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Bartolomei, G. (1989). Piero Paolicchi. Homo ethicus (Introduzione alla psicologia della morale). ETS Editrice, Pisa, 1987, pages 330, lire 30.000.. Rivista Psicoanal., 35(1):218-222.

(1989). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 35(1):218-222

Piero Paolicchi. Homo ethicus (Introduzione alla psicologia della morale). ETS Editrice, Pisa, 1987, pages 330, lire 30.000. Language Translation

Review by:
Giangaetano Bartolomei

With this book Piero Paolicchi is very successful in filling s gap in Italian (and not only Italian) psychological literature. Whoever wishes to study ethics and morals must certainly read it. As in his previous works, Paolicchi's starting point is an in-depth review of the existing material on the subject (from the classics to contemporary authors), and he develops his line of investigation through a rigorous critical comparison with the fundamental trends of thought in twentieth century psychology. In particular, he examines and discusses a wide range of works, mainly in English, which appeared in the seventies and eighties and of which almost none has been published in Italy.

After an introduction entitled “Philosophy and Humanities compared with Moral Values”, Paolicchi dwells on the analysis of moral experience carried out by the great theorists and theories of modern psychology: Freud, functionalism, behaviourism and Piaget. The central part of the book is devoted to a critical appraisal of the results of the empirical research done with the help of the learning-socializing model and the genetic-cognitivist model, and also pays special attention to the more interesting proposals advanced by ‘comprehensive’ models in recent years. In the last part Paolicchi tests neurophysiology, psychology and antropology challenging them to understand and explain moral experience: the incomplete answers which each of these branches of knowledge can give, dissuades us from adopting a reductive interpretation of human behaviour.

And here is the author's line of investigation.

Psychology has adopted contradictory positions towards morals: from indifference to shyness, and finally to the elated convinction that it could resolve the problems which have been debated throughout the centuries with its scientific method.

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