, yet faced with dying he exhibited a defiant faith in the capacities of medical science to block the course of nature, a faith not sustained by much evidence.
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    Guilty Truant

    Seamus O’Mahony
    A biography of the celebrated writer and director Jonathan Miller finds a man who has never forgiven himself for abandoning his first career in medicine.
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