Jump to content
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

What do you know about psychopathy?



[Edit: this topic was "blocked" -- which I usually do when I haven't finished a topic opener, to prevent a response to a last-draft-but one. I just unblocked it, after adding my own comment below]

I was thinking today about Objectivist/ish conceptions of mind, volition and 'determinism.' The context is a 2014 book called "The Psychopath Whisperer." I am about half-way through giving it a thorough read, and want to recommend it to OLers interested in the intersection of law, punishment, philosophy and neuroscience. 

Of interest to those who consider psychology a fatally-soft science or a fledgling, the book's central question is "Are there structural/developmental 'indicators' in brains of psychopaths?" or "Are brains of a psychopath different from non-psychopaths?"  

The premise is that psychopaths are indeed 'different from you and me,' and that the brain is the seat of behaviour. 

The author, Kent Kiehl, is a bit of an obsessive on the subject of psychopathy. This drive to understand the brain/mind of a psychopath led him to pioneer brain-imaging (fMRI) in prisoners with psychopathy, the worst of the worst offenders -- and to synthesize what he has learned at this point in his research career. 

For those of you who would like a link or two, here is the book's page at Amazon (with reviews), and here are some links to explore ... (snatched from the jaws of Google)




Recommended Comments

One of the Youtube features is a 'suggested' bloc of videos. I have subscribed to Jordan Peterson's channel, but this excerpt is from a different channel, which show notes do not as yet contain details of which recorded lecture it is taken from. Still, an interesting clip and perhaps a goad to discussion. "What We Still Don't Know About Psychopaths"


See also:





Edited by william.scherk

Share this comment

Link to comment

WSS, I've added this book to my reading list.  When on the Amazon  page for this book, a related book "The Sociopath Nextdoor"  appeared, which I have already read.  I am currently reading "In Sheep's Clothing", and also with my first hand experiences I can comment.  I think people can be born with aggression, the aggression being on a spectrum.  Other animals exhibit this, an aggressive dog, cat, monkey, bird, etc., and I don't think we're any different in this area.  We are different in that we can have morality, but I do not feel that morality is available to everyone.  And I don't think that that can be predicted, due to the factors of experience and culture.  These people born with aggression (again a spectrum) will always have an inner aggression throughout their life, which is more biological and affects their thoughts and actions throughout their entire life.  In the video, Peterson said around 1:25 that we would have to explain the entertainment motivation, and I would say that it's because it is who they are, they enjoy doing it, they are different than us, and are born different than us.


Share this comment

Link to comment

It is a good and important book, to my eyes. I am not sure Peterson has read it, as he thinks the Big Five personality metric is a poor ''catcher"  of psychopathy. He is right about that, but he did not mention Hare or Kiehl or the development of the Hare psychopathy scale. The Big Five is of limited use in Kiehl's work ... 

I have a hard time getting my head around some of Peterson's videos ... as they are buoyed by his Christianity. A bible-based, god-centred take on psychopathy just doesn't capture my imagination.  

The best part of the Kiehl book comes near the end. This is where he works with a juvenile population at risk of becoming full-fledged psychopaths and permanent guests of the state.  The outcome of the treatment is a remarkable reduction in psychopathic behaviour. So, Peterson is somewhat right about the Big Five, but is somewhat wrong that "current thinking" suggests a Born This Way write-off of juveniles and children ...

Share this comment

Link to comment
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...